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The Book of Broken Hearts

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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.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published May 21, 2013

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About the author

Sarah Ockler

8 books2,333 followers
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and Twenty Boy Summer. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls' Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens' Top Ten and NPR's Top 100 Teen Books.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in New York City, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website at sarahockler.com or find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,017 reviews
Profile Image for Jude.
199 reviews637 followers
Want to read
August 8, 2013

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(second update)


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Okay so.. I don't want to sound dumb in assuming I 'inspired' that name But I did e-mail Sarah Ockler when I was 16 telling her I was a HUGE fan and that my real last name is Hernandez.

It's just... too much coincidence o_o

I feel special... even if I'm being ridiculous. I AM SPECIAL!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! :D

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(first update)



Jude is actually a girl! *tear*

Oooooh Yes, that is me, right there in that summary :D

Nope -don't have sisters or a dad that's into motorcycles, but I will be more than happy to meet a Vargas, just give them to me :3

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Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,363 followers
March 14, 2014
Stories about Alzheimer's disease are so heartbreaking. It's such an evil, merciless disease that you can rarely see coming or do anything to stop it. When it hits so young like Jude's father, it's even more of a shock. Yes this is an emotional read, but it's also full of happy moments, romance, and hope.

The Book of Broken Hearts is both an emotional foray into the effects of Alzheimer's on a family, as well as a sweet love story. After her father is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, all Jude wants to do is help him remember his happiest days. She's hoping against all hope that fixing up his Harley will fix everything and bring him back. Finding someone to fix it on time and affordably is a challenge, though, so she can't refuse when a Vargas offers, even though she made a pact with her sisters to stay away from that family. A family that has broken two of her sisters' hearts.

This gives us a sort of forbidden love story where Jude finds herself falling for Emilio, but the pact and her sisters warnings are making her wary. The pact did annoy me just a tad. I felt like her reasons for not giving him a chance were cowardly. It's unfair that he has to pay for his brothers' messes, but mostly I felt she was using the pact as an excuse to not put herself out there. On the other hand, I do see where she was coming from. Her family is very close-knit and already dealing with a tragic disease, not wanting to chance more heartache on top of that is understandable. Nevertheless, a romance does bloom and it's sweet and fun and charged with insecurities stemming from both her conscience and that of new-found love. I appreciated how gradual it progressed, with them slowly opening up to each other. It also balanced the more emotional parts of the story perfectly, while never outright taking over.

With a large family on top of a few additional side characters, there are quite a few faces that we meet throughout. That being said, it impressed me how three dimensional they all were. We get backgrounds for almost all characters that cements their personalities and allows us to understand their motives. I also quite enjoyed the audiobook which was narrated perfectly with authentic accents that really brought them all to life. In addition to character development, the relationships between characters - especially the family dynamics - are full of heart.

Even though it has some heavy emotional content at times, I found it to be an overall refreshing and positive story. It's about learning to live in the moment; to not dwell on how things were, but to make the best of the hand you are dealt. It's the kind of book that can easily be recommended to just about anyone.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,826 reviews836 followers
May 3, 2013
3.5 Stars

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.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof an may change in the final copy.

A copy was provided by Simon Pulse through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find this review and more at The Readers Den.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
July 13, 2020
4.5 stars

It hit too close to home. Whenever I encounter one of Jude’s dad’s breakdowns, I am transported to the time my dad had a mild stroke three years ago and for two weeks he had difficulty in speech and confused simple terms like “hat” became “soap”. I was completely heartbroken even though my dad was already 70 at that time and those were only temporary symptoms. He recovered quickly.

I could not imagine how devastating it must be for Jude to have a father who seems vibrant and healthy in the outside when inside, his Alzheimer’s is slowly eating away his memories making him act weird or “crazy” in the eyes of the public. Dang this little book. I didn’t know it was going to be an emotional read. I thought it was just another YA cutesy romance because look at that cover.

Ms. Sarah Ockler is really good at combining heartbreaking and romantic in her stories. I remember how it was kind of the same with Twenty Boy Summer. At the surface, her stories seem simple and common, but as you read on, they tell something very profound that I seem to connect with the characters and their experiences on a primal level.
The romance aspect is also interesting and quite funny. How all Jude’s sisters forced her to make an oath to never allow a Vargas boy in their lives because two of them broke the hearts of two of her sisters and that should have been enough. But as the line on the cover says, “desire follows no rule” so, of course, Jude inevitably falls for Emilio Vargas. Can’t blame the girl, guy is quite adorable. Even her parents like him.

There is no happy ending with this treacherous disease for sure but the author wrote a decent, very acceptable conclusion to the story that consoled my heart very well.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews739 followers
May 21, 2013
This is the third book which I have devoured by Ockler and I have to say her books just keep getting better and better. The Book of Broken Hearts was everything I’d expected and so much more. It was a novel which seemed to focus on one story, but incorporated so many different aspects that could appeal to every reader.

Jude and her sisters Mari and Celi and Lourdes had taken on an oath to stay away from the Vargas brothers. After two of Jude’s sisters had been left heartbroken, it was agreed that no good would come by spending time with them. Five years later Jude is pushed to decide what’s important to her; she and her dad hire a mechanic to fix her dad’s motorcycle, it’s been his dream for 30 years to ride his beloved Valentina one more time. But the only mechanic with the time to get her fixed up by the summer is none other than Emilio Vargas. Jude knows she must stay away from him; she has a promise to keep to her sisters. But those cute dimples and rugged smile is slowly sneaking its way to her heart and every time Emilio gets closer to finishing the Valentina it’s the happiest she’s seen her dad in a long time. What’s a girl like Jude to do?

Staying away from Emilio Vargas wasn’t as straight forward as everyone expected it to be. Jude’s dad was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, it was a tough time on the entire Hernandez family, but most of all on Jude, who had spent her last summer before she went off to college looking after him. Her dad could quickly go from knowing who he was to losing his cool over a supposed wrong order of ice-cream. It could take a lot to calm him back, and so Jude was quick to realise that the only thing which could keep him happy and content was focusing on the end goal of fixing the Valentina.

I absolutely loved The Book of Broken Hearts; it was a story full with underlying themes of heartache, loyalty and about making the right choice. Jude wanted to remain loyal to her sisters, she wanted to take care of her dad and not send him to a home, and she also wanted to be with Emilio. The sweet build up of the relationship between Emilio and Jude was one of the best ones that I have come across in a long time. Emilio was quick to show that he was in no way like his brothers; he was honest, caring and completely understanding of Jude’s situation. He wasn’t quick to judge like Jude’s friends, but gave Jude the time and space she needed. I eagerly anticipated their scenes in the barn when he was fixing Valentina; they were full of banter, charm and pulse racing scenes. Ockler had the romance nailed, never have I wanted a couple to be together than I did with Jude and Emilio. But there were so many hurdles in the way.

Jude was a character I admired; at 17 she had so much responsibility on her shoulders. By looking after her dad she had no time for friends (which I didn’t like by the way) and no time to enjoy her summer. I hated how if anything did go wrong she felt she had to shoulder the entire guilt, because of this I felt she totally deserved time to have fun with Emilio. But I liked how it had been ingrained within her not to trust a Vargas, but she decided to make her own judgements, which at the end of the day helped her tons, as she could always share the burden of what she had to go through with Emilio, who was always around to lend a sympathetic shoulder.

Family played an integral part to The Book of Broken Hearts and I enjoyed how Ockler was able to bring both the individual family members of the Hernandez family out so strongly but also show how well they worked together as a family. Each of the Hernandez sisters had their own individual voice, which was good as I dislike it when a story focuses in on a family, but it becomes hugely difficult to distinguish between the characters. This was not a problem in The Book of Broken Hearts, each sister had their own defining characteristics and we were able to differentiate them as they had their own story. Jude’s sisters and parents made solid secondary characters with each bringing something unique and special to the story. My only minor gripe is that we got to find out about why Miguel Vargas broke Lourdes heart, but no proper detail about what happened with Celi and Johnny Vargas. I think I was really keen to know as their relationship had progressed further than anyone else and it was the final straw which led to the oath being suggested amongst the sisters.

The Book of Broken Hearts is full with deep beautiful passages representing just how important family can be. It was also littered with some really heartbreaking scenes, and some which had me melting into a pile of mush. I also liked how Ockler incorporated a couple of references which poked fun at how readers fall for paranormal beings such as vampires and the overwhelming love triangles. These cute references were quick to bring a smile to my face.

I honestly can’t praise The Book of Broken Hearts enough; it has so much to offer with Ockler managing to pack so much awesomeness into a 368 page book. I’m not usually one of those readers who recommend books, but if I could recommend just one book that you should read this year, it would be The Book of Broken Hearts.
Profile Image for Trish Doller.
Author 11 books1,822 followers
February 1, 2013
When I first started I wasn't sure how I felt about Jude, but the longer I read, the more I loved her. I loved her family. I loved Emilio. This was just what I needed when I needed it and....SIGH.

Edited to add: And then I slept on it and when I woke up this morning I bumped it to five stars because it's really that good.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,161 followers
May 16, 2013
What's left to say about The Book of Broken Hearts? I feel as if all of Ockler's fans have already nit-picked this book apart and proved that it's perfect in every way that counts - and they're right. And yet, while I know for a fact that The Book of Broken Hearts is Ockler's best book by far, I enjoyed Bittersweet much more and there remains that slight troubling fact that there is always something about an Ockler novel that prevents me from giving it a full five stars. Which, admittedly, isn't a big deal but makes me feel really upset anyway.

Anyway, long story short, The Book of Broken Hearts is nothing short of incredible. Jude is spending the summer with her father, whose brain is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimer's. And yet, despite his declining memory, Jude's father remembers every moment spent on his motorcycle with a startling clarity. Inspired by her father's enthusiasm for his old bike and yearning to chase away his dark condition, Jude hires a mechanic to fix up her father's bike - and hopefully fix him in the process. Only, the mechanic winds up being Emilio Vargas, the younger brother of the two boys who broke the hearts of two of her three older sisters. Ever since Jude could remember, the Vargas boys have been off-limits and although Jude tells herself that Emilio is only around to help fix her father's bike, the charm of a Vargas boy is not lost on her. Jude intended to soak up the sun with her father this summer, but her father's condition may be far worse than she thought and before long, the condition of her own heart may be the worse for wear too.

The Book of Broken Hearts has a lot to love, but perhaps my primary reason for falling head-over-heels for this book is the very fact that Sarah Ockler explored the life of an immigrant family. One of the best aspects of this, though, is that it is never over-done. Instead, Jude's heritage feels natural and the brief glimpses into a past in Central America and the struggle of learning English in a new country is enough to cement the diversity this novel provides. Furthermore, Ockler perfectly proves the utter inevitability of morphing friendships. Jude is going through a difficult time in her life, but that doesn't always mean that the rest of her life doesn't change. While she is focused on her father, her friends grow and change into different people just as she does, and this is so beautifully conveyed through Ockler's writing. I seem to be constantly on the look out for books that push the boundaries of YA and deliver more, so I am thrilled that The Book of Broken Hearts satisfies my thirsts.

And yet, despite its originality, this book never breaks away from the standard necessities of any strong novel. For one, this novel is just heart-breaking. I guess that is only to be expected from the title, but I found myself surprised by the depth of emotion that was conveyed through small scenes as Jude watched her father slowly lose his memory. Moreover, the strong bond between these four sisters is even more bittersweet in a way. For one, Jude feels helpless as the youngest. In fact, she calls her three older sisters The Holy Trinity and obviously feels divided from them and their wisdom. Not only has she always heeded the advice of her older sisters, but for the first time, she feels as if their advice may not be the right course. Emilio is nothing like his heart-breaker older brothers and to push away his sincerity because of his family seems ridiculous to Jude - and rightly so. And yet, despite that evident conclusion, truly breaking away from her role as the baby sister and embracing a greater role of independence is difficult for Jude, which makes her journey all the more poignant. With The Book of Broken Hearts, Ockler truly strips away so many pillar-like foundations that Jude holds onto - her father's memory, her mother's dependability, the wisdom of her older sisters - and forces Jude to find herself amidst the confusion in her life. And this, this I love.

Emilio Vargas, however, is what I suspect most readers will love the most. While the swoon-worthy hero of Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere is notorious for his eyelashes (Bat. Bat. Bat.), Emilio will undoubtedly become notorious for those knee-weakening dimples. Wink. Wink. Although Emilio and I got off to a rough start, mostly because his teasing can come across as arrogant at times, he is easily one of the sweetest and most understanding male protagonists I've met. Ockler steers clear of the ridiculous "forbidden romance" route with this one and allows Emilio to prove himself worthy of Jude, which wins her over completely. Not only is her immensely caring of her father and her situation in life, but he never gives up on her either. And although I craved for more of a back story with Emilio, for more of his problems and his musings, and often even wondered why he found Jude so appealing when he himself was so perfect and patient and far too good for her, I did enjoy their romance immensely.

Nevertheless, I found that despite the fact that Jude was a dynamic character, there remained a palpable distance. I couldn't always understand her on the level I wanted to and while I did really like her, at other times I felt as if her growth was almost prolonged in parts. Now, that's not to say that the plot of this story suffered - because it didn't - but it did feel as if the same idea needed to be repeated so many times before Jude understood what she needed to do with her life. Which is realistic, guaranteed, but this wasn't written in a way that truly enabled me to understand Jude. Additionally, a lot of this story is told in flashbacks, which both worked and didn't. For the most part, this transition was seamless but in some areas, it was wholly unnecessary. In my opinion, to end off a chapter with an event and begin the next one the next day and go back and recount what happened in the previous night's event is a little excessive. Still, despite these qualms, The Book of Broken Hearts is a solid read. Although I suspect Bittersweet is still my favorite of Ockler's work - not to mention the most light-hearted too - there is no denying that Ockler has grown immensely and her next novel promises to be even better than this one.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews995 followers
April 30, 2013
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

It's difficult to resist the siren song of an as-yet-unread contemporary author, isn't it? For the most part, I tend to dip into those waters with caution. Sometimes I make out like gangbusters. And others I wind up feeling as though I was force-fed treacle, or that I was curiously emptied while reading the book rather than filled. I tell myself it's worth it, though, to find those gems that make your blood pump and the tips of your fingers tingle. I tell myself it's worth the racing anticipation and the occasional deep disappointment. And it is. Even if an author's entire bibliography doesn't work for you. It's worth it if that one, perfect match does. Cause then you get to hold onto it for the rest of your reading life, and pull it out and revisit those characters and that place and those moments whenever you need them. All of which is a rather long winded way of explaining how I found myself giving Sarah Ockler a try for the first time. I wasn't too drawn by her previous titles, but the well-nigh universal love for her latest, THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS, persuaded me it was time to dip my toes in those waters again.

