by Sarah Ockler
Published: May 21, 2013 by Simon Pulse **UPCOMING**
Source: Edelweiss for an honest review
Category: Contemporary YA (after high school)
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. (From Goodreads)
It is the summer after high school has ended for Jude Hernandez (yes, that's a girl's name), and she is spending it hanging out with her father who has just been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Often her father seems perfectly normal, but his bad moments are ever increasing and Jude is struggling to understand how this powerful man that she has looked up to and loved her entire life, is falling apart.
In an effort to keep her father's mind active and present, Jude decides they are going to restore his old motorcycle. Because while her dad may not remember what is going on at any given moment, he can recall every detail of his past, especially his youth spent on that bike. Since Jude has no understanding whatsoever about motorcycles or how to fix them, she hires a local mechanic to do the work. OF COURSE he ends up being none other than Emilio Vargas, whose older brothers emotionally destroyed two of her three older sisters. And whom Jude has been conditioned to stay away from her entire life. But should her sisters' past experiences with the Vargas family dictate her own? Can Emilio be trusted? After all, his brothers were charming at first too. And is there anything she can do to help her father?
The Book of Broken Hearts is about the realities of growing up and the inevitability of aging. About what it's like to be a part of a big, messy, opinionated family. About making your own decisions and not being afraid to live your own life, despite what that life throws at you. About realizing that you've moved on from old friends (or that they've moved on from you). About the fact that actions speak louder than words. And about not being afraid to open yourself up to love, even when it's scary.
1) I loved Jude's relationship with her father. Her care and fear for him, as she watched him lose his mind was incredibly heartbreaking and moving. Jude does not see taking care of him as a burden but as an opportunity. She does not spend any time moping, but feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to her dad. I could feel Jude's anguish during many scenes in this book. Also, in one of the great ironies of life, this diagnosis brings Jude closer to her father, and she learns so much about him and his past, that helps shape her own future.
2) I love the Colorado setting. Sarah Ockler writes some great lyrical scenes that occur out in nature. One that I especially loved took place high on a mountain and involved both Jude and Emilio. I have never been to that state, but I could picture the vast sky and the big mountains and the way that being on a motorcycle brings you closer to it all.
3) I love that Jude is part of a close Latino family with a rich heritage. I enjoyed hearing about Jude's father's travels in Argentina and the fact that her mother cooks delicious food to unwind, and about how much Jude looks up to her three older sisters. Jude trusts her sisters, and looks up to them, but she also learns to be her own person in this story. In many ways Jude stops living in their shadows and being the baby in their, and her own, eyes. The thing about family is that no matter how you feel about them, they aren't going away. I love the way that Jude's family clung together over her father's illness, even when they all disagreed. They constantly loved and supported each other.
1) I wish that we'd gotten more of Emilio. He was swoony and surprising, and the way that he accepted and cared about Jude's father spoke louder to me than anything else he said or did. I wanted more of his history and what made him tick. We do get a piece of it, but I wanted to know him even better.
2) I wish I'd realized that I'd read another Sarah Ockler book before I started The Book of Broken Hearts. This is going to sound silly, but because of the Latin culture in the book, and Emilio's supposed bad boy edge, I kept thinking that this would be more of a romance like Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry. However, once I realized that I had read Fixing Delilah, which is by the same author, I felt like the clouds went away and I understood the type of contemporary this was going to be. Closer to a Sarah Dessen story than a Elkeles (that comparison isn't perfect, but more to lean you in the right direction).
3) I wish The Book of Broken Hearts had a different cover. The pretty purple one above makes the book appear like an up-beat, fun chick-lit. To me it doesn't really fit the characters or the emotional impact of this story, and I overlooked reading it at first because of that. Thankfully, my friend Heather @ The Flyleaf Review (check her review tomorrow) read this one first and encouraged me to pick up a copy, and I'm glad I did.
"He smiled, shy this time, and I smiled back, and then we were kissing again, pressing our mouths and bellies together while the rest of the world eroded around us, one pointless breath of wind, one insignificant grain of dust at a time."*
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone