The Book of Broken Heartsby Sarah Ockler
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/b>/i>/i>
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.
Gr 8 Up—The youngest of four sisters and a recent high school graduate, Jude Hernandez is responsible for caring for her father, who was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. His excitement at finding his old motorcycle in the garage gives Jude an idea: if they restore it, maybe it will help restore his lost memories. As an added plus, it keeps them at home and away from her father's potential public meltdowns, which are growing more frequent. Together, they hire the cheapest mechanic they can find—Emilio Vargas. But the hitch is that her older sisters hate his older brothers and made Jude swear an oath to never get involved with a Vargas. The teen is finding it harder to ignore what a great guy Emilio is, and how patient and kind he is with her father. But as the motorcycle project nears completion, her father seems more lost than ever. This is a poignant look at how hard it is to witness a loved one lose memories. Jude tries hard to be everything to everyone, including her family and former good friends, without much support from the latter. Through it all, Emilio stands by her, and the revelation that he is also no stranger to heartbreak helps cement his trustworthiness in Jude's eyes. While the oath is a little overplayed, the feelings Jude has are not, and teens will identify with her struggle.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ
Read an Excerpt
The Book of Broken Hearts
The law of probability dictates that with three older sisters, a girl shall inherit at least one pair of cute shorts that actually fit. Agreed?
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If these things could talk, they’d be all, Hi! We’re Araceli’s old cutoffs! And I’d go, Congrats on fulfilling your destiny, because you totally cut off circulation to the vital female organs! High fives!
Actually, they were so tight up in there that if they could talk, it would sound more like, Umph mphh mphh hrmm.
“Ready to do this?” I killed the engine and smiled at Papi across the front seat. He didn’t say one way or the other, just squinted as I leaned over to do my lip gloss in the rearview.
“You look old, mi querida.”
“Says the guy who microwaves his socks?”
“They were cold.” He shrugged. Seriously. Like I was the crazy one in this operation.
“Lucky you didn’t start a fire.” I hopped out of the truck and hooked the leash on Pancake, our golden retriever, who was suddenly doing this shake-rattle-and-roll dance with his dog booty—pretty adorable.
I de-wedged my sister’s ex-denim and turned back to Papi. “Ever hear of dressing the part? If they take us seriously, maybe we won’t get screwed.”
He appraised Araceli’s shorts and the strategically ripped Van Halen tee I’d pilfered from Lourdes’s castaways. “Jude Catherine Hernandez. I’d like to see anyone ride a motorcycle in that outfit.”
I stifled an eye roll. Viejito hadn’t ridden a bike in thirty years. I, on the other hand, was totally up on this stuff. I’d bookmarked practically every Sturgis video diary ever posted, and thanks to a few Red Bull–and-Oreo-fueled YouTube all-nighters, I was approaching expert status in the vast and shadowy realm of motorcycle culture.
Leather, chains, and flagrant bralessness? Bring it.
Papi squinted at me again. “You look like—”
“Your favorite daughter? Tell me about it.” I slipped an arm around his waist. Aside from my unequivocally pro-undergarment stance, I felt at least 87 percent biker-babe legit as I navigated Fifth Street, shoulders tucked neatly under the arm of a man old enough to be my father.
Okay, in all fairness, he was my father, but still. Manufactured authenticity? Phrase of the day, people!
“Duchess Custom Cycles.” Papi read the sign just as I caught our mismatched reflection in the glass. He’d insisted on wearing an insulated flannel shirt and his complimentary THANKS FOR SUBSCRIBING TO THE WESTERN CHANNEL, PARDNER cowboy hat, despite the fact that it was five hundred degrees outside, and I would’ve gotten more coverage from a skein of yarn and some duct tape.
Sweet Jeremiah Johnson, what a pair!
Papi opened the door, and I hobbled in with Pancake, still trying to coax out those unforgiving shorts. People probably thought I had some kind of medical issue, which was ironic considering the whole reason I’d gotten myself into this rollicking high-plains adventure in the first place.
