Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

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.

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!

This Book Contains:
  • Motorcycles
  • Latin American/American Culture
  • Spanish/Spanglish
  • Disease
  • Forbidden Love
  • A literal book full of stories and artifacts of heartbreak
  • A dog named Pancake
  • Lots of Mexican/Spanish food
  • A play
  • A Colorado setting

My Rating:


How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 5/21/2013


  1. Well, this looks like a really great book with a family-based premise
    I am definitely going to read this one in the future
    Your reader,

  2. I love loved love looooooooooooooved this book! Sarah Ockler is definitely a must-buy for me and this book didn't disappoint :-)

  3. This sounds right up my alley. So glad you loved it! I have a Sarah Ockler book on my shelf but I haven't read it yet ):

  4. I LOVED this book despite not buying the romance at all and I think that really speak to how amazing Sarah Ockler is. I agree with everything you said about the family dynamic, Jude and her dad broke my heart, but it was so wonderful to read about their relationship. And I loved Pancake!

  5. I just wanted to say I have read tons of reviews as a fellow blogger and I like your "This Book Contains" part. It is cute. Good idea! I have not seen that on any other blog. And I love your layout. If you ever get time, I had asked you once before, stop by my blog I would love to know how to organize my blog better using the blogspot tools. I could use some help or write me at Have a great day!

    1. Thank so much!! I'm glad you like the "Book Contains" part. That all started with some fun little things that were in a book that I read that I just couldn't find a good way to talk about it in my review. Plus it gives me a chance to say what city/town/state/country the book is set in bc that can be important to some people. I'll definitely stop by your blog (I have before too).

  6. I finished reading this earlier in the week. It's my first book of hers that I've read and I really liked it--she writes similarly to Sara Zarr, who I love. I was very drawn in by the family dynamics in this, and a bit surprised (in a good way) how this was far more than a romance. It all worked together so well.

    I also like your quick list of what the book contains. Clever and helpful!

    1. I totally can't recommend 20 Boy Summer and esp. Bittersweet enough. They are both great books... Sarah Ockler just doesn't disappoint! I'm glad you live the Book Contains thing... I've been wondering if people liked it or thought it was weird :)

  7. Would you believe I've never read a Sarah Ockler book? I got Bittersweet for Christmas a few years ago and it's just chillin on my shelf. The forbidden romance is a turn off but it sounds redeemable by the family relationships =) Why are the leading guys always so cocky? I don't find that attractive.

    1. Oh Bittersweet is SO good!! Just wait til you meet Mr. Napkins!!!!

  8. Gorgeous review Michelle! I absolutely ended up loving this book too, I loved how Ockler centralised family in this story, I really did end up enjoying getting to know Jude's family. I only have one book more by Ockler to read Fixing Delilah, but I'm hoping that I will end up loving that too!

    1. Fixing Delilah is now the only Ockler book I haven't read either!!! And with #scandal coming out soon, I want to read it! Thanks for stopping by :)