Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review of The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Title/Author: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, May 21st 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: 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.

Guys, I have to get one thing off my chest before starting this review: the summary is completely deceiving. I was expecting a cute summery book and this book is just so much more.

There's this little sentence in the summary about Jude's ailing father. Which is what this book is actually about, it's about a girl and her family dealing with this horrible thing that's happening to her father and about the summer she spends with him and the boy who supports her through it. Of course there's romance, but that's not the centre of this story. At least, to me it's not.

The Book of Broken Hearts tells us about the impact of early onset Alzheimer's on a man and his family. This is something that actually scares me. I know there are a lot of diseases I wouldn't ever want anyone I love to have, but to me there aren't a lot of things that are scarier than dementia I mean, my grandmother struggled with her health, but I'm so incredibly thankful she never had to deal with this. I've seen the destructiveness of this disease in patients and it's beyond awful.

We meet Jude, the youngest daughter of four, she's the only one living at home and looking after her father while her mom is at work. I couldn't help but immediately connect to this wonderful girl, willing to put her own life on hold to take care of others. She's working so hard and sometimes I just wanted to slap one of her sisters for not appreciating all she'd been doing.

I loved this family. Even though there's bickering and bossing around, you can feel the love. There are so many dysfunctional families in YA that this was just such a good change. They band together when things get rough and are really there for each other. I loved Jude's father for being strong, even in the face of this scary disease. You don't get to see how strong till the end of the novel, but it's amazing.

Of course there's Emilio. The Boy. Emilio is smooth and sweet and just someone Jude can count on. I totally respected him for how he was with Jude's father. There aren't many guys his age who would know how to deal with stuff like this and well, there's just all of these hidden depths with this boy and yeah, I guess I'm a fan. Though I thought they moved kinda fast from the 'oh we're kissing' to 'come with me on this epic trip' in about 5 minutes. That kinda threw me off.

It was sorta hard for me to read this book because it deals with something that terrifies me, but Sarah Ockler completely drew me in with her writing and I just couldn't put it down long (I needed small breaks sometimes). She captured all of the things I've seen families dealing with and touched my heart. Like I said at the beginning: this is so much more than a summer romance!

My rating: 4,5 stars


  1. I wasn't aware of the Alzheimer's angle to this book, so thanks for cluing me in to that! I agree, I think one of the most terrifying diseases out there is dementia. Books that tackle it can be tough reads, but also rewarding if they're well-written. Have you read Still Alice by Lisa Genova? It really packs an emotional punch.

  2. The few times I've read Sarah Ockler's books I have found the summaries misleading too.
    I'm glad you liked this one so much, Daisy, it sounds sweet though I never have much luck with this author.

  3. Based on the summary of the book, I wouldn't have picked it up. But thanks to your review, I know I have to. My grandmother suffers from severe dementia and I know the pains it has taken on our family (my grandpa used to look after her himself until he passed away last year). It's a horrible disease, and I'm glad there are stories like this and Still Alice (which I haven't read) to bring awareness to Alzheimer's.

  4. I think I ended up being disappointed that this book wasn't as light as expected based on the summary-I ended up hating it! Glad to read your much more positive review :)

  5. I've never read a Sarah Ockler book before, but I'm inclined to think that I would probably enjoy them. They all sound really good, but nothing appeals more to me than this particular one! I love the fact that it focuses on a family dynamic, but also has romance in it ;)