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May 25, 2013

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts
Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 21, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC
Pages: 352
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.
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. 
Other books by Sarah Ockler:
Twenty Boy Summer


  1. I'm reassured that I will at least enjoy this one. I LOVED Twenty Boy Summer, it's definitely my favorite of Ockler's and I've got this one waiting around to be read but THE MOMENT hasn't hit me where I'll decide to sit down and read it.

    I'm actually kind of excited that there's going to be so much spanish in it as it's fun to read, especially when you can understand it but boo that it was hard for you to get into.

    "I was really frustrated with their mentality. "
    *sigh* I think one of the most common reactions people have to things they don't understand or that make them uncomfortable is avoidance, which sucks because it just makes the situation weirder for all involved. I'm prob not going to dig her friends then, am I? :(

    I'm happy you enjoyed the book, at least!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one for the most part, Juhina. I do agree that Jude's friends were rude and irritating, but I rather liked that Jude really had to go through this experience alone. Not everyone can be as understanding and accepting as we want them to be and Jude had to come to terms with that, which I appreciated. I also really loved the incorporation of immigrant culture, which was a nice change from the typical background of a novel. Great review! :)

  3. It's too bad that it was a bit slow moving. I didn't love Bittersweet but I've been wanting to read this one. For the most part people seem to enjoy it.

  4. I haven't read anything from Ockler, but I think I would enjoy this. I will have to see if I can get it from my library. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  5. You're not the first one to mention the over-use of spanish, actually. Small things like that can frustrate me quite a bit, but I like the sound of this one overall. I ordered a copy recently too, so I'm just waiting for it to turn up now. Great review!

  6. I have been on the fence about getting this one. Thanks for the review.

  7. The over-use of spanish words sounds disappointing for me. I don't think I'll enjoy this book at all because of it. I hate it when I still need to do some research just for me to understand the book. Great honest review :)

  8. I thought the sisters' comic vendetta against the Vargas brothers didn't always mesh seamlessly with Jude's father's very sad situation -- but I am a BIG fan of this author and have read and enjoyed all her books.

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

  9. Hmmm...this is interesting. I don't think I realized this was about Alzheimers. I've never read anything by this author, although I know she has a devoted following. Thanks or your thoughts!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  10. I thought this one was pretty good. It was my first Ockler read :) I didn't like the overuse of the spanish either. It got to be a little bit of an annoyance. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  11. I love the title of this book! It was the main reason why I wanted to read it, but after your review and not so sure. Anyway, the spanish words caught my attention (I'm a spanish speaker), maybe I'll read it it my curiosity wins :)
    Thanks for the review!

    Lis @ The reader lines

  12. Hmm. This sounds interesting, so I think I'll give it a shot. But like you, I totally don't understand her friends mentality-- it's not contagious at all! Or embarrassing, in my opinion. Of course, I'll be rooting for the romance. Awesome review! :D

  13. It's so weird seeming my name mentioned so much xD! Also that a lot's in spanish... 'cause I'm Mexican... I just can't help but think that this book was about me xD!

    Great Review! Sarah Ockler is one of my favorite authors, and yeah, her books can be a bit slow sometimes, but in the end I think they're very rewarding :)

  14. I've heard great things about her other books but Twenty Boy Summer sounded sad so I've put it off since I don't like to read too many sad books. This also sounds so sad that her dad has Alzheimers. It can be very difficult for a family to adjust. It is nice that Jude helps her dad finish the motorcycle and of course she will fall for the Vargas brother. I'll be giving this a try when I'm in the mood for a little gloom.