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In “THE BROKE HEARTS” by Matt Mendez, you will be taken on a heartfelt journey of two friends, Danny and JD. The novel revolves around their struggle to move forward after the tragic loss of a close friend. Join Danny, who battles with college life, and JD, a fresh recruit in the Air Force, as they navigate through their complex emotions of anger and grief. As they prepare for JD’s deployment, these two friends embark on an art project that serves as a tribute to their fallen comrade, leading them to discover their own true paths. Within the pages of this book, you will find a exploration of grief, the enduring power of friendship, and the quest to find oneself. “The Broke Hearts” has garnered acclaim for its beautiful symbolism and nuanced characters, although some readers may find the narrative structure a touch perplexing. Aimed at readers aged 14-18, this novel promises to captivate young hearts and stir their emotions.


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Plot Summary

“The Broke Hearts” by Matt Mendez is a heartfelt novel that revolves around the lives of two friends, Danny and JD. Both Danny and JD are deeply affected by the tragic death of their close friend, and they embark on their individual journeys of healing and self-discovery.

The story primarily focuses on Danny, who finds himself struggling academically and emotionally in college. Overwhelmed by his grief, he is unable to fully engage with his studies and feels lost in a world without his friend. Meanwhile, JD decides to enlist in the Air Force, seeking a change in his life and looking for a sense of purpose.

As JD’s departure for deployment nears, Danny and JD come up with a unique idea to honor their deceased friend. They decide to collaborate on an art project that serves as both a memorial and a cathartic outlet for their emotions. Through their joint creativity and shared memories, they aim to find closure and uncover their true paths in life.

Throughout their artistic endeavor, Danny and JD navigate their respective grief and come to terms with their overwhelming feelings of anger and loss. Their friendship and the bond they shared with their departed friend provide solace and support during these challenging times.

Main Characters

  • Danny: One of the novel’s protagonists, Danny struggles to cope with the death of his friend while trying to find his place in college. He grapples with grief and academic pressure, searching for meaning in his life.
  • JD: The other central character, JD joins the Air Force as a means to start fresh. He embarks on a quest for purpose and personal growth, channeling his emotions into creative outlets.
  • Deceased Friend: The memory of their mutual friend serves as a guiding force for Danny and JD. They honor their friend’s legacy and cope with their grief by undertaking an art project together.


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Themes Explored

“The Broke Hearts” delves into profound themes that resonate with readers of all ages. One of the most prominent themes is grief, as Danny and JD grapple with the loss of their friend. The novel explores the complex emotions associated with grief and the different ways in which individuals cope with their sorrow.

Friendship is another central theme, highlighting the profound impact of supportive relationships during difficult times. Danny and JD lean on each other for emotional support, reminding readers of the power of genuine connections.

Finding oneself is also a prevalent theme. Both Danny and JD are navigating the challenging period of young adulthood, searching for their identity and purpose. Through their art project and introspection, they eventually find the strength to define their true paths and rekindle their sense of self.

Symbolism and Nuanced Characterization

“The Broke Hearts” is lauded for its rich symbolism and nuanced characterization, elevating the story to a deeper level. The art project that Danny and JD undertake serves as a metaphor for the healing process and their emotional transformation. The materials they choose, the colors they use, and the symbolism within their collaborative art reflect their personal growth and evolving feelings.

Mendez’s characterization is also exceptional, allowing readers to connect deeply with the characters’ struggles and triumphs. Both Danny and JD are portrayed as complex individuals with flaws and vulnerabilities, making them relatable and authentic. The author successfully portrays their inner battles, giving readers insight into their minds and hearts.


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Confusing Structure

While “The Broke Hearts” is widely praised for its compelling story and well-developed characters, some readers may find the structure of the novel confusing. Mendez utilizes non-linear storytelling, incorporating flashbacks and alternating perspectives, which may require some readers to pay closer attention to the narrative flow. However, the structure ultimately adds depth to the story, giving readers a more profound understanding of the characters’ emotional journeys.

Recommended Age Group

“The Broke Hearts” is a thought-provoking novel that is best suited for readers aged 14 to 18. The themes explored in the book, such as grief, friendship, and self-discovery, resonate strongly with young adults who are navigating their own challenges and searching for their place in the world. By delving into these universal experiences, the novel offers both solace and inspiration to its intended audience.


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