Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts

"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.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Page Count: 352
Would Appeal To: Fans of Sara Zarr, motorcycle enthusiasts, anyone with a relative with Alzheimer's
Favorite Quotes:
"His lips formed the word, each syllable sliding into my ears with a rush of white-hot guilt. Those caramel-brown eyes. Black hair curled up around the edge of that smudged bandana. He wasn't smiling now, but the dimples were still there, lurking below the surface like a dare."

"Clint Eastwood was a familiar guest in our living room, and his signature rasp and gunslinging badassery blazed a trail through my skull all morning."

"He made a face like a wounded puppy, and I abandoned the popcorn bowl and most of my good judgment."

"The mountains loomed heavy and huge, and I felt it now more than I ever had before--that cosmic insignificance, the terrible, comforting knowledge that if you stood too long in the same place, the dirt would gather at your feet, and the earth would swallow you one cell at a time, and in a hundred years you'd still be standing there admiring the scenery when the final speck of dust covered your eye."

"That was the thing about pictures. No matter how beautiful, they couldn't capture the truly felt parts of a moment...Through pictures, we cut reality in pieces. We selected only the choicest moments, discarding the rest as if they'd never happened."

Sarah Ockler has to be my favorite contemporary author. Her characters go through so much emotionally and always grow, whether it's good or bad. Her writing is real and honest. The message I take away after I close each book cover, no matter what the subject, is that life is hard, but you get through it by making each second count.

What I Loved:
-Ockler did her research. This story tackles the tough subject of early-onset Alzheimer's. Having known several old people with Alzeimer's, I recognized some of the behaviors. However, Jude's dad is only 52 years old, and he is calling Jude by her sisters' names, making scenes in public, and forgetting simple directions. One thing, Jude finds, brings a spark to his eye and his regular personality to the surface-- the restoration of a bike he owned before he was a father and a husband. Fighting El Demonio sometimes seems like moving mountains, but Jude is determined not to lose her father to this disease and spends her entire summer before college working on the bike.
The addition of Spanish words, especially pet names. It made the story of this Argentinian family more real. Papi calls Jude querida, and Emilio calls Jude princesa. 
-Jude. Right off the bat, this girl has a distinct personality. She is quite funny in her own mind and has a lot of opinions. She has a hard time letting those thoughts out since sometimes they're embarrassing and they might upset people. Still, as far as characters go, Jude is much different than any of Ockler's other main protagonists.
-Emilio. Off limits because of the sisters' blood oath to forevermore avoid the Vargas brothers. He flirts, jokes, makes Jude feel flits and flutters in places she shouldn't. They bond over motorcycles and stick shift driving. If I knew anything about either of those, I'd consider a pretty cool girl. There are a few moments throughout the book where he gets frustrated with Jude for not being herself. He calls her out on her crap, and someone needs to. It shows how observant he's been, but also how much he cares and doesn't want to see her hurt anymore, especially by her sisters. And oh, did my heart melt every time he talked to or rescued Papi.
-PANCAKE! So many doggie thoughts that mostly center around bunnies-- she nailed the doggie brain on the head. A fun addition.
-Jude's assumptions are often wrong, so her character is always growing and learning.
-The family dynamics. Jude's sisters have distinct personalities, but they are all also protective of Jude, the youngest. They bicker and work together and just really love each other. Mari, the "wrecking ball," spends the most time with Jude. Four girls. So many hand-me-downs and shared secrets. But Jude is the youngest by far, and has really had the experience of an only child for several years. I like that she wants to make her own memories, have something that is just hers and Papis to treasure forever.

What Bugged Me:
-I couldn't get a clear picture of Emilio's face in my head. He was Puerto Rican, rocked a bandana, had dark hair and scars. But I wanted more about the curve and shape of his face. This could be just a personal problem!
Final Verdict: Addictively entertaining and laced with lessons in love, The Book of Broken Hearts will force you to root for doomed relationships, cheer out loud for small victories, and sigh in appreciation of heart-grabbing prose.


Krystianna said...

I've seen so many great reviews on this one though I've never read anything by Sarah Ockler before. I'm glad that you really loved it, I may have to check it out sometime soon!
Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

Bookworm1858 said...

You liked that Jude's assumptions were often wrong? That bothered me and was one of the reasons I didn't like this book. I did appreciate the family story and the cultural aspects (yay for diversity!)