Jude Hernandez has spent her entire life living in the wake of her three older sisters. Now that they've all gone the way of the wind, pursuing their own lives across the country, Jude feels it's only fair she have her turn. After all, she just graduated from high school. She has one single, solitary summer before it's off to college and more buckling down. She's always been the good girl, following her sisters' advice to the letter, certainly never getting tangled up with a Vargas boy the way two of her three older sibs did. That road only leads to ruin, they told her, in the voice of bitter, bitter experience. But it isn't to be. The easy, breezy summer or the surviving her teenage years Vargas-free. Because this summer is going to be dedicated to helping her sick dad. And the way Jude sees it, that means restoring his old vintage Harley. The one he rode when he was a carefree young man back in Argentina. The one that's been sitting in their storage unit collecting dust and grime for decades. And so she does her research. And she takes her dad down to the local mechanic shop in search of a man who can do the job. What she gets is Emilio Vargas. The youngest of the Vargas clan, and the last boy she wants to see during this summer of lost chances and long goodbyes. But the more time she spends with Emilio, the less like his older brothers he seems. As much as it makes her cringe to think it, Emilio might be different.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I finished THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS mystified as to its appeal. I finished it feeling the same way I've felt finishing every Sarah Dessen book I've ever read. Which is to say, I read the last word, I close the book, and I think to myself, that's . . . it? I wanted to like it so much, to be swept away for a couple of hours in the lives of two kids struggling under more weight than their shoulders are ready to hold. And since this is my first Ockler book, I was sort of hoping to find a fresh, new (to me) voice in contemporary YA. Unfortunately, it felt as though she was simply checking off the boxes on a list of standard YA contemporary tropes. Hot boy? Check. Drama geek heroine? Check. Shallow best friends who are allergic to real family issues? Check. Dismayingly indistinguishable older siblings? Check. Heartwarming life lessons learned amid personal tragedy? Check, check, check. If the writing had been something special, things might have been different. If the secondary characterization had been more layered and compelling, things might have been different. And, yeah, Jude's relationship with her father is wrenching and touching and every other thing it should be. But the impact failed to land because I saw it all coming fifty miles back, you know? There was very little in the way of something new here, the realizations she came to lessened for lack of a deeper treatment. This may be a case of supreme mismatch between book and reader, as I have yet to see a sub-stellar review. So make of that what you will. As for me, I can't say as I'd recommend it. But if you're in the mood for contemporaries with some meat on their bones, allow me to steer you in the direction of Deb Caletti, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Kirsty Eagar. And, of course, if you require a good swoon, Stephanie Perkins and Huntley Fitzpatrick have got your back.
Profile Image for Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books).
495 reviews344 followers
February 26, 2014
I. Love. Sarah. Ockler. You should too!

Jude is spending her last summer home before leaving for college bonding with her dad... and taking care of him. He's sick and getting worse by the day. She gets the great idea to have his 1961 Harley restored hoping to get him to reconnect with his past and to keep him grounded for a little while longer. The mechanic that they can afford turns out to be totally crush-worthy... and a Vargas. Vargas is a dirty world in the Hernandez house, with 2 of the brothers leaving 2 of Jude's older sisters completely heartbroken. Jude even took an oath when she was younger to never under any circumstance canoodle with a Vargas. Yet here she is falling for Emilio. At first she convinces herself that her sister's will never know. None of them even live within driving distance. And plus her father's health is more important than some stupid oath.

As the summer wears on Emilio starts to grow on her. It doesn't help that all her friends have abandoned her, leaving Emilio the only one who really seems to care. Then her father takes a turn for the worse bringing "The Holy Trinity" (her 3 older sisters) rushing home. Her closely guarded Vargas secret is about to blow up.

My Thoughts:
I can't believe I am just now reading this book!! Sarah Ockler is one of my absolute favorite authors ever and this book has completely cemented that. This book is about a bunch of things that really don't interest me at all. Forbidden love that you know is going to happen anyway, motorcycles, supposed bad boys. Blah. None of that stuff made me excited to read this book. But then I started reading and I just couldn't stop. Sarah Ockler could write about snails and I would probably get hooked on that too. There's just something about her storytelling and writing that is completely amazing and unique. Every single one of her main characters have HUGE major flaws and I still end up loving them so hard. I always feel like I can feel what her characters feel in a really powerful way.

Now about this book specifically- I loved the family feel in this book. It really was about family and how everyone fits and works together even though they aren't all physically living together. Reading about the father's illness was truly heartbreaking. I don't know if telling you what the actual illness is would be spoilery... so I'll just go ahead and say it's not cancer and I've never read another YA book about it. I loved that with Jude being the youngest of 4 girls, she felt like she didn't really have the closest relationship to her father, but that throughout the course of the summer they truly built an amazing one. And she was even reminded of things about their past that she had maybe overlooked and it made her think differently about that relationship. The sibling relationships were also a major great thing in this book. Of course you had the one who took charge, and the nurturing one, and with Jude being so much younger she usually ended up being overtaken by the older ones. It was nice seeing her find her identity within the family and finding her voice.

Jude herself was great. She was willing to sacrifice her social life, her relationships with her best friends, anything just to try and save her dad. It was so unselfish for a 18-year-old. I also found her to be so funny and snarky at times... a great, relate-able main character that felt like she could be your new best friend.
The relationship was just okay to me. I felt like the guy was super sweet and nice and cute and all those good things... but I wasn't wowed by him. He came off really cocky at first, and maybe that's why later on when he became serious, I didn't fully ever trust him. Also I felt like it was pretty obvious that the oath wasn't going to stop her from liking him or being with him, so it really wasn't my favorite part of the book. I don't want you to think it wasn't a cute romance, because it was. Just when comparing it to some of my other favorite book couples, they don't hold up as high.

This book definitely should not be overlooked. It is a truly touching look at a family dealing with a debilitating illness. It was refreshing to read about siblings and family and love the way this book portrayed it and I totally can't recommend this one enough. I definitely teared up by the end because Sarah Ockler, you are awesome!

OVERALL: If you like books about family and want a cute romance on top of it, this is your book. You can never go wrong with Sarah Ockler's amazing writing and ability to make you fall in love with her characters. I will always read every book she writes, forever... and you should too!

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Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews377 followers
June 3, 2013
Straight up: I love how Ockler writes her protagonists. This is her fourth book, and each protagonists has been entirely individual with a distinct voice and unique vibe.

The Book of Broken Hearts is about family, especially Jude's relationship with her dad whom she loves so dearly. It is also about falling in love. And about living in the moment. None of this comes easy to Jude.

