Friday, July 4, 2014

[Book Review] The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Library


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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler is so much more than just a love story. It’s a story about family and friendship and all different kinds of heartbreak, not just the romantic kind. Based just on the title and the summary I was kind of unsure going into the book, but after reading just one page I knew I was going to like it. I loved the characters, especially Jude, and how I could relate to them on a fundamental level. I loved the sweet romance between Jude and Emilio. Most of all, I loved the family aspect of the book. This is a book I want to permanently add to my collection and read again and again.

After reading The Book of Broken Hearts, I finally internalized the message behind the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. As a Latina woman, I don’t often find books with characters that shared my background and I have grown too comfortable with this fact. I realized this when I found how easily I could connect to Jude and her family and her life. Everything from the way she calls her dad “papi” and her family dynamics and even the Alzheimer’s struck so close to home. The real kicker was that one of the characters had my name. With a name like Lourdes, that’s pretty hard to find, and I’ve only encountered it maybe twice in all of the books I’ve read. I listened to the book as an audiobook and it was downright strange to hear my name said so many times not referring to me – but I loved it. Paired with such a great story I couldn’t help but love this book. We need more diverse books like this out in the world so that everyone can find that connection they didn't even know existed.

The Book of Broken Hearts deals with a lot of tough topics that aren’t generally found in YA fiction. Personally, I could really relate to Jude and her family having to deal with her father’s early onset Alzheimer’s. I went through the same thing with my grandmother and I know how difficult it is. It’s not an easy subject to broach but the way Ockler approached and handled it turned out beautifully. She made it so that the reader could understand what was going on without feeling too overwhelmed but at the same time she never glossed over the hard parts. This is just another way this book delves into the diverse lives people experience every day.

Of course let’s not forget about the love story between the two star-crossed lovers Jude and Emilio. I loved reading their romance but for me, their love story was there to strengthen the story of the familial bond Jude has with her family. The way their story is presented is always in the context of Jude’s love for her family. And in my opinion that’s what made it so unique and special and close to my heart.

If you enjoyed My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, I would recommend picking up The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. Both book share themes of familial love, mistrusted “boys-next-door”, and tough situations. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. Everything from the characters to plot to the relationships, both romantic and familial, made this book amazing.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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