Despite its royal moniker, Duchess met my research-supported expectations. Dusty. Grimy. Wallpapered with scantily clad women draped over motorcycles. I so blended in, but once the door shut behind us, my nose was assaulted by the tang of motor oil and sweat, and my mind flashed through all the things I should’ve been doing the summer after graduation: dorm-supply shopping. Summer theater at Upstart Crow. Sipping frozen Java Potions at Witch’s Brew and flirting with the East Coast kayakers who flooded Blackfeather, Colorado, every June.
Papi’s warm hand on my shoulder tugged me back to reality. We’d reached the service counter. A glass door behind it offered a view of the garage, a wide concrete space scattered with bike parts and rags and grease-smudged mechanics.
The guy who emerged through the door had a small mouth hidden behind a dried blond shrub of a goatee that made me think of the tumbleweeds that cruised Old Town all summer. He wiped his hands on a dingy cloth as he greeted us, eyes lingering judgmentally on my shirt.
Jeez. I guess Pancake was just being nice when he gave my outfit the patented three-bark approval this morning.
“We need some info on restoring a vintage panhead,” I said. “And a mechanic who can work at our place. Blackfeather Harley thought you could give my dad a better deal.”
The guy’s smile warmed when I said “dad,” and I relaxed. But only a little, since my shorts were still trying to ride off into the sunset via Butt Cheek Pass and it was a challenge to stand still.
“We can sure try, darlin’.” He spoke around a gnawed-up toothpick that had probably been in his mouth since the seventies. “Name’s Duke. Whatcha got?”
“Sixty-one Duo-Glide. Bought her in Buenos Aires from the original owner in seventy-eight.” Papi rattled off the specs, right down to the odometer reading and the customizations he’d done before he biked through the homeland when he was seventeen.
The story was a sock rocker for sure—I hadn’t even heard it all yet—and Duke’s face lit up at the telling.
This was the Bear Hernandez everyone knew and loved. Not the guy cooking his socks or forgetting the way home from work. Papi’s eyes shone as he spoke, and my heart thumped hard behind Eddie Van Halen’s face.
The old man was still in there somewhere—I knew it.
The bike would bring him back. We just had to get her running again. A few replacement parts, paint job, good as new.
I handed over my cell to show Duke the picture.
“Wow,” Duke said. “You had her in storage all this time?”
“Sí. She’s been idle since . . .” Papi squinted at Pancake as if the answer were written in those big brown dog eyes. “Pretty sure Reagan was in office last time I rode. She won’t turn over. Brake lines were going too, if I remember right.”
“The tires are all soggy,” I said helpfully, “and some of the pipe things on the side are loose.” I tugged my shirt down over the strip of belly that showed whenever I took a deep breath. Pipe things. Soggy tires. Apparently my extensive research didn’t cover the technical terms.
Duke inspected the photo. The paint was fading, she was caked in rust and dirt, but it wasn’t hard to imagine her glory days. Baby blue and cream, chrome that must’ve gleamed like white light. She was probably strong once, really tore up those Argentine mountain roads.
And then my parents got married. Moved to the States. Had Lourdes. Araceli. Mariposa. And eight years after that, me.
Out in the garage, an engine growled and the mechanics cheered. Pancake whimpered and curled up at my feet.
Harleys. It was hard to picture Papi riding one of those things, but I guess he was pretty hard core back in the day. He had a posse and everything: Las Arañas Blancas. The White Spiders.
“Queridita.” Papi grinned when the rumbling stopped. “That’s the sound of happiness, yeah?”
Actually my idea of happiness involved less machinery and testosterone than your average Harley offered up, but I returned his smile. Despite my wardrobe malfunction and the general dangers of hanging out with Papi in public these days, we’d already enjoyed a fine breakfast at Ruby’s Mountainside Café and managed to walk all the way from the truck to Duchess without Papi trying to steal a car or kiss another man’s wife.