This book is so much I love about contemporary YA. It has the unputdownable sucked-into-a-story vibe. It has little unique elements that breathe life into the book (the history of the sisters, Jude's father's history), it has a love interest who is not only hot (and often shirtless ;)) but has his own back story and it is so easy to imagine him as the star of his own story, not just as the guy created to be the love interest for Jude. It has such an effortless narration: breezy -- the pages just fly by, and funny -- Jude has spunk and wicked little splashes of humour that lighten some heavy moments.

There is so much comfort in falling into a book where the author know where she is headed and she takes the reader there confidently. I am, first and foremost and always, a contemporary YA loving girl, and, for me, Ockler embraces everything I love about the genre. Her characters slowly bleed onto the page. her settings come alive, she brings the swoon (so much so) and she celebrates life and hope in the midst of hardships. I am all about that.

I so wholeheartedly recommend this book. I loved the time I spent with it, and it's one I will be revisiting for sure (while waiting for another Ockler book ;))
589 reviews1,031 followers
December 15, 2014
I actually thought that this was going to be a light fluffy read but I was wrong. Sure, there were light and funny moments that had me cracking up, but at heart, an incredibly deep novel that touched me.
Profile Image for Zemira Warner.
1,569 reviews1,037 followers
May 30, 2013
Love, love, love this book! It was unputdownable from the first page, up to the last. Sarah Ockler is one of those YA contemporary authors who actually writes books with normal characters mostly dealing with ordinary family problems. They are just like us and that's the reason it's so easy for me to relate to one or two of them.

You can tell a lot about an author from the way they shape their characters. They can be determined, perky, sarcastic, brave, loyal, witty, modest, independent and so on. I think that some of the authors share pieces of themselves in their novels so even if I started reading a book without the cover I would know who wrote it. And that is what it's all about! Readers recognizing your writing style and setting your work apart from the rest.

I think I need to point out that this blurb is not entirely correct. First of, the romance part of the book is talking up around %30 of the book while the part where Jude helps her father who's suffering from Alzheimer's, takes the rest 70%. Not that I didn't mind. The love interest, Emilio is in the story right from the start but catching his eye wasn't the priority back then.

So, this is a story about Jude, a high-school graduate who's spending her last summer as a kid looking after her dad, who's recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She's trying to cheer him up by restoring his old bike so they hire a mechanic to fix it. Complications start after Jude realizes the guy fixing Valentina (the bike's name) is non other than one of the infamous Vargas brothers. Vargas Bros. broke hearts of her two older sisters so Jude is trying to push Emilio away only this time, Emilio is apparently so not like the rest of Vargas pack. He makes Jude question her loyalty to her family and but it takes more than a guy with dimples to get under her skin. She did try to stay away from him but their connection was just evident.

This book was brilliant. This is my favorite Ockler book, so far. If you're looking for a book with normal teenage character without too much drama, to brighten up your day I suggest you pick The Book of Broken Hearts up! Now!

What a brilliant last chapter. It made me cry. So touching. It was almost as if I was there with them. I can't wait to read Ockler's next book. Why does it need to come out next year? Ugh! S&S peeps need to give this lady a better contract, where she will be a slave, writing books all day long so we can enjoy every few month and not have to wait a whole year for another taste. Am I right?
Profile Image for Anna.
371 reviews475 followers
March 24, 2013
Twenty Boy Summer was “gut-wrenching to read, but beautifully done.” Bittersweet was “delightful.” So clearly I was already a fan going into this one. But, guys, I have to say: The Book of Broken Hearts is Sarah Ockler’s best book yet.

The family dynamics are beautiful, Jude's strength and growth is powerful and her relationship with Emilio -- gah! You are going to fall straight in love.

Full review to come on AnnaReads.com.
Profile Image for Kace | The Booknerd .
1,256 reviews57 followers
September 30, 2022

I can’t believe I didn’t read this book sooner! It’s been sitting on my reader since last year. It honestly had me from the start, which is very unusual for me with contemporary books or more like YA books… but I couldn’t stop with this one. I did not want to stop. I was captivated by the story until its last stinky page. The Book of Broken Hearts is a perfect blend of sweet, heartwarming, with a dash of heartache and a whole lot of sweet, tender moments. Plus, the characters were well-written and well-developed. And, considering this is my first read by Sarah Ockler, I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book!I won’t go into the story's whole summary because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet. Let me tell you what I love about this book instead. 


Jude is one of the reasons why I love this book. I couldn’t help but adore her right from the start. I don’t know, but there’s something about her that makes her perfectly easy to relate to, even though you may not have experienced the same thing she did. She never annoyed me, and let’s face it, that’s pretty damn near impossible these days with contemporary heroines (and Harlequin heroines). 

Then there’s Emilio… At first, I thought he would be another player or heartbreaker just like his older brothers, but I was pleasantly surprised that there was so much more substance to him. Yes, he’s oozing with charm and knows how to flirt like nobody’s business, but he's also dependable, sweet, a good friend, and a great son; he’s caring with a heart of gold, who proved to be a real sweetheart. I just loved the way the author unraveled his character. 

Then there were the secondary characters—Jude’s sister, her father, Emilio’s family—who didn’t feel secondary to me at all! I love every one of them! These dynamic characters add even more flavor and depth to the story. 


The relationship between June and Emilio is... ugh! Both of them are all kinds of adorable together. I appreciate the slow build the author gave to their attraction. I loved watching their romance grow as they each evolved themselves. They make me feel warm and happy inside.
"Your heart’s pounding like mad," he whispered. Fingers bushed, my collarbone tapped gently. “Baboom. Baboom.”
I swallowed and held his gaze. His breath fell against my skin, soft as a breeze, and my lips could already taste him.


But what made me love this book so much was Jude’s relationship with her family. It’s my favorite part of the book, especially Jude’s relationship with her Papi. And it broke my heart to see his mind slowly succumbing to that disease and Jude’s attempt to help and connect with his father. Ms. Ockler delved into the ups and downs of having a sick parent and how it totally affects the whole family. Hats off to the author for writing one of the most painful yet moving stories I’ve read this year. (Well, it's just my third read, so... yeah).

I wholeheartedly loved The Book of Broken Hearts . It was a great mix of heartwarming romance, humor, sweet tender moments, and family life… and the author managed to weave it all together effortlessly. She writes so beautifully, so eloquently that every page is a beautiful experience that is simply unforgettable. Like I’ve said, this is my first read by the author, and I’m really, really looking forward to reading more from her!



Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,336 followers
May 18, 2013
Sarah Ockler is one of the few truly brilliant YA contemporary authors out there. I fell in love with her magical writing in Bittersweet and I knew that she would not disappoint with The Book of Broken Hearts. This was a book that was perfect in every sense. Not only was the reader showered with a romance that made me extremely possessive of the love interest, but also a story about a family struggling with a disease that caused a lump to be present in my throat throughout those scenes.

