July 29, 2013

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: May 21, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Pages: 352
Rating: 5/5 Stars

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 don't think the synopsis of this book does it much justice. We get the impression that this book is all about Jude and Emilio and overcoming their pasts. And it is. But that's not all.

The first thing we learn about Jude and her life is that her father has early onset Alzheimer's. This is a large element of the book, though we don't really get that from the synopsis. The Book of Broken Hearts is a shockingly real depiction of what it's like to live with someone who has Alzheimer's. I'm not sure if Sarah Ockler herself lives or has lived with someone who has Alzheimer's--or knows someone who has it--but if she doesn't, she sure did do her research. We feel Jude's shift in emotions towards her father and the disease throughout the entire book, and just as it's overwhelming for her, it was overwhelming for me. Sarah Ockler has created a character with an exceptionally strong voice, and the writing is natural and clear.

The characters in this book were astounding. The Hernandez family felt real, and Jude's sisters were each their own person but also bonded in a way that isn't explainable--it's only a feeling.

Emilio and Jude's relationship was not rushed. Often in YA, we find that a boy and a girl meet and are immediately head over heels in love. But because of the oath and what happened with Celi, Jude is extremely hesitant resistant to even let Emilio work on her father's motorcycle, much less become friends with him. This causes the relationship to develop gradually, and I found that instead of being impatient, I thought it was better that way. Their relationship is real and it is easy to imagine a situation like this happening outside of a book.

Everything felt real and alive. There are books I read where I'm aware that it's all just fake, even with contemporary fiction, but I felt like I was reading about someone's life--in the best way possible.

This book blew me away. Having read all of Sarah Ockler's books, I can say with confidence that this one is my favorite.


  1. Hey! You're blogging again!!! That's awesome! I use this font on my blog too! We should do some colab posts!!! :D


    1. Hey! Yeah, I am! :) I was having all of these thoughts about the characters and plot while I read and I wanted to share them so...hence the blog! We totally should. :)

    2. Can I email you some ideas? I think it might be fun!

  2. Should I use your blog email or your regular email?

    1. Either one is fine! If you want, you can text me too! :)