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The Book of Broken Hearts

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  • Posted May 30, 2013

    An Engaging Story about Love, Loyalty, and Family! Ockler¿s c


    An Engaging Story about Love, Loyalty, and Family!


    Ockler’s characters strike me as memorable because like Anna or Frankie in Twenty Boy Summer, and Jude or Emilio in The Book of Broken Hearts, they’re REAL. They’re absolutely people you worked with, or went to school with. They have their issues, which I’ll get to in a minute, but they’re totally relatable and understandable. They’re characters I feel like I KNOW by the end of Sarah Ockler’s books, characters I’m genuinely sad to part ways with.

    I felt for Jude right away, when I started reading The Book of Broken Hearts. I was just a little kid when my great-grandma Lalah developed Alzheimer’s but I do remember what happened to her as the disease progressed. I have some really faint, fuzzy memories of her before she had to go into a nursing home, but the sad part is, the clearest memories I have of her are of us visiting her in the nursing home. In The Book of Broken Hearts, Jude’s dad has Alzheimer’s, and it was really hopeful and bittersweet, seeing glimpses of him as she remembered him, only to see him struggle to remember where he was, or what was going on. I loved how Jude hoped their project together – working with Emilio to fix her father’s motorcycle – would bring him back to her. I felt Jude’s fear for him really keenly, and thought it was so GOOD of her to take so much time out of her summer to spend it with him. I admired her so much for being able to do that, but I was worried too, about if she and her family could handle her dad’s degeneration. That really tugged at my heart majorly, to the point that I was close to tearing up a few times during particularly poignant moments.

    I enjoyed seeing what interaction there was between Jude and her sisters. The age difference was sort of odd to me, since there’s only four years between me and my brother, but it just made things all the more sweet, with Jude being the baby. It made sense it would be hardest for her to let go of her dad, or think about long-term care options. I loved how well-done the flashbacks were to the sister’s interactions with the Vargas brothers. There weren’t too many flashbacks, or awkward ones that didn’t make sense; instead, I really felt like Ockler utilized them well.

    Speaking of the Vargas brothers… *sighs* I really liked Emilio. He was an all-around good, awesome guy, and I loved his interactions with Jude. I loved their banter, and how they each got under the other’s skin. It was obvious to me as the reader where they were headed, but watching them GET there was the real treat, if sometimes frustrating. I couldn’t blame Jude for being wary of falling for Emilio, or him for wanting and needing her to open up to him. I just adored how they challenged each other, and made one another BETTER.

    Finally, I want to talk about the setting. Sarah Ockler has this way of bring her settings to life, making you feel like you’re really THERE. I loved all the cultural information we got about Jude and her family, their language, traditions, and cooking. And I also thought Ockler wove in stories about Jude’s dad’s past really well, too, and I really GOT it, that sense that Jude’s family was complicated, but loving. Those are the families I love to read about.

    Final thought: The Book of Broken Hearts is an engaging story about love, family, and loyalty. It’s the second Sarah Ockler book I’ve read and enjoyed. Jude is a lovable, if sometimes frustrating main character, and I think readers will love her, and Emilio. With a vivid setting and characters, The Book of Broken Hearts was a truly great read, that only lacked a little “something” to make me have loved it even more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 stars It¿s the last summer before Jude Hernandez heads off

    4.5 stars

    It’s the last summer before Jude Hernandez heads off to college but she isn’t relaxing or hanging out with friends instead she spending the summer watching her Papi because he’s been recently diagnosed with Early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is slowly eating away at Papi’s memory and though he can’t remember what he had for breakfast that day; he remembers the good ol’ times when he was biking in South America on his motorcycle ‘Valentina’. Jude comes up with a brilliant plan in helping with her dad’s memory, he seems to recall anything and everything related to his motorcycle…so fixing it up/working on the bike might help to keep him calm and focused. Jude and her father ends up hiring a guy from Duchess the local bike shop, but to her surprise he isn’t just any guy… he’s Emilio Vargas! Jude made a blood oath with her three sisters long ago to never ever get involve with a Vargas, especially after two Vargas brothers broke her sisters’ heart. Under no condition is Jude planning on breaking her oath to her sisters, she won’t even give him a chance to break her heart. However, the more time Jude spends with Emilio she sees that he isn’t like his brothers or any guy she ever dated before…he the first guy to really make her happy.

    The Book of Broken Hearts isn’t just a lovey-dovey romance novel; it’s the story of love, hardship, family, joy, heartache, and living life to the fullest. I was immediately sucked into the story by Jude’s voice…and JUDE, what a cool name for a girl! Jude is such a caring and selfless teen. Jude is the youngest of four sisters, (8 year age gap between them) who is living at home till the end of summer and at which point will be off to college in Denver. I love how responsible Jude was, and how she handles the situation with her dad. She never once complained about being stuck at home, or how she’s watching her dad 24/7. Jude is always thinking about others, putting her parents and even what her sisters’ think above what she feels. Then she meets Emilio, he is the opposite of everything her sisters’ warn her about. Emilio is funny, sexy, caring, and helps Jude with her father whenever something happens; unlike her friends who bails out when things get uncomfortable/or embarrassing.

    Ockler has penned one of the most heart-breaking (in a good way) book I’ve read in a long time…I cried practically every few chapters! I love Jude, her family and Emilio. This book really makes you think about the meaning of family and how short life can be. I’m a sucker for anything to do with family. Bottom line, The Book of Broken Hearts was an amazing-heartfelt story. The book takes place during the summer, and it would be a great book to pick up while you’re lounging at the beach, the park, or relaxing at home this summer! I highly highly recommend this book, I don’t read many contemporary YA but this book was sooo great that it’s definitely making me think about having more contemporary YA in my book rotation!! Check this book out you guys, you won’t regret it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2013

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss.)
    18-year-old Jude is all set to go off to college after her final summer at home, but it’s not the last summer her and her friends had been planning on.
    Although her father is only fifty two-years-old, he’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and needs constant supervision. Jude is the only daughter left at home, with her three older sisters already having flown the nest, and it’s up to her to look after her father while her mother is at work.

    Although he can’t remember how to get home from where he used to work, one thing Jude’s father is still passionate about is his old motorbike ‘Valentina’, which has been in storage for years. Jude knows that getting the bike restored and working again will be something for her father to focus on and look forward to, and she thinks it’s just the thing to distract him from the awful disease that is robbing him of both his memories and his future.

    The only problem is that the mechanic they have hired to restore the bike is a Vargas, and one of Jude’s older sisters was betrayed by a Vargas boy just weeks before their wedding. All the Hernandez girls made an oath to steer clear of Vargas boys after two of them ended up broken-hearted, but Jude can’t help but fall for the cute and flirty Emilio Vargas.
    What will her sister’s say when they discover who is restoring the bike? What does the future hold in store for Jude and Emilio? And what does Jude’s fathers diagnosis mean for both him and his family?


    This was an entertaining young adult contemporary romance novel, with a serious side too.

    I have to say that from the blurb I had no idea how much of this book would be about Jude and her family, rather than Jude and Emilio.
    Jude and her family actually had quite a lot to deal with when it came to her father’s illness. His symptoms were rapidly escalating, and Jude was quickly becoming a full-time babysitter. This was really difficult for Jude, partly because she had no idea how bad her father would be from day-to-day, and partly because it was so difficult to see how quickly her father was deteriorating right in front of her very eyes.
    This seemed to be quite a realistic, gritty portrayal of the real-life day-to-day problems of coping with a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, which was an interesting insight, and added an extra dimension to the story. Jude couldn’t just go running off with whoever she wanted whenever she pleased, because she had her father to think about. This meant that a lot of Jude’s friends had almost given up on her, and her social life was seriously bombing.

    The romance between Jude and Emilio almost took a back seat to the story of Jude and her father, although I liked how the two stories were interwoven, and how Emilio reacted to the sensitive topic of Jude’s father’s illness, and his sometimes strange behaviour. I really liked how he tried to support Jude, and how understanding he was of the situation that she was in. This was really important for Jude, because despite his illness, she loved her father, and if Emilio hadn’t been so supportive, she probably wouldn’t have given him a chance.

    I did like both Jude and Emilio in this story, and I liked how the ‘book of broken hearts’ was eventually woven into the story as a book that Jude’s older sisters had written about their past heartbreaks in. I did think that it was quite difficult for Jude though seeing as she was a lot younger than her three sisters, and had the added responsibility of looking after her father. It seemed that Jude’s older sisters were much closer to each other than to Jude, because Jude was so much younger than them growing up, and she was almost overlooked when her older sisters starting planning things without her. I really felt sorry for Jude in that respect, because even though she was the one looking after her father on a day-to-day basis, her sisters almost treated her life she was still a baby and her opinion didn’t matter.