The characters in The Book of Broken Hearts were beautifully written. Vivid and dynamic, this is a cast of characters that will stay with me for a long time. We have the protagonist of the novel, Jude, a a high school graduate spending her summer taking care of her Papi who is suffering from Alzheimer's. I adored Jude as a main character. Her love and care for her dad was definitely one of the focal points of this book and I love how the author truly shed light on that aspect. Too often, we have characters in YA who have parents that are MIA, so it's refreshing when the parents themselves play a big role in the development of the main character. Jude was an incredibly brave girl and she had a lot on her shoulders. The reader could see that dealing with her sick father was not an easy task but she did whatever it took to make her dad feel better because she shared a really strong bond with him. When he kept losing his memories, it killed Jude a little on the inside, but she put on a brave face no matter what the situation. Being the youngest girl in her family, Jude did let her elder sisters, especially Mari, push her around, but yet again she never said anything out of love and trust for her sister. If you would find that an annoying trait in a main character, then rest assured that she learns to stand up for herself and her happiness as the story progresses. Over the course of the book, Jude really grew on me and I formed an emotional connection with her. By the end of the book, I felt like I completely knew Jude as a friend.

Emilio, the love interest, had me at his first dimpled smile aimed at Jude. His flirtatious nature totally made me swoon. I loved that he was such a witty and refreshing character. He brought about a lot of humor to this otherwise deep book. He would say the absolute perfect things and I honestly really loved him. He might be my favorite Sarah Ockler love interest as of now. He had an uncanny ability to drive me nuts and make me swoon within the same scene. But behind all those layers of flirty attitude, Emilio was going through his own pain as well, but he never allowed his suffering to the surface. Sweet, supportive and charming, Emilio made me fall in love with him as he did with Jude. Jude's family was a lively , energetic and completely crazy one, like all families. I loved learning about each and everyone of these characters through Jude's eyes. It was crystal clear to the readers that they meant a lot to Jude and the love that existed between was palpable throughout the scenes.

The romance in this book was written to the perfection. Because of a blood oath (yes, with actual blood involved), Jude was forbidden to ever cast a glance at a Vargas boy because of the heartbreak her sisters have suffered from them. The element of the forbidden romance actually added some excitement to the already fabulous romance. The relationship between Jude and Emilio was sweet, touching and had my heart fluttering. It was the kind of romance that developed at a slow, realistic pace. Together with Jude, the reader also falls in love with Emilio. Sarah Ockler kept the tension between the two characters rising by every single scene and when the two of them finally give in to their love for each, it was sweet and satisfying.

Despite the romance being one of the focal points of this book, it was also mostly about Jude dealing with her father's Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is one of the worst disease that anyone could ever suffer from. Losing your memories is almost like losing part of yourself. It's also a disease that takes a toll on your loved ones. Jude truly suffered in this book when her dad kept forgetting things and she really wanted things to get back to normal. It was especially hard for her because this was her father and he was quite young to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The Book of Broken Hearts explored the complexities and troubles that this disease brings into a home blooming with love and I think the author nailed it with the emotions and feelings of the characters.

The Book of Broken Hearts was a deep, poignant and emotional book that had me almost crying. The beautiful characters, the touching romance and the heartwarming portrayal of a family fighting Alzheimer's made this book worth more than 5 stars. Ladies and gentlemen, Sarah Ockler has just become one of my favorite YA contemporary authors!
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
August 4, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Oh my gosh, this book is so sweet! I absolutely LOVED this book - hence the 5 star-rating! Contemporary novels have been really good this year, but this one blew me away. The romance was sweet, the plot was up and down, and the characters were so well-written! I wanted to hug this book several times, especially after finishing it. And the writing in general was superb! Ms. Ockler has a firm control of her writing style, and it is near flawless. Not once was there language or dialogue that seemed out of place.

I love how well Ms. Ockler writes her characters. Jude is such a nice and lovable heroine. I knew I would like her right from the start. She does not take a lot of risks, or lives outside of the box, but she has good reason not to. I suppose that was her development throughout the book - to progressively learn to take chances. Especially in the form of Emilio Vargas.

Emilio is so well-written as well. He is the love interest, but he is also the mechanic who is fixing Jude's father's old motorcycle. Emilio is patient and kind, nonjudgmental and eager to help. He is nothing like his older male family members. All of the prejudices that Jude's older sisters held against the Vargas men did not apply to Emilio Vargas, something that took the entire book for those sisters to realize.

Jude's father is one of the primary characters in the story, even though he is a static character. He is the reason behind many of Jude's decisions, especially the decision to hire Emilio to fix the motorcycle. I wish that Jude could have let go a little, and let her father be, but Jude's stubbornness made her who she is.

The plot is based around Jude's father and his condition, and loosely around the motorcycle. I loved discovering more about Jude, Emilio, the Vargas family, and Jude's father. Sometimes the story was so sad, and other times, I couldn't stop laughing.

The romance in this book is so sweet. I feel like I can't stop using that word - sweet. But the romance is especially so! It's a slow romance, building quietly but surely as the book, and Jude, progresses. When Emilio and Jude finally kiss, I feel like the scene was slightly rushed, because the romance was slow, so the kiss should have been slow. But I loved that scene, and the aftermath.

The ending is bittersweet AND amazing at the same time. It feels like a good ending in terms of closure for Jude, as well as a fitting ending for Jude and her fence around life. It's a happy ending, with several sad twists. I'm satisfied with the ending though.

What I Did Not Like:

Erm... there wasn't much that I didn't like. The first kiss scene that I mentioned above - about it being rushed, in comparison to the slow-build romance. That was probably the only thing that really stuck out to me.

Would I Recommend It:

TOTALLY! If I give a book five stars... then, in my opinion, it HAS to be good. I don't just hand out five stars! But seriously, this book is great. A wonderful contemporary romance novel that I think anyone can and will enjoy!


5 stars. I am really impressed by Ms. Ockler! This was my first novel that I have read by her, so I will definitely be looking up her other ones!
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,380 reviews233 followers
May 25, 2020
The synopsis for this book does this story no justice. Yes, there was the whole Vargas boys heartbreaker history in there, but for me, the real story was about Jude connecting with her father, coming to terms with his illness, and finding her voice.

It all started with Jude wanting to do something special for her father. She wanted to restore his beloved motorcycle hoping that it would help him hold on to some of the memories from his past. She wanted to do this for him, because his early onset Alzheimer's was progressing faster than they had anticipated. Emilio was the mechanic they found to help with the restoration, but he was also a Vargas, and therefore, off limits. However, Emilio was not simply their mechanic, he became a source of support for Jude, as her father's illness progressed, and a very important person in her life.

This book was such a beautiful combination of many different elements. First, there was a sweet and endearing romance between Jude and Emilio. They had chemistry, and could banter for days, but Emilio worked his way into my heart by not being scared off by Jude's dad's illness. When all her friends were avoiding her, he was showing up. He helped her, and was a wonder with her dad, when he was experiencing bad episodes.

I also loved seeing Jude and her dad together. Alzheimer's is such a brutal illness, and watching someone fade before your eyes has to be devastating. I felt both Jude's and her dad's pain. It was heartbreaking, but seeing them connect and make the most of the time they had together was worth all the tears I shed.

It was wonderful seeing Jude find her voice in the family. As the youngest, her sisters were often steering the boat. But, with all of them being out of the house, Jude took on a bigger role with her father. She began to assert herself more, make more choices, and her sisters began to see her in a different light.

