Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 1, 2013
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
You know when you read a book and it is just so wonderful you struggle finding the right words to convey those feelings? That’s the boat I’m in right now with The Book of Broken Hearts.
Sarah Ockler has created characters that are going to stick with me for a very long time. Jude Hernandez, the youngest of four sisters, just graduated high school and is caring for her dad who has recently been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Her friends have pretty much ditched her after an embarrassing episode with her dad at a picnic and her sisters are scattered across the world. Since they have so much free time, Jude decides to help restore her dad’s old motorcycle from his glory days. She thinks that maybe, just maybe spending time on something from his past will keep his memories fresh and he’ll forget less. And who do they hire to help restore the bike? None other than Emilio Vargas, a boy who is off-limits to Jude because his family has broken the hearts of two of the Hernandez sisters. And there’s a blood oath in place between the four sisters and everything. Dun, dun, dunnnnn.
One of the major things I loved about this book so much is the fact that while there is a fantastic romance brewing between Jude and Emilio, the real focus is on Jude and her father. Not many YA books include parents at all, so I commend Sarah Ockler for not only including great parents, but making the relationship between the parents and the child such a focal point. The relationship isn’t perfect, and you can definitely get a sense of Jude’s frustration with the disease, but it’s just so real and believable. I also love the fact that the characters are either Argentinian or Puerto Rican. Such a fresh spin!
And while the relationship between Jude and her parents is great, we can’t forget about the romance between Emilio and Jude. Emilio is such a charmer and you can’t help but get sucked into his easy-going and flirty personality. It was so fun to watch Jude resist his charms and then finally give up and fall head-over-heels in love. Even though Emilio is flirty and seems over-confident, he’s also dealing with a rough past and has a deeper, softer side that comes out when he’s helping Jude deal with her father.
If you decide to read this book (and I highly suggest that you do), you’re going to feel the gamut of emotions. Sadness, bitterness, helplessness — and then happiness, excitement, and pure joy. Jude’s journey is one that will stay with you and I guarantee you’ll want to read her story again and again.