Contemporary Young Adult
Available May 21st
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss
THE STORY (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.
Both poignant and funny, with a focus on relationships both familial and romantic, The Book of Broken Hearts pleases on a variety of levels, giving us a taste of reality without any added drama for effect. What we get when we crack the spine of this book is a glimpse at life – a glorious collage of good moments and bad, heartfelt conversations and witty banter, and old doors closing as new ones open wide to beckon Jude through. There's plenty of pain as well as many a scene between her and her father that make us tear up even though we know Jude would despise our sympathy, but never once does Ms. Ockler heighten tensions or toss in layers of drama unnecessary to Jude's journey just to play on our emotions, instead every minute with Jude is one we value, and one that's a vital piece of the Hernandez puzzle we long to see in all its stunning completeness.
Jude delights with her sass from the very first page, an internal monologue in which she questions the intelligence of wearing her current wedgie-causing shorts in an attempt to give off a biker chick vibe immediately causing a grin to paint our faces, something we'll soon learn is a common occurrence throughout. While her ability to make us laugh comes smoothly and easily, her very real fear for her father's worsening condition as his Alzheimer's rapidly progresses echoes in her every smile, and we can't help but long to wrap our arms around her and squeeze tight. She handles her father's less lucid moments beautifully, hating and cursing his disease but loving him through it, and basking in the moments when the Alzheimer's deigns to return her father to her.
One of the highlights of Jude's character is her lack of judgement, the painful past of two of her sisters leading to the vilification of the entire Vargas clan, but despite that history she opens herself up to Emilio and decides to trust him with things she doesn't even share with her own family. She's not one to keep secrets from him or hold on to her anger when they have an argument, and thankfully Emilio is much the same way, both of them communicating to the best of their ability instead of bottling up all their emotions and simply waiting to pop. Their romance is definitely of the slow burn variety, and their sweet, simple moments together are made all the more significant given the seriousness of Jude's father's condition, his episodes bringing clarity to both them and us as to how important it is to accept and appreciate the brevity of life.
Though we don't get to know Emilio quite as well as we might like, this story as a whole is a highly enjoyable one with a strong emphasis on family, something that is all too rare in young adult fiction. Ms. Ockler has a gift for writing quirky, hilarious young women, and Jude is absolutely no exception, making us giggle-snort in a most undignified manner even as we wipe away a tear the chapter after. A dog with what can only be described as a bunny fixation, a Holy Trinity of older sisters, and a sexy, motorycle-building love interest solidify this read as a one-sit wonder, easily devoured in just a few hours.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review. I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.