The Book of Broken Hearts
By Sarah Ockler
Publication date: May 21, 2013
Simon Pulse, 352 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
Hello, The Book of Broken Hearts. Welcome to your new home on my favorites shelf. I think you will be very happy there…
One word: LOVED!
Okay, so, to start: Sarah Ockler should be on your auto-read list. Twenty Boy Summer was “gut-wrenching to read, but beautifully done.”. Bittersweet was “delightful.” So clearly I was already a fan going into this one. But, guys, I have to say: The Book of Broken Hearts is Sarah Ockler’s best book yet.
Jude, an extremely likable and lovely main character, is struggling with her role as her father’s caretaker over the summer. Her mom is busy working and her three older sisters are off living their own lives. Jude is tasked with the very demanding and heart-wrenching job of caring for her dad as he begins to fall deeper into the grasp of early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Stumped as to how to help him, she turns to Emilio to help her restore her father’s beloved motorcycle and give him some focus and hope. Only, Emilio is part of the forbidden Vargas family, filled with boys who have broken her sisters’ hearts.
The family dynamics are beautiful, Jude’s strength and growth is powerful and her relationship with Emilio — gah! If you like “bad boys” with softer sides, you are going to fall straight in love.
Also worth noting about them: Slightly older than your typical YA main characters and struggling with issues well beyond their years, Jude and Emilio made me think of all the new adult novels I’ve been reading lately. Only, where those novels failed for me by overly dramatizing their characters, Sarah Ockler has succeeded in telling this story softly yet strongly. Reading it, I kept feeling like Goldilocks: “Ahhh, now this is JUST RIGHT.”