Real bang-up day so far.
“Good news and bad news.” Duke returned my phone. “Good? She’s a real beauty, and we can definitely fix ’er up.”
Papi was suddenly looking out the front door like he needed to know the exits, needed a quick way out, and I held my breath, hoping that whatever came out of Duke’s mouth next didn’t spark one of Papi’s meltdowns and send him running into the street.
Mom would kill me if I lost him again. She’d seriously crush up my bones and throw me down the side of a mountain, and the Holy Trinity of my all-knowing sisters would stand there shaking my ashes from their hair and rolling their eyes about how even postmortem I couldn’t follow directions.
Keep him close to home, Jude. Keep him calm and focused.
But they weren’t there when I found the bike in the storage barn last week, when I cast off boxes of Christmas decorations and old report cards and peeled back the dusty blue tarps and asked Papi to tell me all about it.
They didn’t see the light in his eyes, flickering on after months of darkness.
And other than a little dignity and the ability to walk normally for a few hours on account of these shorts, I wasn’t planning to lose anything today.
“The bad news?” I asked.
“Time and money, honey.” Duke swished the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other. “Repairs, paint, accessories . . . that’s a helluva restore. I’m not sure we can beat the big boys much on price. Hate to say this, but you’d probably get a better deal tradin’ up, gettin’ the old man something newer.”
Heat flooded my face. “He’s not old.”
“It’s she. And a sixty-one’s goin’ on more than fifty years, darlin’. Not a lot of miles left, if you catch my drift.”
I catch your drift, all right.
I looped my arm through Papi’s and leaned on his shoulder. Pancake let out a soft whine.
“We aren’t trading up.” I’d already been through all that with Blackfeather Harley. “Look, I’ll be honest with you here, Mr. Duchess—”
“Duke. We don’t have a ton of cash. What if we use rebuilt parts?” I met his gaze and held it, hoping this wouldn’t require any waterworks. Calling up a few tears was an option, but the biker-babe mascara made the prospect less appealing.
He stroked his goatee, hopefully considering our predicament. At least, how our predicament looked from the outside: Sticker shock. A girl trying to help her daddy with just enough babysitting money to cover the basics.
“Problem isn’t just parts.” He was still going to town on that toothpick, which seemed like some kind of motorcycle guy code; I’d seen it in the videos. “It’s labor. Only got one guy experienced on vintage bikes, and he ain’t that cheap. Ain’t that available, either—he’s booked till fall. When you lookin’ to get ’er done?”
“I’m going on a road trip in August,” I said. Fingers crossed Zoe and Christina hadn’t finalized plans without me. “So, before then?”
Duke sucked in a breath. “Gonna be tight. For an off-site gig, at my lowest rates, I could only spare my junior mechanic. He’s not completely certified yet.”
I peered into the garage. Guys were stationed at different motorcycles and dirt bikes, most of them dressed in jeans and raggedy T-shirts, bare arms coated in grime. The conversation was muffled by the glass, but their easy banter was unmistakable.
Duke thumbed through the glass at a dark-blue bike, most of which had been stripped to its steel bones. A guy knelt before it—a little younger than the rest, maybe, but equally sure of himself. One arm was deep inside the bike, the floor around him littered with tools and rags.
“That’s him in the bandanna,” Duke said. “Good kid, knows his stuff. But like I said, barely got his training wheels off.”
“Doesn’t look like a kid to me.” I subtly shifted my hips. Damn. These cutoffs were on a mission; my ability to concentrate was becoming seriously compromised. “Besides, we don’t care how old he is. Just that he can do the work for cheap.”
Papi nodded, but his eyes were still far away.
Duke tapped on the glass and waved the young mechanic forward.
The guy got to his feet, wiped his hands on a rag that hung from his back pocket. His head dipped low as he opened the door and I couldn’t see his eyes. Just stubble. Dimples. Scar across the bottom of his chin. His arms were etched with jagged white scars too.
Dangerous stuff, this biker gig.
“How long you been working on these bikes?” Duke asked him.
“Eh . . . forever?”
“Here, smart-ass. For me.”
“Like, two or three months, I guess. Why?” All his attention was on the boss, but my skin tingled like I was being watched. Not in a creepy way—a familiar one. Like maybe I’d seen this guy before, but with the bandanna and the grime, I couldn’t place him. Definitely not from school or summer theater. Someone’s cousin, maybe?
“Not ready, junior.” Duke was totally baiting the poor guy. “Not for a sixty-one hog.”
“You kidding me? A sixty-one?” He finally turned to face me, a grin stretching across his face. His dimples were kind of disarming full-on, but I stood my ground as he looked me over.
My skin heated under the scrutiny. I really wished Zoe had helped me prepare this morning. I didn’t even like Van Halen, and she would’ve smartly pointed that out.
Dressing the part? Really, Jude. Someday your theatrics will be your undoing.
“Sixty-one panhead,” I finally said.
His eyebrows jumped in either surprise or appreciation. Maybe both. “You ride?”
“She’s mine,” Papi said, his mind returning from its little side trip. “And as far as I’m concerned, if you want the job, it’s yours.”
The mechanic started yammering at his boss in Spanish, deep and low. Puerto Rican, the accent was, faster and less meandering than the Argie stuff I’d grown up with. He was trying to convince Duke that he could do the job. Needed the dinero for some big bike trip this summer.
“Gentlemen,” I said. The mechanic looked up at me again, but I kept my eyes on Duke. “We’re not asking for a museum piece. We just need to get this thing rebuilt. So if he can help—”
“I can help.” He turned back to Duke, his scarred forearms flexing as he gripped the counter. “I rebuilt my own hog last year.”
“That’s an eighty-seven, kid. Sportster besides.”
He shrugged. “Aside from the kickstart, mechanics ain’t changed much.”
“Duke, please,” I said. “We have to get this thing running.”
Without permission, those on-call waterworks pricked my eyes. Maybe it was ridiculous to put so much hope in restoring the bike, in believing it could really fix Papi. But it was our last shot—the one thing the doctors had overlooked, the faint glimmer of maybe that the medical research and case studies had somehow missed.
I cleared my throat and tried again. “What I mean is . . . it’s imperative that we complete the restore as planned.”
Papi shook his head, his smile finally returning. “My daughter . . . she has a way with words.”
Duke eyed me skeptically, but he was clearly under the spell of our father-daughter charms. Even the toothpick stopped shuffling. “Okay, what the customer wants, the customer gets. Even if it’s the kid.”
“It’s the kid,” Papi confirmed. He was beaming again, totally back in the moment. “You’re hired.”
“You won’t be sorry.” The boy shook Papi’s hand and then reached for mine. I pressed my palm to his automatically, but as my skin warmed at his touch, something clicked inside, something familiar and dangerous, and I jerked my hand away and stared at it as if I’d been stung.
My cheeks flamed, but before anyone could question my bizarro reaction, Duke grabbed the boy’s shoulder. “You’d better be ready for this, Emilio.”
My head snapped up, jolted by a flash of recognition. “What’s your name again?”
“Emilio.” His lips formed the word, each syllable sliding into my ears with a rush of memory and white-hot guilt. Those caramel-brown eyes. Black hair curled up around the edge of that smudged bandanna. He wasn’t smiling now, but the dimples were still there, lurking below the surface like a dare.
I’d been warned that those dimples would be my undoing. Trained to avoid them most of my teen life, a feat made easier when he’d bailed inexplicably out of Blackfeather High two years ago, a month before he was supposed to graduate.
Yet there he was. More grown up, scruffy along the jawline, filling out his T-shirt in all the ways he hadn’t before. Practically almost ogling me.
That real bang-up day I was having?
Crash. And. Burn.
