Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler


The Book of Broken Hearts
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 21st 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars


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.



The Book of Broken Hearts sounded like a light, fun, maybe a little bit angsty romance, and it was that. But there was depth to this story as well.  It was a story of family love and heartbreak.

Jude Hernandez is spending her last summer at home before going off to college with her parents.  After her father is dealt a crushing diagnosis, Jude plans on spending as much time as possible with her Papi rebuilding his vintage motorcycle. What she doesn’t count on is Emilio Vargas being the mechanic.  You see, the Vargas boys have an infamous history with the Hernandez girls of breaking their hearts.  The last break was so painful that all sisters made an oath in blood (no kidding!) to stay far away from any Vargas male.  I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear “forbidden male” my ears perk up!

Jude is the youngest of four sisters.  She was a happy accident, born eight years after the youngest. So she’s basically alone with her mother in dealing with her father’s illness, and the everyday complications.  It’s crushing Jude to witness her father lose bit by bit of his memories, and she feels responsible to halt the progression.  Her idea to rebuild the bike is so heartily embraced by her Papi, that she ignores the fact that it’s a Vargas boy at her house everyday helping. 

I really felt for Jude.  Being all of seventeen and having to deal with a sick parent is devastating.  At that age life and possibilities feel unending, so having mortality shoved in your face is shocking.  It makes you realize just how fragile life really is. 

Rebuilding the bike is Jude’s way of trying to solve the unsolvable.  If that means having to suffer Emilio’s devastatingly handsome face complete with dimples, well that’s a burden she’s willing to bear!  The heartbreak suffered by her sisters happened so long ago.  Should Emilio suffer for the sins and betrayals of his older brothers?  Especially when he is so sweet and understanding about her father?

The Book of Broken Hearts deals with a serious and heartbreaking situation in a realistic, but hopeful and humorous way.  Sarah Ockler has a way with words and her smart and witty humor lightens this story up and yet this is still a touching read.  The friendship and romance between Jude and Emilio slowly developed and left you zinging from the sparks of chemistry coming off the pages:

“Your heart’s pounding like mad,” he whispered.  Fingers brushed my collarbone, tapped gently. Babom. Babom.”
I swallowed and held his gaze. His breath fell against my skin, soft as a breeze, and my lips could already taste him.*

My heart was pounding as I read that, too!

My only complaint with this read is that I felt it could’ve been shortened, especially the flashbacks with the sisters.  I found myself skimming through some of these bits.  But other than that, The Book of Broken Hearts was a satisfying and sweet romance; a tale of hearts broken not just by boys, but by family love, too. 

*Quote taken from an uncorrected proof an may change in the final copy.



23 comments:

  1. I completely agree with you, I think I even mentioned it on my review that the book could have been shortened.. seems like all books nowadays are so much bigger than they should. Something else that I got annoyed at is the overuse of spanish words without putting a footnote of the actual meaning.. I had to keep on googling the phrases to understand what went on!

    Great review!
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. Same here, Juhina! I had my Google Translate app throughout the read! Thanks. :)

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  2. The family love and heartbreak sounds great. I need to check this one out

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  3. My co-blogger Glass is really interested in this book. She told me about it. Well I though it was just too light for my choice but I see I was wrong. I totally agree with Juhina and you Rachel it seems like most of the books are longer than they should be these days. Great review :)

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  4. Lovely review, Rach - I'm glad you enjoyed this, I've been looking forward to it ;) Poor Jude, that would be a horrible time for a teenager but I'm intrigued by the forbidden boy!

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  5. I have this one to read and I can't wait to dive into it. It seems like my kind of read with its depth, so hopefully I won't find the book too long because that usually does take away from a book at times. Lovely review, Rachel!(:

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  6. I haven't read any of Sarah's books but I've been hearing nothing but praises. I really like it when authors successfully add a touch of humor to depressing situations.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

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  7. I just finished this last night! I also liked this book because of the romancea and family drama mixture, but there were things I was nitpicking at. Thankfully, I knew all the Spanish words. Otherwise, I would be very annoyed. Great review, Rachel! :)

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  8. I loved Sarah Ockler's Bittersweet so I'm really excited to get into this book, Rachel. I have it for review, but you got me so excited that I just want to dive into it right away. It looks like my kind of book. Jude seems to have a lot on her shoulders and I absolutely love the sound of Emilio. He sounds like sweet and swoony-worthy love interest. It's also great that this book isn't just a romance but it also deals with family issues. Lovely review, Rachel!

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  9. I haven't read anything by Ockler but I think I am going to need to change that. That quote! Wow. The whole blood oath thing sounds kind of cheesy but I am happy that it totally worked for the story. I was born 9 years after my brother so I think I would be able to relate to the girl a lot. Great review!

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  10. I'm really glad you enjoyed this one aside from the flashbacks Rachel, I just loved it. I felt for Jude almost instantly, especially that scene in the convenient store when her dad starts to meltdown about the feminine hygiene products? I was basically tearing up for her, I can't even imagine having to deal with something so serious at such a young age. Oh and that quote? *dies* There were definitely some swoon-worthy moments in this book! Outstanding review:)

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  11. Great review, Rachel. I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the few shortcomings. I'm looking forward to reading it. :)

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  12. I was so tempted to get this one, but I am running out of space. It sounds like much more than a light and fluffy read. The dad's illness I am sure is heartbreaking, hopefully the romance eases the heartache!

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  13. I have this to read! I thought it looked good! Looking forward to reading it even more now :)

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  14. I think I can understand why Jude would choose to rebuild a bike to cope with her family situation. Thanks for sharing your favorite quote - I felt my skin tingled when I read it :)

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  15. Oh I can't resist when it comes to forbidden romances or boys who are off-limits. You know I'd react the same way there. ;) I'm really glad you liked this one overall! Flashbacks don't always work for me either, so I can understand why that might have dampened the story a little. On the whole, though, it sounds like it is definitely worth a read. :) Wonderful review, Rachel!

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  16. Oh, I don't know Spanish and it'll really suck if I had to have a translator app in hand. Still, I think it's a really cute contemporary and I'll definitely give it a try. Plus, that cover is adorable.
    Great review, Rachel!

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  17. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!

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  18. great review. I have had my eye on this book for a while!

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  19. I like Sarah's books and how they always seem to deal with family love and heartbreak as well as the romantic kind. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, it's been added to my wishlist! :)

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  20. Love forbidden guys too in books, even if they are not my favorite type of romantic duo currently. Love the way you said "ear's perk up"

    I really liked Ockler's writing in Bittersweet, glad the writing is good in this book too! And that it explores family relationships affecting younger siblings.

    Splendid review Rachel!

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  21. Too bad you didn't love this one, the synopsis sounds really good!

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    1. I did actually love a lot of this. I did have minor issues but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book overall. I'm anxious to read my next Sarah Ockler! I read Bittersweet and loved that one. :)

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