Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts
Goodreads Summary: When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author ofBittersweet 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 / Barnes and Noble

Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 352
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library

First Line: "The law of probability dictates that with three older sisters, a girl shall inherit at leave one pair of cute shorts that actually fit."

Favorite Quote: "Sometimes, a sigh was all the fight you had left."


By this time, it seems like I've seen a ton of novels by this author floating around the reading community. I have to be in a certain mood to truly get into contemporary, so honestly I can't just drive right into stuff like this all the time. I decided to take the plunge recently, though, because I've heard a lot of good things and Ockler's newest release sounded the most appealing to me (I've always loved that image of two book pages making a heart, and it looks really pretty with the orange flower). I can't say my expectations were particularly high despite the good reviews; I'm not really sure why. After finishing, I decided that it was cute and I enjoyed it, but I'm not completely sure it was that memorable for me personally.

My favorite aspect of The Book of Broken Hearts was the humor interjected in it, mostly by the main character, Jude. She often cracks jokes, my favorites being the times she imagines a little Devil-Jude trying to persuade her into doing something she knows she probably shouldn't. It's said in the end that she focuses too much on the past, though, and for the most part I had to agree. She often reflects on the oath that she made with her sisters back when she was younger to never, ever get involved with a Vargas boy. The reader gets to see that entire scene because there's an in-depth flashback about exactly what went on. And it was pretty much what you'd expect of a serious oath - candles, promises and yes, cutting. I understood to an extent why Jude would think twice about being with Emilio Vargas, the love interest of the story, since her sister was engaged to his brother and it ended in heartbreak. But if I was her, I don't think I would have put nearly as much stock in the oath. After all, Jude was only eleven or twelve at the time and didn't really understand what she as agreeing to.

She also deludes herself into thinking that if she can just fix up her Papi's old motorcycle, his illness will vanish and things will be the way they once were. I have a much harder time begrudging Jude for this; mostly I just felt pity for her, because deep down inside I think she knew that no matter what she did it wouldn't make her old Papi come back. Despite Jude's faults, though, overall she was pretty easy to relate to and I liked her. I especially sympathized with her when she began to notice that her friendship with both Zoe and Christina were gradually slipping away after years of being together. I can definitely understand the slow deterioration of a relationship, but there wasn't much she could have done about it. I really appreciated how loyal she was to her family in their time of hardships despite the affect it was having on her social life and other aspects of it. Emilio was just as sweet and funny as I expected him to be when we're first introduced to him. From the first moment Jude mentioned a scar on his stomach, I suspected a story behind it and I wasn't surprised to find that it was connected with how secretive he was at times. I liked the slow development between him and Jude, but honestly I did get a little impatient for them to kiss somewhere in the middle of the book.

I don't have any experience with Alzheimer's; thankfully, it has never touched my life. Yet, it broke my heart to read about what the disease does to someone's mind. Truthfully, I've never really stopped to think about it. I knew that it made people forget a lot of things, but reading about it happening is different altogether. I could see what an awesome person Papi was when he wasn't having one of his episodes, and I was sad for him most of the time. I really liked the interactions between Jude and her sisters. Though they didn't agree on everything, you could tell that they loved each other, and their Spanish roots only gave them more personality. Mari is the only one around most of the time, but towards the end when they all come together. The ending was sweet and satisfying; Jude learns a valuable life lesson and she has her not-so-evil Vargas boy. As I mentioned before, I really liked it and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up something else by Sarah Ockler because obviously her writing is lovely, but it did take me a while to finish this. It might have just been that other books I was currently reading held my attention more; really, though, who knows?

3.5 stars 

Books in this series:

Other Opinions: 

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
Into The Hall Of Books

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