The title eludes to broken hearts, but hearts aren't only broken due to romantic entanglements. Jude faced coming to terms with fading friends and her father's illness. Both these things broke her heart, in different ways, but also made her stronger.

Overall: I laughed and cried, and had to soothe my aching heart, but I loved every second of it.

Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 5 books656 followers
June 16, 2013
I was a huge fan of Sarah Ockler's before, but now . . . OMGosh!

The Book of Broken Hearts left me totally speechless and dazed. I absolutely fell in love with Jude and Emilio as they came to terms with some very serious issues - love, fear, family and how the early onset of Alzheimer's can strip the memory away from a loved one. Sarah captured the pain of what this horrible disease does to families while intermixing an incredible love story. The Book of Broken Hearts will break and mend your heart at the same time. It'll open your eyes and make you appreciate what is important in life - to live each day the very best that you can. Appreciate what you have in the moment that you live it, cause we all know we don't have a clue what tomorrow will bring.

Things that I loved about this book:
1. Jude's relationship with her father.
2. Harley Davidson motorcycles.
3. Emilio's relationship with his mother.
4. Emilio's insistence that he's his own person and not like his brothers.
5. Jude's struggle to remember that she doesn't have to make her choices based on what her sisters went through with the "older" Vargas brothers.
6.Harley Davidson motorcycles. (Oh yeah, I said that already, but still! They're so damn hot!
7. Jude's relationship with her sisters.
8. The realistic portrayal of Alzheimer's and the real struggles facing those who have the disease and what those who love that person go through.
9. The ending is well . . . just read the whole book!!!!!

This just might be my favorite Sarah Ockler book. Don't miss it. Bravo, Sarah!
Profile Image for ஐ฿υκєτஐ.
738 reviews35 followers
March 20, 2016
Aslında güzel bir vargas serisi çıkarmış bu hikayeden ama yazar duygusal kısmını daha ön plana çıkarıp tek kitapta bitirmiş.Beklediğimden daha güzeldi.Juju arada sinir etsede beni sonunda olayları kabullendi.
Profile Image for Ece..
131 reviews22 followers
December 15, 2015
Çok güzel bir hikayesi vardı. Özellikle karakterleri ayrı bi' beğendim.
Tadı damağımda kalmadı değil. Ufak bir devam okumak isterdim açıkçası.
Profile Image for Heather.
570 reviews
May 2, 2013
* This is an ARC review.
Any excerpts or quotes are taken from an unfinished copy
and may therefore change prior to the final print*

I have been hearing GREAT things about Sarah Ockler's books for some time now. I even own one, Twenty Boy Summer, which I am embarrassed to say is sitting on my shelf as of yet unread. But after zooming through The Book of Broken Hearts you can rest assured that now I GET IT. I see what everyone has been talking about! I loved this book that was the perfect balance of heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Sarah Ockler has found a new fan in me:)

What do I mean about heartwarming and heartbreaking? Well, The Book of Broken Hearts, at least from the synopsis above, sounds like a book all about romance, right? And, HEY. I would have NO problem if it was. I love a good romance in a book. And a romance with a hot, tattooed, motorcycle riding, bonafide bad boy? I am totally on board with THAT. But friends, I am here to tell you that the synopsis is a little misleading. Because in my opinion The Book of Broken Hearts is about a family. It's about love and loyalty between sisters. But more importantly it's about the ties between a daughter and her failing father and the lengths that she will go to to make what remains of his life a happy one.

That sounds all deep and depressing (which is maybe why the marketing people decided to focus on the swoony romance in the book synopsis) but somehow Sarah Ockler makes it NOT. Not all gloomy and doomy and weepy heartbreak. Not that there aren't some moments in this book that choked me up a little, because there were. But they do not overpower the book at all. And there is PUH-LENTY of Emilio Vargas swoon in the interim to balance it all out.

It's the summer after high school and Jude Hernandez is in the midst of a BIG project. Jude and her father (Papi), who at 52 is battling early onset Alzheimers, are hoping to restore his vintage Harley (who her Papi affectionately named Valentina.) You see, Papi used to run with a biker gang while living in Argentina. Those days were some of the best of his life (I'm guessing this "gang" was one of the good types, you know, not all Hell's Angels at Monterey or anything;) Jude really, really loves hearing her dad's stories about those early days, now more than ever that his memory is deteriorating from his disease. When Jude and her father end up at a local garage, they are relieved to find a capable, if not young, mechanic willing to take on the restoration over the summer, and for a much better price than the Harley dealership quoted them.

Well, it would be PERFECT if this extremely good looking, flirty, charming mechanic was not Emilio Vargas, as in "THE Vargas brothers" the very ones that are responsible for not one, but TWO, broken hearts in the Hernandez household. The Vargas brothers are featured heavily in Jude's sister's infamous Book of Broken Hearts, a scrapbook of sorts that Jude's three older sisters began to commiserate crushes and love gone awry.

Jude knows that she is breaking an oath to her sisters, an oath to never, ever have ANYTHING to do with a Vargas boy, when she and her father hire Emilio to work on the bike. But here is the thing. Try as she might, Jude can't help but notice that Emilio, for all of his bad boy machismo, is a really GOOD guy. And more importantly, Jude is desperate to get this bike restored for her dad. Not only is it a special project just for the two of them to share, Jude secretly believes that if her dad can have his beloved Valentina back, then maybe, just maybe, he can beat the demons that are stealing his memories. Is breaking an oath with her sisters, and maybe falling in love in the process, worth it if it means saving her dad?

I know that some reviewers have commented that this childhood oath between Jude and her sisters seems like a somewhat weak bond, and that in reality, Jude would never base any decisions on or tear herself up over something as trivial as that. But I disagree. I don't have any sisters, but I can totally understand why Jude would feel so strongly about keeping her word to her sisters. As the youngest of four girls, Jude has always looked up to her older sisters. She's also been trailing in their footsteps her entire life. For Jude it is about that sense of belonging and inclusion. And it's evident in this passage, when Jude at the age of twelve or so is allowed access to the book for the first time following her sister Araceli's broken engagement to Johnny Vargas:

My sisters giggle as Mari pretends to jab us with the pen, but at my turn, I'm deadly serious. My fingers tremble as I sign the page. I still haven't fulfilled most of their "she who looks upon the book" requirements--never had a crush, never saw a dirty movie, never danced naked under the full moon--but tonight they handed it over anyway. It's weighty and cold in my lap, and seeing my name there fills me with a new sense of belonging. I'm a part of them now, memorialized in the book, which Celi finally shuts and slides back under the bed with all the shoes.

And here:

It wasn't our signatures scrawled on the page of this relic of a book, or all the stories of heartbreak it chronicled.

It was the oath itself, the solemn promise that none of us would ever reopen Celi's crippling wounds by falling for the brothers of the boy who nearly destroyed her.
As if to remind me, the pinprick scars in the center of palms ached.

Emilio Vargas. Regardless of whether he disappeared after we'd finished the bike and I never saw him again, regardless of whether Araceli ever knew he's been there...

I broke the oath.

