The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler Review: This will indeed break your heart

April 8, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler Review: This will indeed break your heartThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon Pulse on May 21st 2013
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher
Add to Goodreads

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!


The following two tabs change content below.
Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

Tags: , , , ,

34 responses to “The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler Review: This will indeed break your heart

  1. Awesome review Jenna! I didn't even know that Sarah Ockler had more books other than The Summer of Chasing Mermaids! Which is great because I loved that book, and this book sounds just as heartbreaking (haha). It also almost seems like a Romeo and Juliet type of story, but since you mentioned there wasn't a huge focus on romance, then maybe that's not the case? Still sounds like a forbidden love though 😉

    Anyways, I'm really glad you loved this! I hope to get to this someday!
    My recent post Review: Girl In The Blue Coat

    • There is a little bit of a forbidden love aspect but it's not really forbidden since it's the 21st century and all that :D. Jude's sisters have had some bad experiences with Emilio's brothers, so her whole family just avoids his family. I guess it had the perfect amount of Romeo and Juliet vibes haha. The romance is definitely there but it's not the main aspect of the story. The book is much more about family, which I really loved.

  2. I also really enjoyed The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. It was so adorable and summery! The Book of Broken Hearts brings a different kind of tone and message but it was just as enjoyable. I love summery contemporary romances that also pack a punch, and this one gave me a good punch in the feels.

  3. I've read the Summer of Chasing Mermaids which was pretty good, but I REALLY want to read this one now! I am a sucker for cutesy contemporaries. I love when books are hard-hitting too, it just shows that ANY book has the power to instill some change or effect in us. I love that you can connect with each character in the book, and I love that the characters seem to portray some diversity! 🙂 Great review <3
    My recent post

  4. I've only read Fixing Delilah but I've been keeping my eye on The Book of Broken Hearts. I say this all the time but I do love it when a contemporary book focuses on more than just the romance and I love the fact that this book has a strong father/daughter relationship. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for Jude to see her father change before her eyes. This book has definitely been bumped up the list of my must read contemporary books so thank you for renewing my interest in it. 😀
    My recent post Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

    • I haven't read Fixing Delilah yet. It's one of the ones that's actually been out in Australia for a while but it just hasn't been high priority enough for me to pick up. I also really loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. It's probably my favourite one of hers so far and I really recommend it if you're looking for something that isn't sad but also has really important messages.

    • I'm glad you enjoyed this one too! My favourite of her books that I've read so far is The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. It was such a great story and I loved all The Little Mermaid aspects of it!

  5. The main character here sounds so mature and fantastic! I love how she doesn't complain about taking care of her father and that you were able to connect to each of the characters. Fantastic review Jenna, I can't wait to check out Sarah's books!

    • I really loved all the family elements in this one and the crazy big Hispanic family. It was so good! I definitely recommend Sarah's books and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is still my favourite!

    • This one is definitely a great contemporary and it's full of diversity! I really liked that the characters were Hispanic, which is not something that I've experienced a lot of in Aus, even though we're so multicultural. It was just a really nice reading experience!

  6. I've been dying to read this! I love Bitttersweet & I read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, which was okay-ish. I love hearing about the diversity aspect as well as the realistic portrayal of Alzheimer's. Terrific review!
    My recent post Review: Boys of Summer

    • Bittersweet will be the next one I read! I actually really loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids (it's my favourite of the 3 I've read so far) and I can't wait to check out some more of Sarah's books. The Book of Broken Hearts has everything you could possibly want in it, so I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it!

    • I absolutely loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids! Not only was it an amazing retelling of A Little Mermaid, but it also had such wonderful characters and such an empowering story! I hope you get to check it out soon!

  7. Samantha Reed

    I'm all sad now. I just gave this away without reading it DX It'd had been sitting on my shelf for months, I won it from the local library and I never got around to reading it. I just donated it a couple weeks ago to the used bookstore in town.

    I'm glad you liked it, though <3 I can't wait to see what you read next

    • I love reading about Hispanic families and I thought this one was done so well! I can't wait to read more of Sarah's books because the ones I've read so far are fantastic!

  8. Admittedly, I've avoided this book for its title. Just seemed so ominous. I don't know if I can read something like this right now, but I'm putting it in my back pocket. 🙂

    • Haha it does sound ominous, doesn't it? The book is a lot less dark and gloomy though. The title is reference to a scrapbook that the four sisters have used to document their heartbreaking moments… so the story isn't actually that sad 😀 I hope you pick it up someday, Joy!

    • From my experience with her other books, it seems like they all have a great balance of romance with other themes. It's great to read a book that has romance but isn't romance-heavy!

  9. dvasso

    I'm a huge fan of Sarah Ockler but I just haven't gotten to this one yet. Glad you enjoyed it, I need to pull it to the top of my Tbr.

    • I've only read half of Sarah Ockler's published books but they've all been really good. I'm confident that you'll enjoy this one if you're a fan of her other books!

  10. I LOOOOOVED this book, Jenna, LOOVED! I've read most of her books and with the exception of one, they've all been phenomenal.
    I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this one and that Australian and UK readers are going to get the chance to experience her books too! Jude really was an amazing character and her growth was nothing short of spectacular. And yes to everything you had to say about the romance. I agree with all of it!
    Wonderful review, Jenna and I can't wait for you to read more of her books. 🙂
    My recent post Quickie Reviews (3)

    • I've read three of her books now and they've all been really great! I loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids so much! I can't wait to read Bittersweet, which Sarah also sent to me, and her two other books because I'm pretty sure she's going to become one of my favourite authors very soon!

  11. Ohhh mann, THIS SEEMS SOOO GOOD. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that there's a great balance between all the elements in the book (because the blurb does seem like more romance than anything). And the diversity! It's fun reading about Latino characters for me because when I get glimpses of Spanish I can test myself hehe. This seems like an amazing contemporary, which I must pick up when I can!

    • I thought it was going to be soooo romance-heavy going into this one but it totally wasn't. My reaction was like WUT?! after the first chapter. Like this was not what I was expecting at all. But I'm glad it had so many great family elements too. And yes! There's heaps of Spanish in this one for you to brush up on your Spanish skills HAHA.

  12. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Yes… this would completely break my heart as I've seen Alzheimers up close. However this book seems so amazing. I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR! Amazing review!

    • This one broke my heart even though I don't have any personal experiences with Alzheimer's, so I can't imagine how deeply this book would impact those who have. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up!

  13. What a beautiful review, Jenna! The Book of Broken Hearts has been on my tbr-list for a long time, but I haven’t actually picked it up. Thanks for remaining me about this story (and doing it so beautifully and emotionally). This is my favorite type on YA contemporaries: “coming-of-age story with a fantastic balance of self-development, romance and family”
    My recent post Cover Talk #2. I love the book, but I hate the cover.

    • Yes! Don't you just love those contemporary books that have everything but balances it all out so well? I really enjoyed this one a lot more than I expected to and I'm glad it wasn't romance-heavy, which is what the blurb made it sound like it was going to be! Highly recommend!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge