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.