The only guy in all of Blackfeather who could help—the guy we had just so desperately hired—was the only guy in all of Blackfeather I was bound by blood, honor, and threat of dismemberment from every female in the Hernandez family to unilaterally ignore.
I’m not kidding about the blood part. There was an oath and everything, carefully scrawled into an infamous black book that once held all my sisters’ secrets.
I almost laughed.
Of course it was him.
Emilio fucking Vargas.
Meet the Author
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and Twenty Boy Summer. Her books have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten, and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. She lives in Washington with her husband, Alex. Visit her at SarahOckler.com and find her on Twitter and Facebook.
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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.
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!
(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.
A beautiful story of family, love and relationships with a twist of humor and hottie romance. What could be better?
This book was more serious than I was expecting. It was almost like Still Alice for teens. Jude has just graduated high school, and she's spending her last summer at home babysitting her father who has early onset Alzheimer's. She finds his old motorcycle in the garage and decides that fixing it up will restore her father to full health. He seems to remember everything about his motorcycle days even though he often loses track of the present. Enter Emilio, the mechanic they hire to help with the bike restore. I think he was supposed to be a "bad boy", but other than riding a motorcycle and fixing up bikes, he was just a normal guy, which I appreciated because I don't often go for the bad boy in books (or in real life). Emilio gave Jude someone to talk to outside of her family. She is the youngest of 4 girls, and her sisters are pretty controlling even though they don't live at home anymore. Emilio helps Jude deal with her father, her feelings, and her situation. I enjoyed their romance despite all of the motorcycle talk. I am not really into Harleys. I enjoyed the added depth of the story, but there was something off about the writing that prevented me from rating this book higher. I often had to re-read sentences to understand Ockler's intent. I hope her other books aren't like this. I'm reading The Summer of Chasing Mermaids this month for my book club. I liked the Spanish inserted into the dialog. Jude's family is from Argentina, and Emilio is Mexican, so that made it seem a little more authentic. The premise of this book (the pack against the Vargas brothers) was fun, the characters were good, and it was well executed. It was a solid read just not 100% for me. http://momsradius.blogspot.com/2015/09/book-review-book-of-broken-hearts-ya.html
I loved it Short but sweet
This book truly defines the meaning of true live and family. It makes me strive to go out into the world and find myself as well as hope to find a love like Emilio and Jude. Not inly are they friends but they are aso in touch wirh another's emotions and are in tune with one another. It is one if those books that makes my heart ache because I do not have a love like that and hope I will one day. This book will touch your heart in everyway and will make wish the story would never end.
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!
I have to admit i had my doubts about this book. It seemed kinda strange and different but out of curiosity i had to know if it was good and if i would like it... And it turned out to be way better than i ever imagined that it would be. I have read the other sarah ockler books and i truely believe that this is her best work yet. She does't always have that predictable happy- ever- after-type- of- ending in her books but yet, she still manages to create a wound up happy ending that is not perfect but doesn't stop to short or go too long. This story came to a close just right. It didn't stop at were everything was bright and leave it too open ended but it also didn't fast forward into the future where everything was decided and perfect. It stopped just right. It was sort of like goldie locks and the porages, chairs, beds until she came across the one that wasn't too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft, but just right. And sarah ockler found the just right ending. This book was about a girl, Jude, who just graduated high school and instead of a 'normal' summer with her best friend acting in a theater production togeather Jude takes this last summer to be there for her father and the rest of her family. But predictably of course she also gets to know this guy while trying to get her fathers bike fixed up and... she starts to like him even though she shouldn't because he is a Vargas. This story that revoles around Jude is full of love, regret, and family during such a hard and pivital time. This book is wonderful and i fully recremend it. I wasn't even sure i would like this book and instead i loved it. The story was portraded perfectly, it was the right pace and the characters were developed and overall i don't how sarah ockler will ever be able to out do her self when she writes her next novel. I know this is a high praise of this book that i am giving and i don't normally do so, but the way this story was told just blew me away.
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.
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.
I swear, every single Sarah Ockler book takes my breath away in ways I can never even begin to imagine before I start reading. The Book of Broken Hearts made me laugh, cry, and swoon like no other book. From the very first page, I connected with the story (and characters). Ockler sculpted a wonderfully addicting story that is difficult to put down. In addition to being having an adorable romance, The Book of Broken Hearts also deals with more serious subjects. Jude has to learn how to come to terms with her father’s declining health, while still keeping her sanity. Though the summary of the novel offers a glimpse into the familial aspect of the story, I don’t think it does that part of the book justice. Jude’s family (especially her father) play a huge part in the story. The non-romantic relationships in The Book of Broken Hearts make it even more special. They add depth to the characters, and to the story. Jude, the novel’s main character, is fantastically written. A lot of the times in Contemporary YA Romance books, the main character is not very memorable and lacks a strong personality. Jude, however, is neither of these things. She’s headstrong and intelligent. She is impeccably caring and family-oriented. Emilio, the adorable swoon-worthy love interest in this novel is well written also. He’s cute, but also intelligent and genuinely caring towards Jude. Their relationship is complicated, yet they make it work. The Book of Broken Hearts is one of my favorite contemporary novels (along with Ockler’s other novels), and is something I’ve reread multiple times. Ockler’s writing is beautiful, well-paced, and unforgettable. These characters will capture your heart from the very beginning. The Book of Broken Hearts is a must-read for anybody, especially those looking for a meaningful yet cute summer read.
I love all of Sarah Ockler's books, so I had high expectations for The Book of Broken Hearts and it certainly did not disappoint. What I love about her books is that they contain real issues and are super relatable. Her writing style is beautiful, and there is so much power packed within each chapter of this book. All of the characters were amazing and completely believable. The story is sad but very real and well researched. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves young adult novels that go beyond romantic relationships (even though this book isn't lacking that, either). I finished the book in a day then found myself missing the characters afterwards. Sarah Ockler is truly a remarkable writer.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication Date: May 21, 2013 Rating: 5 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: Oh my gosh, this book is so sweet! I absolutely LOVED this book - hence the 5 star-rating! Contemporary novels have been really good this year, but this one blew me away. The romance was sweet, the plot was up and down, and the characters were so well-written! I wanted to hug this book several times, especially after finishing it. And the writing in general was superb! Ms. Ockler has a firm control of her writing style, and it is near flawless. Not once was there language or dialogue that seemed out of place. I love how well Ms. Ockler writes her characters. Jude is such a nice and lovable heroine. I knew I would like her right from the start. She does not take a lot of risks, or lives outside of the box, but she has good reason not to. I suppose that was her development throughout the book - to progressively learn to take chances. Especially in the form of Emilio Vargas. Emilio is so well-written as well. He is the love interest, but he is also the mechanic who is fixing Jude's father's old motorcycle. Emilio is patient and kind, nonjudgmental and eager to help. He is nothing like his older male family members. All of the prejudices that Jude's older sisters held against the Vargas men did not apply to Emilio Vargas, something that took the entire book for those sisters to realize. Jude's father is one of the primary characters in the story, even though he is a static character. He is the reason behind many of Jude's decisions, especially the decision to hire Emilio to fix the motorcycle. I wish that Jude could have let go a little, and let her father be, but Jude's stubbornness made her who she is. The plot is based around Jude's father and his condition, and loosely around the motorcycle. I loved discovering more about Jude, Emilio, the Vargas family, and Jude's father. Sometimes the story was so sad, and other times, I couldn't stop laughing. The romance in this book is so sweet. I feel like I can't stop using that word - sweet. But the romance is especially so! It's a slow romance, building quietly but surely as the book, and Jude, progresses. When Emilio and Jude finally kiss, I feel like the scene was slightly rushed, because the romance was slow, so the kiss should have been slow. But I loved that scene, and the aftermath. The ending is bittersweet AND amazing at the same time. It feels like a good ending in terms of closure for Jude, as well as a fitting ending for Jude and her fence around life. It's a happy ending, with several sad twists. I'm satisfied with the ending though. What I Did Not Like: Erm... there wasn't much that I didn't like. The first kiss scene that I mentioned above - about it being rushed, in comparison to the slow-build romance. That was probably the only thing that really stuck out to me. Would I Recommend It: TOTALLY! If I give a book five stars... then, in my opinion, it HAS to be good. I don't just hand out five stars! But seriously, this book is great. A wonderful contemporary romance novel that I think anyone can and will enjoy! Rating: 5 stars. I am really impressed by Ms. Ockler! This was my first novel that I have read by her, so I will definitely be looking up her other ones!
