Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
In short: a great story, amazing characters, and sure to leave you feeling heartbroken. I mean, it says so in the title. What did you expect?
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.
This book was incredible, really. The Book of Broken Hearts follows Jude, youngest of four daughters, in her summer after high school. Contrary to what the blurb would have you think, it’s not just about Jude and Emilio—Jude’s father has early onset Alzheimer’s, and the book also follows her struggles with that. Being the only daughter at home, Jude’s constantly looking for ways to help her father, until the day she finds something that’s sure to be perfect—her dad’s old motorbike from his days as a biker in Argentina. Jude decides to spend her summer helping restore the bike—and in a twist of fate, the mechanic they hire is a notorious Vargas brother. Emilio’s older brothers Miguel and Johnny broke the hearts of two of Jude’s older sisters, and Jude is sworn by blood (no, really) to stay away from them. In the middle of her family’s problems, fraying friendships, and neck-deep denial about Emilio, Jude’s story is a real gem in YA contemporary, checking off all the right boxes.
Now, what I really like about this book is…everything.
I loved Jude. I loved the insight into the youngest sibling life, I loved her bond with her family, I loved the way she thinks about her dog—Jude made me laugh out loud. The more I read, the more I liked her. I liked how she didn’t mature unrealistically, that she was slow to move out from her sisters’ thumbs, because that makes a lot more sense—she was never really stifled by them until she thought about it. She’s a very real character, and that was amazing. Also, she says the best things ever:
“When you’re ready to graduate from a boy to a man, you call me.”
“How about I call when you’re ready to graduate from a boy to a man?”
Also, can I just say I loved how the author doesn’t overdo the whole immigrant thing? I’m eternally grateful for that. At the same time, it isn’t underdone either, and we do get a good few glimpses into her culture. It’s done in a way that’s not awkward at all, and I really liked that.
And then there’s Emilio. Argh. Again, like most things in this book, he wasn’t too overdone as the bad boy heartbreaker—he was spot-on, with his motorbike and his dimples oh holy moley his dimples.
It seems this is going to be one of those books that renders me incoherent. It’s one of those books that’s written by someone instantly recognisable as a great writer, because Sarah Ockler definitely knew what she was doing with this. Oh, just read it, I’m rambling.
All in all, it was a really wonderful read, it made me cry (although I am a big baby, this will probably make you cry too) and laugh and gave me Feelings. I’m so glad I came across The Book of Broken Hearts, and I’ll certainly check out Sarah Ockler’s other books!
Last review of the year! Yay! My first book for next year will be Matthew Reilly’s The Tournament (squee!), and my last book for this year will be Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Hope everyone has a wonderful 2014!