Book Review: The Book of Broken Hearts (YA)

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Review:
This book was more serious than I was expecting. It was almost like Still Alice for teens. Jude has just graduated high school, and she’s spending her last summer at home babysitting her father who has early onset Alzheimer’s. She finds his old motorcycle in the garage and decides that fixing it up will restore her father to full health. He seems to remember everything about his motorcycle days even though he often loses track of the present.

Enter Emilio, the mechanic they hire to help with the bike restore. I think he was supposed to be a “bad boy”, but other than riding a motorcycle and fixing up bikes, he was just a normal guy, which I appreciated because I don’t often go for the bad boy in books (or in real life). Emilio gave Jude someone to talk to outside of her family. She is the youngest of 4 girls, and her sisters are pretty controlling even though they don’t live at home anymore. Emilio helps Jude deal with her father, her feelings, and her situation.

I enjoyed their romance despite all of the motorcycle talk. I am not really into Harleys. I enjoyed the added depth of the story, but there was something off about the writing that prevented me from rating this book higher. I often had to re-read sentences to understand Ockler’s intent. I hope her other books aren’t like this. I’m reading The Summer of Chasing Mermaids this month for my book club.

I liked the Spanish inserted into the dialog. Jude’s family is from Argentina, and Emilio is Mexican, so that made it seem a little more authentic.

The premise of this book (the pack against the Vargas brothers) was fun, the characters were good, and it was well executed. It was a solid read just not 100% for me.

My Rating: 3 Stars
Understand my ratings.

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