The Book of Broken Hearts was my third Sarah Ockler book. I have previously read Twenty Boy Summer and Bittersweet. Twenty Boy Summer was heartbreaking and beautiful while bittersweet disappointed me. As for The Book of Broken Hearts, it might not have left a deep mark on me, but in the end it wasn't a complete disappointment. Jude, the main protagonist, seems to find herself spending the last summer before college with her dad.. babysitting her dad. Recently he was diagnosed with onset alzheimers, a disease that has been taking away some of what made her father... her father. It was a bit sad seeing Jude dealing with her father alone. Her three older sisters are all older than her by a decade and her mom is working full time now. Some of the episodes her dad had would definitely leave me freaked out if I was in her situation. When Jude decides her last attempt to try and bring back her father is by fixing his beloved Harley, she ends up having to hire Emilio, a Vargas. Vargas is basically "A four letter world" in the Hernandez family because two of the older sisters had their hearts broken by two of the Vargas brothers. A blood oath seven years ago causes Jude to be wary of Emilio, but you all know the end of this romantic plot line. It was cute, sweet, but a bit too fast too soon for my taste. However I loved the relationship of the four sisters, I was so jealous of them all. I wish I had older sisters, especially ones that are close to my age (which is why I felt sorry for Jude and the 10 year gap). Something that did annoy me is the over use of spanish words. I am all for doing that if the translation of the words and sentences were in a footnote. Half the time I would put down the book and what this word or that sentence means. Other times I wouldn't be close to the internet and tell myself to forget about it and move on. This kind of took away some of my enjoyment. Also, this is a 350 page book.. I spent most of that book in Jude's house; I just expected a bit more. Halfway through the book I was feeling a bored. I do have to say the ending was emotional, especially when the whole family came together. I really felt for them. Also, I was kind of annoyed at Jude's supposed best friends. They view Jude's dad as if he was an anomaly. For god's sake, he is just a man with a disease, not even a contagious one so I don't understand the way they avoid him. At the beginning even Jude's family stopped taking her dad out or even allowing visitors because they didn't want any "embarrassing" incidents. I was really frustrated with their mentality. The end was bittersweet, you obviously don't expect a magical recovery of the disease because that isn't realistic, but the journey Jude and her family went through really opens up your eyes. If you are looking for just a cute romantic contemporary, then this isn't for you. This is a book about broken hearts, family, love, and trying to live with what life throws at you, exactly what Jude does in the end.
First of all I love this cover picture I think it's awesome. Just so loving the book and heart! This book starts out with Jude taking care of her dad for the summer, and helping him restore his Harley. When they enter a motorcycle repair shop to find a mechanic to work on a vintage bike Jude finds out the only one any good on this type of motorcycle is Emilio Vargas. The name Vargas in their house means heartbreak and the girls made a vow long ago to never let a Vargas hurt them again! But really what can happen while working on a motorcycle? And can a pact be held legal when the girl signing it was only 12? What I loved about this story is you get to see how they try to deal with their father and his health deteriorating with the onset of Alzheimers and how this effects everyone in the family. Jude seems to have the hardest time with it not sure how to bring her father back to reality when the onset occurs. Emilio tries to help when Jude's father has an episode in a drugstore. With Emilio you can see that he is trying to help and get to know Jude regardless of what happened to Jude's older sister, who had her heart broken by a Vargas. This book was incredible watching the relationship between Jude and her father, and the decisions the women in Jude's family had to make regarding their father. Also watching the romance bloom between Jude and Emilio and seeing that just cause some Vargas are jerks doesn't make them all that way! I loved this story so much!
