Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts

The Book of Broken Hearts
Sarah Ockler
May 21, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
352 pages
Reviewed: Hardcover from library
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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

The Book of Broken Hearts is the second book I've read by Sarah Ockler, the first being Twenty Boy Summer. For me, Twenty Boy Summer set the bar pretty high. I loved that book, for one reason or another, so I expected more from this one than I got.

Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad book. But for a teen romance novel, I found the love story lacking. There wasn't much of a buildup between Jude and Emilio; they kind of just went from strangers to being in forbidden love, and that was that. I did like how he called her princesa, that was cute. I thought their relationship was nice enough, but it was nothing to squeal over. 

One thing this book did accomplish, however, was giving a new meaning to family. I don't have any siblings, but it was clear that Jude, Mari, Celi, and Lourdes were together through thick and thin. I tried to imagine either one of my parents developing Alzheimer's, and it made my heart ache. My great-aunt currently has dementia, and it's hard to even think about that. I hate goodbyes to begin with, and "the long goodbye" would tear me to pieces. I never really had a good sense of how serious it could get. That you could forget the name of your own daughter. Forget how to get home from work. Forget your favorite flavor of ice cream. But remember every little detail of a day thirty years ago. It left Jude constantly wondering who would be the next person to fade away. That really made me think. I loved how in the end, Jude had to stay faithful to her dad instead of doing the fun things in her life. That turned out to make the real difference.

Also, I just want to note how much this book made me crave empanadas. In all seriousness, they mention some kind of Latin food practically every other page. Medialunas, dulce de leache...I can't even handle it. 

Anyway, for some reason I felt like this book was a really really really light read. For a book about what it was about, I read it surprisingly quickly. A lot of the material seemed superficial, like a filler or something. Maybe it was just my lax schedule or something, but I think I generally would've liked more to pore over. Nothing really ever left me gasping, and I usually find the gasp points to be spots where I take a break, so I just kept reading, waiting for a gasp that didn't come. I was entertained, but I wasn't enthralled.

If I'd seen this book in a store, I probably would've bought it. The cover is adorable, but it made me think it was mostly about Emilio and Jude's loves story, when towards the end, I was rooting against Emilio. It's because of the day. I loved Papi. Now that I've read it, I'd say get it at the library first and see if you liked it well enough to buy it. Bittersweet is still going on my TBR list.

3.5 stars

PS. Props for the Millie reference. See if you can spot it :)

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