Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss.
The Book of Broken Hearts
Blurb (from Goodreads):
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 by Sarah Ockler

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Book of Broken Hearts(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss.)
18-year-old Jude is all set to go off to college after her final summer at home, but it’s not the last summer her and her friends had been planning on.
Although her father is only fifty two-years-old, he’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and needs constant supervision. Jude is the only daughter left at home, with her three older sisters already having flown the nest, and it’s up to her to look after her father while her mother is at work.

Although he can’t remember how to get home from where he used to work, one thing Jude’s father is still passionate about is his old motorbike ‘Valentina’, which has been in storage for years. Jude knows that getting the bike restored and working again will be something for her father to focus on and look forward to, and she thinks it’s just the thing to distract him from the awful disease that is robbing him of both his memories and his future.

The only problem is that the mechanic they have hired to restore the bike is a Vargas, and one of Jude’s older sisters was betrayed by a Vargas boy just weeks before their wedding. All the Hernandez girls made an oath to steer clear of Vargas boys after two of them ended up broken-hearted, but Jude can’t help but fall for the cute and flirty Emilio Vargas.
What will her sister’s say when they discover who is restoring the bike? What does the future hold in store for Jude and Emilio? And what does Jude’s fathers diagnosis mean for both him and his family?

This was an entertaining young adult contemporary romance novel, with a serious side too.

I have to say that from the blurb I had no idea how much of this book would be about Jude and her family, rather than Jude and Emilio.
Jude and her family actually had quite a lot to deal with when it came to her father’s illness. His symptoms were rapidly escalating, and Jude was quickly becoming a full-time babysitter. This was really difficult for Jude, partly because she had no idea how bad her father would be from day-to-day, and partly because it was so difficult to see how quickly her father was deteriorating right in front of her very eyes.
This seemed to be quite a realistic, gritty portrayal of the real-life day-to-day problems of coping with a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, which was an interesting insight, and added an extra dimension to the story. Jude couldn’t just go running off with whoever she wanted whenever she pleased, because she had her father to think about. This meant that a lot of Jude’s friends had almost given up on her, and her social life was seriously bombing.

The romance between Jude and Emilio almost took a back seat to the story of Jude and her father, although I liked how the two stories were interwoven, and how Emilio reacted to the sensitive topic of Jude’s father’s illness, and his sometimes strange behaviour. I really liked how he tried to support Jude, and how understanding he was of the situation that she was in. This was really important for Jude, because despite his illness, she loved her father, and if Emilio hadn’t been so supportive, she probably wouldn’t have given him a chance.

I did like both Jude and Emilio in this story, and I liked how the ‘book of broken hearts’ was eventually woven into the story as a book that Jude’s older sisters had written about their past heartbreaks in. I did think that it was quite difficult for Jude though seeing as she was a lot younger than her three sisters, and had the added responsibility of looking after her father. It seemed that Jude’s older sisters were much closer to each other than to Jude, because Jude was so much younger than them growing up, and she was almost overlooked when her older sisters starting planning things without her. I really felt sorry for Jude in that respect, because even though she was the one looking after her father on a day-to-day basis, her sisters almost treated her life she was still a baby and her opinion didn’t matter.

The storyline overall felt very real – life isn’t a fairy-tale, and I liked how this fact was used to inspire Jude to live her life now, and to not put off things that she wanted to do. I also liked how Emilio told her that there were no do-overs in life, and that even with all the problems that Jude and her family had to face, the ending was still mostly happy.
Overall; a young adult contemporary romance, with some realistic storylines, and inspiring ideas.
7 out of 10.

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  1. Yay so glad that you enjoyed this too Sarah, I loved how much Ockler managed to pack into this book. I can't wait to read more of her books soon!

  2. Some interesting premises here, glad you liked it

    great review
    Le' Grande Codex

  3. I love when a book feels realistic, and I think I would like Jude's story

  4. Not really my things but I'm happy you liked it.

  5. I agree with you -- I wasn't expecting this story to be so serious and sad. But I'm a big fan of this author and can't wait to read her next book.

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics