Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Published: May 21st 2013 by Simon Pulse
Source: Copy sent by the publisher for an honest review
"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."
First line: "The law of probability dictates that with three older sisters, a girl shall inherit at least one pair of cute shorts that actually fit."
Thoughts: Every year I look forward to Sarah Ockler's latest book. TWENTY BOY SUMMER use to be my favorite, but then it was replaced by BITTERSWEET. Will THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS surpass the rest? The answer is yes. With the same beautiful writing, complex family relationships, and a romance to die for, THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS is easily the perfect summer/winter/every day read.
The Hernandez sisters may live all across the states, range in age, and be free spirits, but there's one thing other than family that binds them together. The book of broken hearts. Signed in blood, the girls promised many years ago not to ever get involved with the Vargas boys ever again. After years of heartache, it's meant to protect them from getting hurt. I think you know the direction this is headed.
Jude knows this. As the youngest of the Hernandez crew, she has witnessed secondhand what those evil Vargas boys are capable. So why is it she can't get Emilio out of her head? The spark was instantaneous. The minute she stepped into the auto shop and looked into his eyes, saw that cursed dimple, she was hooked. But she must resist. Even though she's spending practically every day with him fixing up her dad's old bike, she must resist. After all, he's only there to help with her dad's bike. He's not there for her...right?
What I love about all of Sarah Ockler's books is the complexity between not only the two love interests but also the protagonist and her family members. Ockler weaves this tale of first love mixed in with unforgettable family dynamics. Clearly a recipe for greatness. At any rate, since it's said within the first chapter, I do not believe it's a spoiler to mention how Jude's father is suffering from advancing Alzheimer's or as he likes to put it "El diablo.". It's Jude's last summer before college, and she chooses to stay home and take care of her ailing father. How many teenagers would do this for their father? Instead of partying, she's staying home and helping him (along with Emilio) fix her father's beloved motorcycle. I truly respected her for this. My heart constantly went out to not only her but her entire family. Of all the superheroes out there, I honestly think characters like Jude are the best kind of heroes.
Throughout the novel, I couldn't help but fall in love with the Herenadez crew and their Bear. There were so many moments where I found my eyes tearing up either from a touching moment or from the sheer pain of how this disease can affect not only the person with it but those who love them most. Though the cover may seem like a lighthearted novel, it is the furthest thing from that. Is it often challenging to read? Yes, but the shared moments, inside jokes, and just memories that fill each page with an abundance love. One could say I suffocated from all the love (in a good way).
Now, onto the romance! It's definitely there. I believe Ockler captured first love precisely like it is- awkward, sweet, and confusing. Sometimes when I was reading this novel, my fiance would constantly ask me why I was smiling so much. I'd simply reply "This book." and go back to reading. I adored Emilio and Jude together. Originally, I pegged Emilio as a stereotypical heart-breaker, but he definitely proved me wrong. Thank you, Emilio, for proving that a guy's guy can also be a gentleman and sweetheart.
Overall, I highly recommend THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS for all fans of YA contemporary literature. It's a must read novel, and I'd hate for you to miss out on it. I know for a fact that I'll keep this book on my shelf for years to come and share it with those whom I know will appreciate it.
“Don't settle, okay? Not for anything. I mean it. You only get this one chance at life, far as I know. Take it. Even if its not with me.”
“There was no going back to the way things were, because all you ever got was the way things are.”
“I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, watched it settle against Emilio's lips. He shivered and whispered my name, and in that moment I knew the whole truth. I was falling in love.”