Author: Sarah Ockler (Twitter)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: May 21, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Personal Copy
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.
It's Jude's final summer at home before college begins in the fall, and she's planning a summer of all the traditional fixings...but with a twist. Jude's the final of four daughters to leave the nest, which means that her summer will also be spent caring for and watching over her ailing father. As she watches her father slowly but surely begin to succumb to early-onset Alzheimer's, she finds just the ticket to bring a little spark back into their final summer together at home. Together, they'll repair her father's old motorcycle...but that means she must also interact with a Vargas boy, which means trouble. And, perhaps, just a little bit of love.
I've been on a bit of a contemporary bender as of late, but I tend to struggle with my selections, simply because I am extremely picky when it comes to the type and quality of the genre that I read. The Book of Broken Hearts was highly recommended to me by Ginger from GReads and, trusting her expertise on the genre, I decided to give it a whirl. It's not my first novel by author, Sarah Ockler, and I can wholeheartedly say it won't be my last. Where the cover might imply a sweet, simple story, we're presented with enormous challenges, pain and the desire to change. Evocative and emotional, The Book of Broken Hearts will shatter yours into a million pieces, all the while slowly but surely piecing it back together.
Before I can even start my review, I must simply state that this book is precariously close to the line of perfection, perhaps even toeing it. It embraces and embodies all the pain and challenges that come with a disease that is all-too familiar to many of us, and while we feel the deep and profound sense of loss that both Jude and her father feel, we also sense the connection that this debilitating disease is awakening. There is a delicate darkness to the subject matter of The Book of Broken Hearts because Jude's father's illness is always lurking stealthily in the background, waiting to strip away his last bit of dignity. However, through it, watching Jude build a beautiful and powerful relationship with her father was incredible. I worried a bit about the relationship aspect of the story, simply because I thought it would overpower the connection that Jude had with her father. Rather though, we see Jude's initial prejudices from years of scheming with her sisters against the Vargas brothers, and we see Emilio for far more than the girls thought he was. While her home life fought an uphill battle, Emilio was that proverbial lighthouse in the storm. He was sweet, kind, caring and patient, and we watch as his strength serves to bolster Jude's, giving her the strength she needs to survive her struggles. Emilio originally came off as cocky and, perhaps, a bit arrogant, but we see that beneath this teasing, he is a genuine, gentle guy who could melt your heart with his character, as well as his dimples. I felt as though I was utterly absorbed in the story, feeling every heartbreak, every laugh, every single bump in the road, and that, my friends, is what makes The Book of Broken Hearts work so very well.
I've always said that the books we love the most are the hardest ones to review, and I can guarantee I did not do this book justice. I do, however, hope lots of other readers will see my ramblings and give The Book of Broken Hearts a go. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy strong contemporary fiction.