Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Source: Purchased

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.

My Review

After I finished reading this stunning novel by Sarah Ockler, I had tears in my eyes because she knows just how to tug at readers' heartstrings. This time, Ms. Ockler did it by writing about something I am all too familiar with, a disease that took a loved one from me - Alzheimer's.

In The Book of Broken Hearts , Jude Hernandez, the youngest Hernandez sister, decides to spend her last summer before going to college with her father. Everyone in the family knows he is not doing well, but Jude thinks that helping him fix his beloved Harley will bring his memories back to him. She realizes that they will need help, and the two end up hiring a young man named Emilio Vargas. The only problem with Emilio is that Jude made an oath that she would never get involved with a Vargas boy. You see... Jude's older sisters all had their hearts broken by the older Vargas brothers! Uh oh!

When it comes to writing about such a terrible and all too common disease, Ockler nails it. Reading what Jude goes through really reminded me of what it's like to lose a family member to Alzheimer's or dementia. Jude knows that her dad is physically with her, but his memories fade in and out. He wanders. He forgets how to use things. He is fading quickly, and she really believes that she can slow the progress of the disease by fixing the motorcycle because he can recall memories of riding it in South America. It's a heartbreaking cycle for many family members of patients with the disease; find something to help them remember, and they'll come back. I was astounded by how well Ockler writes about what Jude goes through. It's a very realistic take on what many people deal with every day.

In the book, Jude loses friends, and gains new friends. The people she thought she could count on don't know how to help her because of their unfamiliarity with Alzheimer's. This part of the novel is extremely realistic, and I really appreciate Ockler's inclusion of it. People who don't know how to handle something like Alzheimer's become scared. They don't know what to say or do to console their friends, and they often try to avoid the subject. Then Emilio comes in and helps the Hernandez family without judging them, even with all the past history between the two families.

This book has everything that you'd want in a contemporary Young Adult novel. It's a book about family. It's a book about sisterhood. It's a book about friendship. There are silly oaths in the book. Jude grows up, so it's even a coming of age story. It's a book about finding yourself. It's a book about finding love. Most importantly, it's a book about learning how to live.

I thought the book was practically perfect, and I would recommend this to anyone who has ever seen what Alzheimer's or dementia can do to a person.
I'd also recommend this book to fans of romance and realistic fiction.


  1. I ought to check out this book after your amazing review :) I shall add it to my TBR list!

    By the way, I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award and you can check out the post here:

    Have a nice day, Tanya x

    1. Awe. Thank you! It's a really great book. :)

      And thanks for the nomination! :D


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