REVIEW: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis: 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.

Genre: YA Romance

Review: This was one of my last reads of 2017 and my second Sarah Ockler book. After I forced my friend to read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, she started reading through Sarah Ockler’s books and told me to read this one next. I have come to the conclusion that I absolutely adore Sarah Ockler.

When Jude’s father is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and his mind begins to fray, she decides to start a project with him to give him his final wish and, hopefully, restore some part of himself that has been lost. There is only one problem: the only mechanic for hire to help rebuild her father’s old motorcycle is a boy she and her sisters have sworn to stay away from at all costs. Are her growing attachment to Emilio Vargas and the joy the restoration project brings her Papi worth the betrayal of her years-old sacred oath?

First of all, I would like to commend Sarah Ockler for her dedication to representation of both minorities and disabilities. Chasing Mermaids is about a mute girl from Trinidad and Tobago and this book is about a Puerto Rican family (though I could be wrong on that specific country) dealing with the effects of Alzheimers. It’s amazing to see these issues dealt with in the YA romance genre and I wish more writers would take on projects like these.

Everything about this book was sweet and enticing. The characters, their relationships, the world, the development, absolutely everything. I love Jude and her dedication to her father and reluctance to engage with Emilio in any way, though she’s obviously attracted to him. I love Emilio and how thoughtful and hard-working he is, especially once he sees what the Hernandez family is going through. I loved how you could see bits of the relationship Jude has with her father, which makes it even more heartbreaking the more you read.

Though this book was a bit predictable (as books in this genre are usually wont to be), there are some unexpected twists, especially toward the end. It won’t break your heart in the end, but it also doesn’t end the way you expect it to. Ockler’s writing choices are so fresh and it honestly breathes some life into this genre, which can easily become stale and mediocre.

I will definitely be reading more of Sarah Ockler’s books. She’s two for two right now and I was so glad this was one of my last reads of 2017. Maybe I’ll finish all her books in 2018!

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