The relationship between Jude and her sisters felt very real and authentic to me. We do get to meet each of them in the book, and each has their own distinct personality and quirks. I love reading books about sister bonds and matriarchal bonds and Ockler's Hernandez sisters were no exception.

The only relationship that eclipsed the sisters, in my opinion, was the relationship between Jude and her dad. Guys this book does not gloss over Papi's illness. There are instances when his confusion turns into meltdowns and those were HARD for me to read. But I am so glad that they were included because it put me the reader front and center in Jude's predicament. It made me FEEL so much for her and her family, and for Papi. I felt proud of Jude for her commitment to the bike restoration, and proud for how good she was at helping her dad, and sad for her because I knew in the end, it won't be enough to save him from his disease.

They say you can never step in the same river twice. And maybe that's how it was for Papi now, memories shifting and reforming soundlessly beneath him while the rest of us sat on the shore and watched.

But the moments that she has with her dad, the lucid moments when they talk, you can feel the all the respect and love they have for each other and it melted my heart. Here, when Jude and he talk about riding bikes:

The skin around Papi's eyes crinkled with emotion. "I'm sorry I never got to take you myself, Juju. When you're young, you think you have so much time, and then life comes and tomorrow turns into tomorrow, and before you know it..." He looked up at me and winked. "Don't listen to this cranky viejito."

Restoring this bike and letting her dad relive his glory days, if only in his mind, is something just for Jude and her dad. A bond and a chance to make new memories that Jude doesn't have to share with her sisters or anyone. And for Jude, that is very important.

I'd been spending my days with Papi, giving up my summer like Mari'd said, but maybe that was the easy part. So far, other than the little meltdowns and confusing moments, our days were mostly filled with laughter and sunshine and the memories he shared from his biker days. I'd been writing them down, tagging all the pictures I'd taken. I was collecting them for him on my computer, curator of his memories.

And then there is Emilio. First, there is the obvious. He rides a bike. He's got tats. He's a BIG flirt. His caramel colored eyes get all crinkly in the corners when he smiles. In other words: Super. Duper. Swoon. But like most bad boys, there is much more to Emilio. Yes, there is that awesome banter between he and Jude that makes you get all tingly and weak in the knees when you read:

"You and your pops were smart to hire me," Emilio said. "I'm really good." He raised his eyebrows in a hopeful arc making him look about five years younger but doing nothing to diminish his charm. He knew it too-- wore that flirty little grin like a badge. "Can't wait to get my hands inside this baby."

"I'm sure." I leaned over the bike and met his gaze, dead on...

"...If you're done congratulating yourself, I need to know how much time we're talking. We don't have all summer."

He pulled back almost imperceptibly, but I noticed the change. Good. Now that he knew he wasn't dealing with some softhearted little damsel, we could get down to business.

But there is so much more to both Jude and Emilio than meets the eye. Jude puts out the image that she's tough and not falling for any of Emilio's games, but thanks to her inner monologue we see her defenses begin to crack.

I nodded vigorously as if that would help the words settle in, and it worked for about ten whole seconds. But in all that rattling, I'd shaken loose an image my mind had captured and stored without permission-- Emilio, winking at me and jumping on the kickstart, the bike roaring beneath him. My treacherous little beast of a heart fluttered.

I took it for what it was: a warning. The heart--in all its infinite wisdom (with some backdoor bribery from the hormones) -- was totally edging in on this Vargas boy situation, and the heart didn't know the meaning of terminado.

This book will undoubtedly be compared to Simone Elkeles' works, not just in the forbidden romance aspect, or the amazing Latino culture and language (and GOD, I love that about this book SO MUCH) but in the similarities between Elkeles' bad boys (Alex Fuentes, I am thinking of YOU!) and Emilio Vargas. Emilio is slick, charming, and a well known heart breaker, but we also see instances of more under that facade, instances where he gets tripped up and a softer, more insecure side of him begins to surface. Emilio may be a tatted-up biker but he is also a really decent guy.

But I remembered our conversation this afternoon, his hands warm in mine, his eyes soft and encouraging, and suddenly it felt unfair. Wrong. My chest tightened. I wanted to spill it. I wanted to tell them that Emilio, more than any of my old friends, continued to show up when he said he would. He listened when I felt like talking, didn't push when I wanted to stop. He showed me stuff about motorcycles and made sure I understood what he and Papi were doing. He didn't freak out at Papi's episodes, and he didn't treat him like a kid in need of a babysitter.

I wanted to tell them how Papi's eyes sparkled whenever Emilio showed up, how Emilio loved to hear about Papi's travels and all the people he met and the miles he covered.

I wanted to tell them how Emilio was becoming a friend, someone I was warned against my whole life but who had taken better care of my heart than anyone I'd ever known.

Guys, it's a really great romance. Sweet and steamy at the same time. You will definitely be cheering Jude and Emilio on. And watch out for page 243, because WOWZA. Hot.

So, I've talked about the engaging plot, I've talked about the wonderful relationships and strong family themes. I've talked about the characters, especially Jude an Emilio and their romance. And I have given some examples of the fabulous writing but really, it IS so amazing, how about just a bit more? It's very often funny, flirty and racy. But it isn't particularly fancy or flowery. It's not what I would call lyrical. But it flows. The conversations felt real and honest. And I loved getting inside Jude's mind. She was not only a sympathetic character and likable, I just loved how she saw the world. And that is due to Ockler's words.

But what if all your memories of a person belonged to someone else?
God, my sisters had so many. I'd heard them, tried them on, borrowed them as my own...

...Even the stories of how my sisters had gotten their names were magical: Lourdes, after Mom's grandmother, who risked her life to fight for women's rights in Argentina. Mariposa, "butterfly", for the bright blue-and-orange butterflies that flooded my parent's garden the week before my sister's birth. Araceli, 'alter of Heaven,' who sent mom into labor on an airplane and was born in an ambulance on the tarmac after an emergency landing. Their names had their own memories, so different from mine, which my sisters loved to tell me was hastily chosen after the first thing Mom had seen after delivery: the doctor's medallion.

Saint Jude, patron saint of lost causes.

My sisters got the good stuff first. All I had of their precious moments were imprints, shadows of the real thing cobbled together from the faded scraps of their reminiscing, bits and pieces that changed each time in the retelling.

Like so many things in my life, the best memories of my father were a legacy, passed down to me like their hand-me-down clothes and toys and the Vargas oath.

And you know, I take back that lyrical comment because some of the writing IS almost like poetry at times:

I was falling in love.
I was losing my father.
With Emilio Vargas.
To smoke and shadow.
My heart fluttered.
My heart aches.
To feel it.
To deny it.