Countless books have deeply moved me in the past few years, but only two have literally brought tears to my eyes. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and now, this one by Sarah Ockler. She's a master at writing rich, emotional scenes, and magically connecting with the reader, bringing them along for the ride -- which happens to be on the back of a motorcycle with smoking hot Emilio Vargas! The cast of characters, Colorado families with deep roots in Argentina and Puerto Rico, are richly drawn, and by the end of the novel, have become people you expect (or at least hope) to run into on the street. From laugh out loud moments to heart wrenching family drama with universal themes, The Book of Broken Hearts was a true delight. And one of the most satisfying endings I've read lately. I've devoured all of Ockler's novels, but this one is my new favorite.
Straight up I’m a major, major, major Sarah Ockler fan. She is one of my auto-buy authors so I truly don’t think she could do any wrong in my eyes. But I will admit when I started The Book of Broken Hearts I was nervous. I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure I liked Jude or how the story jumped in and sort of seemed rushed. But then I kept reading and reading and reading. And I can happily report that I really loved the story. It was definitely a different kind of Ockler read I thought, but it still had that same magic hidden in the pages just like her other 3 amazing books. The Book of Broken Hearts is the story of Jude, a girl with three older sister who might as well have been an only child thanks to the age gap between them. But Jude remembers one thing from her time with her sisters, she remembers she should stay away from the Vargas brothers at all costs because all they will bring is heart ache and tears. But Jude suddenly finds herself sending her summer days working on a project with/for her dad with Emilio Vargas and can’t bring herself to remember why her sisters hated the Vargas boys to begin with. Between illness and family drama Jude and Emilio form a bond that could either lead to love or the worst broken heart Jude has ever had. Jude has to figure out just what is the right thing to do, listen to her heart and make her own choices or follow the path her older sisters had set for her. Truthfully my description doesn’t really do the story justice. I just didn’t want to give much away and ruin some of the stuff that is revealed through reading. Because Jude really is a great character and everything that she is going through is very relatable. Even as an only child I could relate to the feeling that you don’t get to make your own decisions and that a life is already mapped out for you. I understood her need to want to abide by her sisters but also to show she isn’t that little girl anymore and she needs to make her own choices whether it leads to a broken heart or a grand love. And Emilio was fighting the same things Jude was. He was labeled as his brothers, as a heartbreaker, as a screw-up. Like Jude he wasn’t able to make his own mistakes without being scrutinized. But unlike Jude he didn’t care. He went after what he wanted and that made me love him completely. Really Sarah Ockler seems to just get it. She seems to understand people and it comes through in her writing and I am always so grateful for that. Whether my heart is breaking during Twenty Boy Summer, my heartstrings are being tugged during Fixing Delilah, my stomach craving cupcakes and a cute boy in Bittersweet or I’m rooting for a couple that has to fight to be together in The Book of Broken Hearts, Sarah Ockler makes me believe all of it. I personally loved this book and I think you might too if you give it a chance. And like I have said before and will say again, if you have never read and Ockler book, get on that right now!
Such an amazing, sad story!! I guarantee that you will love it so much! It is the perfect romance story mixed with a heartbreaking plot about family issues. The plot is so original and fresh. Its the perfect mix of happiness and sadness! WARNING: I cried like a baby towards the ending. Also, for people who, like me, read Perfect Chemistry and loved it, this book has many similarities so Im sure you would love it too!! Props to Sarah Ockler for ANOTHER amazing, heart-warming read :)