The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler
Published: 5-21-2013 by Simon Pulse
Get the book: Amazon,The Book Depository

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.


Design – Jessica Handelman       Photo – Steve Gardner

This is a nice looking cover, but it does scream ‘girl book.’ I like the heart made out of book pages and the pop of the orange flower – it’s really eye-catching. The book and flower are related to the story, but not in a way that is immediately recognizable. The title font is a bit too girly for my taste, although I do like the all lowercase and the way the lines run off the sides.

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The Book of Broken Hearts is extremely well-written, emotional, and complex. This is a multi-layered contemporary story that reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel. Jude is dealing with a lot during the summer, between her father’s disease, her controlling older sisters, and falling for the one guy she shouldn’t like. This story is sweet, layered, and realistic.

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  • family – Most YA novels tend to ignore the main character’s family, unless they are the main source of conflict. This story has everything to do with Jude’s family as she tries to be patient while caring for her father and tries to get her opinion heard among sisters with loud opinions. Everyone in Jude’s family has a different reaction to Papi’s disease and a different way of coping with it. While this story is still mainly about Jude, we see her family as Papi’s disease chips away at their sense of security. Jude has a lot of family stuff to deal with between Papi, her mom, and her pushy sisters.
  • Emilio – Emilio comes off as an arrogant jerk at first, whose idea of flirting is just making suggestive comments. As he works on Papi’s bike, Emilio reveals the person he really is to Jude. He’s hard-working, dedicated, and caring. Emilio has his own difficulties and he doesn’t bring Jude’s problems up. Instead, he focuses on the motorcycle and becomes a good friend at a time when Jude really needs one. There’s no shortage of chemistry or teasing between the two of them, and Jude sees how unfair it was to conclude that all Vargas boys are jerks.
  • Jude – Jude is often embarrassed by her father’s random outbursts, but she tries, in her own way, to help Papi reconnect. She dishes it right back to the mechanics who think she can’t understand their comments about her just because they’re speaking Spanish, and she can definitely hold her own with Emilio. She doesn’t melt when he calls her princesa, and doesn’t stare when he takes off his shirt, although she definitely notices. Jude’s determined to help with the bike, learn as much as she can about it, and see her Papi ride it again.

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  • sisters – When Mariposa comes home to help with Papi, she immediately takes over everything. She acts like Jude’s opinions – about Papi, about the motorcycle, and about Emilio – don’t matter simply because Jude is the youngest sister. Mariposa acts like all three of Jude’s older sisters – like both Jude and Papi need a babysitter in order to control their actions because they can’t be trusted to make their own choices. Jude feels like she has the most important opinion on Papi and his cycle because she’s the one spending all her time with both, yet her sisters try to sweep all control of the situation away from her.
  • Vargas oath – The very idea of banning interaction with an entire family based on the actions of two of its members is shaky at best. The girls took the oath the night one of them was dumped by her Vargas fiance, and was originally to make her feel better. The oath has turned into another way for Jude’s older sisters to control her. there’s no way to judge someone based on the actions of someone else, even their family.

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I wanted to spill it. I wanted to tell them that Emilio, more than any of my old friends, continued to show up when he said he would. He listened when I felt like talking, didn’t push when I wanted to stop. He showed me stuff about motorcycles and made sure I understood what he and Papi were doing. He didn’t freak out at Papi’s episodes, and he didn’t treat him like a kid in need of a babysitter.

– pg. 175

My sisters got the good stuff first. All I had of their precious moments were imprints, shadows of the real thing cobbled together from the faded scraps of their reminiscing, bits and pieces that changed each time in the telling.

Like so many things in my life, the best memories of my father were a legacy, passed down to me like their hand-me-down clothes and toys and the Vargas oath.

– pg. 249

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4 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)


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