Well, I guess you can tell that I loved this book. Not sure if this is the best of Sarah Ockler's books, but I plan to read all of them and find out because guys, it is pretty darn GREAT. I loved the writing, the characters, the romance, but most of all I loved the strong family themes. So often YA relegates parental and sibling relationships to the background, or tosses them completely from the story. The Book of Broken Hearts serves as an excellent example that yes, you can write a fantastic young adult story with a family as the central focus, and still have plenty of swoony forbidden romance and fun, flirty banter too. Fans of Ockler's books won't want to miss this (and I'm sure they won't because I think they are all pretty diehard) and I encourage all newbie's like me to give this book a read. It is EXCELLENTE :)

Profile Image for Anna.
59 reviews16 followers
April 17, 2017
Wahrscheinlich hätte mir die Geschichte vor 5 Jahren oder so besser gefallen. Aber jetzt war sie einfach nur meh.
Es war in dieser Geschichte kaum Handlung vorhanden. Warum sie sich jetzt nicht in einen Vargas verlieben darf, wurde nicht weiter erklärt, nur das sie es wegen ihren Schwestern nicht darf. Darum dreht sich doch das ganze Buch man. Und dann wird es nicht erklärt. Dann die Schwestern. Die waren mir ja etwas unsymaptisch. Die sind nämlich gegen alles was Jude in diesem Sommer für ihren Vater erarbeitet und geleistet hat. Dann kann ich auch überhaupt nicht Judes Freundinnen verstehen. Jude macht eine schwere Zeit durch und die beiden (die ja angeblich ihre Besten Freundinnen sind) kümmern und melden sich einfach überhaupt nicht bei ihr. Unverständlich.
Das einzig positive an diesem Buch waren der Vater und die ganze Geschichte um den Vater herum und das Ende war dann auch ganz niedlich. Aber sonst war das Buch für mich eine reine Zeitverschwendung. Schade.
2/5 Sternen
Profile Image for Zeynep Sıla Seçkin.
56 reviews3 followers
August 19, 2019
Şimdi... Kitap sevimliydi ve hızlı okumuyordu. Reading Slump içinde kıvranırken iyi geldi. Fakat diğer kız kardeşlerin üzerinde durulması gerekildiğine inanıyorum. Bu kadar yaygara kopardıkları olayların iç yüzü. Belki seri bile olabilirdi. Nedensizce bu çift ayrılabilirmiş gibi hissettim. Kız fazla histerik. Sanki en ufak kıvılcım onları yapabilirmiş gibi. Anlam veremediğim bir uyumsuzluk sezdim. Her nasılsa yine gülümsetti. Kendi kalp kırıklıklarımı merak etmeme sebep oldu.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Zeynep Dilara.
681 reviews
August 18, 2018
Aşırı duygusal jöle zamanıma denk geldiği için çok mutluyum, gülmem gereken yerlere bile anlamsızca ağlamış olmam tamamen benim suçum. Çok güzeldi, çoooooooook. ❤
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
May 23, 2013
Jude Hernandez is on a mission. She needs to find a mechanic that can help her and her Papi restore a 60's vintage motorcycle that her dad use to drive back in his glory days.
But, Jude had no clue that the only young mechanic that can be spared is no other then, Emilio.Freaking.Vargas. Rewind back to a 12 year old Jude, as she watches her sister crumble into pieces. The Vargas brothers strikes again, leaving nothing but endless tears and broken hearts in their path. From that day forward, the four Hernandez sisters decided to make a sacred vow, to never get involved with a Vargas boy again. But surely, a Vargas boy helping her fix their Papi's bike is totally different. It's not like history is repeating itself and she'll fall for him....right?

The Book of Broken Hearts is a wonderful heartwarming and heartbreaking story about a family battling against an incurable disease, finding love where you would least expect it and finding yourself at the same time.
When I'm in the mood for something sentimentally sweet and need a quick light escape to lift me up, I know all I have to do is turn to one of Sarah Ockler's books. She writes some of the most beautiful stories with strong witty characters and an emotional journey that will guarantee to make you smile and pull on your heart strings.

This story-line touched something very deep inside me. I have a very large family and I'm closed to everyone in it. So to watch a family member suffer such a merciless disease like Alzheimer's really tore my heart in two. To be robbed of the one thing that you desperately want till your very last breath...your memories, is such a heartless and evil way to go. Ockler tackles this issue with a lot of respect and dignity.

Jude Hernandez has a big round heart. She spends all of her time making sure everyone is okay around her. She's the doting daughter, the loyal sister, the best friend and even Emilio's princesa. So it's no surprise when she realizes, come the end, that she may be just as lost as her Papi. When your pulled in so many different directions, it's hard to know what you want in your own life and easy to lose yourself somewhere in the middle. Still, Jude's sisters did have good intentions for warning their baby sister off Vargas men and I thought it was kinda precious how protective they are and how Jude actually feels guilty about liking someone that is suppose to be 'off limits if you know what's good for you'. But I'm glad that she listened to her heart in the end. But what I really loved about this character the most was the bond she has with her Papi and how she takes care of him and what she wouldn't give for him to be happy. It's really touching and refreshing to see how much family means to these characters.
But this story also has a very amusing and tender love story. Emilio Vargas has that famous gorgeous bad boy image with an overly confident charm complete with dimples that girls swoon over. I, being one of them. He's the kind of guy your scared to get involved with but even more scared to not take that chance. Emilio is good people and understands all to clearly what it means to lose someone you love. I loved their fun banter, witty zingers and chemistry spark. The relationship isn't rushed, it's starts with a gradual pull that leads to the inevitable, which is just the way I like my love stories.

Bottom line, I really just loved this book. It's a beautiful story that is both emotionally touching but still warm and funny. It captures family unity, sisterly bonds and promises meant to be broken...with no regrets. Ockler got me again!
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews710 followers
April 1, 2013
Two sides. There are two sides to this girl’s story: one more real in emotion than the other. I will be honest though, one side was more emotionally real than the other, but it's that less real part that had me smiling because the aspect driven by questions of loyalty and what now’s, that sad part? Well, it did what it was supposed to and had me feeling for all the sisters then wanting a bit of what they had for their parents, specifically for their father.

Fathers, daughters then sisters. The heart of this book lies in the family, and how Jude copes with changes her father’s going through, then her setting certain goals because him/ for him. It’s sweet the genuine connection she has for him. There’s a true affection that I felt it. I also felt all those other emotions: scared, sad, lost… and even angry. There’s truth to what she was feeling because all those things were understandable reactions to what they were all going through with him. Then there’s the glimpses glimpse into sisters and promises, and age gaps or no, there’s also a connection among them, beyond hand me downs and shared journals. The roles Jude sees them have I could picture it all. (The oldest is the wise one, the youngest is the strong one; then there’s the emotional one etcetera.) You’d think it an oversimplification, and maybe it was, because later some of them do prove to be more. But really here there’ are sisters, aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The girl. In her we've a protagonist so used to following the lead of her sisters that she doesn’t blink at the years-old promise. It’s this bit that has me nitpicking yet again: her even considering the odd oath at all had me feeling her younger than the eighteen that actually she was. It sounded slightly beyond realistic what’s promised by her then more unrealistic what’s expected of her, stretching what’s plausible too almost too much. I really did have a moment wondering over the predicament she found herself in, one where she was weighing falling for cute confident boy versus proper places and loyalty.

The boy, Emilio. I liked him. I mean I really, really liked him (even the too confident aspect of him) because with him that way, there’s unexpected back and forth between them, and that had me wanting more of the two of them together on a page! Because with him she’s more than what I’d initially pegged as good little sister following along. With him, there’s another of her giving as good as he dished out. She’s equally sure of herself even if sometimes he’d say something that had her tongue tied. The point is: Chemistry. They had it.

Thank you Edelweiss!

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