    The storyline overall felt very real – life isn’t a fairy-tale, and I liked how this fact was used to inspire Jude to live her life now, and to not put off things that she wanted to do. I also liked how Emilio told her that there were no do-overs in life, and that even with all the problems that Jude and her family had to face, the ending was still mostly happy.
    Overall; a young adult contemporary romance, with some realistic storylines, and inspiring ideas.
    7 out of 10.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Stay away from the Vargas boys, they only break your heart! That

    Stay away from the Vargas boys, they only break your heart! That's what Jude has been told by her three older sisters since she's been a little kid and she even swore an oath to never ever get involved with a Vargas. Pretty inconvenient that fatefully a Vargas, Emilio is his name, is now helping Jude and her father restore his old bike in an attempt to make him happy and bring back memories he could lose forever.
    This constellation and their motorcycle repair dates ensures a lot of alone time for Jude and Emilio and so getting to know the other is inevitable.
    What I could've done without were the sisterly drama and endless discussions evoked by their sacred oath. Without it Jude and Emilio's romance would've felt much more important and natural in connection with him helping Jude to gain strength and confidence dealing with her father's illness.
    The portrait of Jude's father often broke my heart in a whole different way than any Vargas boy ever could. What do you do when the father you have known your whole life suddenly acts like a stranger or looks at you like you are one?
    THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS began to affect me emotionally after only a few chapters, when Jude felt shame or fear I did, too. But mostly we were both made up of heartbreak. Sarah Ockler did such a good job picturing the progression of her father's illness and the helplessness of his family.


    4/5 **** THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS - Poignant and gritty! This story is made up of as many wistful as hilarious moments that can't but win over every reader.

    Jude's a strong character and Emilio with his big and sexy mouth can make her only stronger. He has a sense for the right thing to say in situations of hopelessness with Jude's Dad and he always knows how to get to her with his teasing and naughtiness. He reminds Jude that you always have to make the best of the time that you've been granted and the people you were lucky enough to know. Strong characters, strong message!

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  • Posted August 9, 2013

    Highly Recommended - Another Hit from Ockler

    I think one of the unexpected things I love about The Book of Broken Hearts is despite the suggesting time and the meaning of the book within the text, it's really not a love story...or mainly a love story. There is one, but that's not the focus of the novel. It's just a heart warming sub-story.

    The real gem of the novel is that it's really a story about family and how they must deal with tragedy when an unexpected illness strikes in the family. The broken heart is not only a result of some boy, it's the result of life throwing things Jude's way that there's no real happy ending to.

    But alas, it's not only sadness within the covers of this novel, there's some happy moments (both boy and family related). But there are some heart breaking moments that will make you sad. For me the moments that hurt the most weren't Emilio responsible affects.

    I really liked the romantic parts though, Emilio is such a cutie. There's so much back and forth between Emilio and Jude. The tension between is palpable immediately. They each got their own issues but despite that, they are there in for each other, even when the other would like them not to be.

    My favorite aspect about The Book of Broken Hearts is that there's diversity. Ockler uses their culture to really shape and build such dynamic characters. The Spanish that is used in the text isn't too much, it's just enough. Both Spanish and non-Spanish speakers can easily relate and still understand everything that's happening in the novel.

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Emotional and Heartrending What I loved: I expected this to be

    Emotional and Heartrending

    What I loved: I expected this to be just another tragic love story between a "good girl" and a "bad boy" but instead, I found a story that focused on the bonds of family and the heartbreak that comes from watching a disease slowly steal someone you love, one precious memory at a time.

    I enjoyed these characters and the witty banter had me laughing at loud. Jude is smart, funny and determined not to be swayed by the tall, dark and temptuous, Emilio Vargas and she fails, hilariously. Jude quickly learns that despite her sisters' warnings about the Vargas men, Emilio is nothing like his older brothers. He's definitely cute and wastes no time trying to charm her but Emilio also possesses a unique level of compassion that even her closest friends aren't able to provide. He sees the good, the bad and the ugly that is her daily life and he doesn't run screaming for the hills. *smooshes Emilio* He's patient and understanding but Emilio also calls her out on her "stuff" as he tries to make her see that life is meant to be lived, here and now.

    When everything comes to a head, Jude will have to decide for herself what and who she's going to live for but deciding is only half the battle, actually living will require risk, but it's always a risk worth taking.

    What left me wanting: I didn't want it to end but I loved the way it did!

    Final verdict: There are two kinds of people in this world, the kind that read this beautiful, heart wrenching story of family, first loves and learning what it really means to live, and those who don't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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