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book of broken heartsWhat: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Who: N/A

When: March 23rd 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by the author for review.

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.

4cats2To be honest, The Book of Broken Hearts is not the kind of book I usually pick up. But when I read the blurb, and had heard such good things about The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, I wanted to give it a try.

When I was reading The Book of Broken Hearts, I posted an update that said “I have a feeling that Sarah Ockler is going to become my fave contemporary YA writer.” And I absolutely believe it. From the moment I started The Book of Broken Hearts, I knew that I was going to enjoy it.

There is something about Sarah Ockler books (and I’m talking generally here because I have a feeling I will adore all of her books) that is just so achingly real. The characters are real, what they’re going through is real, how they react to the things in their life is real. It doesn’t feel like reading a book about a snippet of a character’s life. It feels like this character is a real person who has sat down with you to tell you about this time in their life when X happened and Y happened, and it made them feel Z. I absolutely love books that have that extra dose of realness, and The Book of Broken Hearts did not fail me in that aspect.

The Book of Broken Hearts is not a fluffy book, and I think that needs to be said before anyone goes off reading it expecting it to be. Jude is in a hard place, trying to come to terms with her father’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s, and how that will change him, and the relationship she has with him. God, I felt so much for Jude in this novel. She is so young, and wants to do right by her father, and she is doing such a good job. She never treats him like a child, or an invalid. She treats him like he is her father, and that’s exactly who he is.

Jude believes that fixing her father’s old motorcycle will somehow stop his memory loss and bring him back. Her belief in this is so strong, and even though I knew that it was impossible, I wanted it to work for her. I wanted it to work because she wanted it to work. She wanted to have the rest of her life with her father – the father that knows her, that takes care of her. And to know that this project wouldn’t bring him back was endlessly sad. But even though it didn’t work in the way that Jude wanted it to, it still brought her father so much happiness. He relived his bikie days, and shared things with her that she had never known before. He was happier when he was working on the bike, and Jude was given a summer of getting to know a different version of her father.

To help with the motorcycle rebuilding, Jude and her father hire Emilio Vargas – who just so happens to be the brother of two boys who broke the hearts of two of Jude’s sisters. Because of this, they all swore off the Vargas boys, because they were bound to break your heart. I really liked Emilio. I felt like he treated Jude’s father with such respect and patience and kindness, and I was just like: yes, this is how you should treat everyone (unlike Jude’s “friends” who were so awful, and that’s all I’m going to say because they don’t deserve review time). Jude was super conflicted about falling for Emilio because of the oath she made with her sisters in childhood. This was probably the only thing I didn’t love about The Book of Broken Hearts. I just wanted Jude to realise that the oath was something the sisters did to make themselves feel better about their heartbreak. I couldn’t believe that she tried to run away from her feelings for Emilio because of it. Her sisters should want her to be happy, should get to know Emilio for who he is, should support Jude.

The Book of Broken Hearts was a novel that I really and thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot wait to read the rest of Sarah Ockler’s books!

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: death and injuries via motorcycle accident, and parent with early onset alzheimer’s  in this novel

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Posted on: July 1, 2016 • By: Chiara

16 Responses to A Real and Heartfelt Contemporary: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

  1. Tasya says:

    This is sounds amazing! When I first read the summary, I thought it’s similar with Perfect Chemistry. But then I read your review and find out it’s so much more. Even when reading your review, my heart really go out for Jude. At least even though it doesn’t go as Jude wants, the project makes her father happy :) Lovely review, Chiara!❤

    • Chiara says:

      It is, Tasya! Jude is definitely a character that makes you feel for her, and even though nothing magical happened, it was great that her father was happy when working on the bike, and that they had time together over the summer. Thank you! <3

  2. Prima says:

    I absolutely loved Ockler’s The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, it was just perfect! She has the right balance between family, friends and romance and it sounds from your review that this book has it too. Will have to check this out soon :D

  3. Yayy. I am so happy that you liked this. I loved reading this one and like you said it’s not a fluffy book, but this powerful story of family and love.
    Thanks for the review.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you liked this one, as well! I never expected it to be so hard hitting, but I think that is what made it special, in the end.

      No problem!

  4. This book sounds like it is an emotional rollercoaster dealing with some hard hitting subjects of a father with a disease. Poor Jude, I’m glad to hear that she spent some quality time with him. Lovely review Chiara!

  5. I do like a good YA Contemporary novel. I haven’t read anything by Ockler yet, so I need too! Thanks for sharing.


    • Chiara says:

      It was REALLY good, Lauren! And I don’t often adore contemporaries. I think you should read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – it is absolutely delightful. No problem :D

  6. Valerie says:

    I absolutely love Sarah Ockler so I am NOT surprised that this was good (though I have ONLY read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids hahah). Also this definitely sounds like a heartbreaking read, especially with Jude’s father’s memory loss. I love and hate reading about memory loss, mostly because it always makes me cry.

    • Chiara says:

      You definitely need to read this one, too, Valerie! It is absolutely lovely and heartbreaking. There were moments when I felt so incredibly sad, but I rarely cry in books, so that might have affected it. Overall it was incredibly feelsy, though.

  7. Romi says:

    Ooohhhhhh. So I just wrote up my review for Made You Up the other day (You heard about the process. You know these things.) and I mention the fact that probably only 2 or 3 times a year do I find a contemporary that really shines for me, and the rest tend to be disappointing. I know I’m super keen for Summer of Chasing Mermaids, particularly, after your GORGEOUS review and all the points you liked about it and LITTLE MERMAID HELLO, but you also make me want to add this one, even though I wouldn’t have expected to find it enjoyable if I’d read the blurb. But it is well known that you, Chiara, are magic when it comes to reviewing. You can convince me to add mostly anything, even the CREEPY STUFF. If I hadn’t read it already, you’d have gotten me to read Mara Dyer. For sure.

    I really, really love the idea of the emotion in this, the fact that Jude believes fixing the bike will help her dad even though it can’t possibly. Her belief sounds a little bit heartbreaking, and just so visceral- I can feel a little of it myself, as you write about it, and that is some intense emotion. And the whole thing with her not allowing herself to fall in love with Emilio is such an intresting concept, because it plays on siblinghood and trust and making promises that are maybe more important to you than anyone else. And I’d probably have been yelling for Jude to see the right side of things, but I also kinda like the fact she kept to her promise. Initially.

    Lovely review, sweetie!

    • Chiara says:

      I am the same! Especially for cishet contemporaries, which I rarely read nowadays. I didn’t think I would enjoy this one so much, but it was just so incredibly real, and gorgeous on a lot of levels. I really cannot wait for you to read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids because it is divine. MWAHAHAHA. :D

      Jude needing and wanting to fix her dad is so incredibly sad, and I just wished the entire time that there was a way it could happen. The promise aspect was super interesting, because it played on how important family can be, but I also wanted her to realise that she was 12 when she made that promise, and that her sisters should never hold it against her when she is actually in love with someone.

      Thank you, lovely <3

  8. Shannelle C. says:

    You know I loved TSoCM to infinity and beyond, and I was so happy to find this book in the bookstore. It’s funny how we both read the same Sarah Ockler books in the same order! Anyway, once I reached the end, my heart was full and I just loved it. I totally felt that depth that her books carry in this one, and I found myself really feeling like Jude was a friend or sister of mine. Basically, Sarah Ockler is contemporary magic for me.

    • Chiara says:

      We should totally pick which one to read next so we still follow the same pattern XD Ah, this book was just so GOOD, and so very feelsy. Sarah Ockler really knows how to write heartfelt contemporaries, and it’s amazing.

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