Published by Simon Pulse on May 21st 2013
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.
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.
I absolutely love Sarah Ockler’s books but, not too long ago, only two of them were available digitally in Australia and the UK. However, the remaining 4 books are now launching digitally in all English-speaking countries outside of North America and I’m so happy to be reviewing one of them today. Sarah will also be doing a bit of a guest post on Happy Indulgence in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that!
The Book of Broken Hearts was not what I expected at all. It was honest, heart-breaking and hard-hitting and I absolutely fell in love with the main character and her story. I was expecting the book to be a little bit more fluffy but I should’ve known from my previous two experiences with Sarah’s books that that wasn’t going to be the case.
This novel follows Jude, who is the youngest of four sisters from an Argentinian-American family. Her father has early onset Alzheimer’s and the family is slowly falling apart as his condition gets worse. When Jude finds her father’s broken motorcycle, she decides that fixing up the bike will cure her father and make everything right again. However, the only mechanic available and affordable enough to fix the bike is Emilio Vargas, and Jude is forbidden by oath to be involved with any of the Vargas boys…
What I really enjoyed about this book was that it wasn’t focused on the romance, which was the impression that I had after briefly skimming the blurb before I started reading. Instead, it was a beautiful coming-of-age story about resilience and speaking up for the things you believe in. I thought the plot had a fantastic balance of self-development, romance and family, and that nothing overshadowed anything else. I really connected with the story and everything that was happening, and it felt realistic and truthful. I really enjoyed the development we saw in Jude throughout the novel and how she grew stronger despite her father’s condition slowly breaking her routine apart.
“Look in your heart, querida. Give it a chance.”
I felt a deep connection with each of the characters in the book. I instantly connected with Jude and her pain at seeing her father become a different person. She cared so deeply for her father and spent so much time with him, and I really enjoyed seeing that. I loved that even though her own summer plans were ruined because she had to take care of her father, she never acted like it was a burden. And on the few occasions that she did, it felt like it was truly justified, rather than her just whinging. I loved her strength and her resilience and, despite everything going downhill really quickly, she still managed to be positive and brave in front of her Papi and her family. I absolutely loved that Jude and her family were Hispanic and the descriptions in the book were so vivid that I could easily imagine the family dynamics. I also really loved Emilio’s character, which I honestly wasn’t expecting to at the beginning. He was trustworthy and sensitive and I loved that he was there for Jude all the time, even when her own best friends had deserted her. I also liked the romance between Jude and Emilio and thought that it was incredibly mature and realistic. It developed at the perfect pace and never seemed forced or insta-lovey.
I absolutely loved The Book of Broken Hearts and would highly recommend it. It’s definitely now one of my favourite coming-of-age contemporary stories, and it also had an amazing cast of characters that you feel connected to from the very beginning.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you to Sarah Ockler for providing a copy of the book!
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