Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Narrator: Zilah Mendoza
Series: n/a
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Source: purchased audio, received galley from publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

So, The Book of Broken Hearts was my first Sarah Ockler book.  I know, I know.  I do own a hardcover of Bittersweet.  But I recently discovered that was just released on Audible, so I'll probably go that route so that I can get to it sooner.  But also because I thoroughly enjoyed The Book of Broken Hearts and I'm anxious to read more from this author.

First off, I think the relationship between the sisters was portrayed beautifully.  I have one older sister who is eight years my senior, and then I have a little sister who is only a year-and-a-half younger than me.  (That'd be my co-blogger Mendy.)  There is a big difference in my relationship with each of my sisters, and I saw that dynamic mirrored in the way the Hernandez sisters interacted with each other.  However, had one of my sisters insisted on a pact made by candlelight and sealed with blood over some boy, I think I would have had to opt out.  :-P

Jude, our main character, is the youngest, and there are several years between her and Mariposa, the youngest of the older sisters.  But the difference in age means that she's pretty much grown up like an only child, her older sisters all having moved out and on with their lives.  And so she's left to care for her ailing father while her mother works to support them.  Not that they're suffering, but Jude's father is no longer able to work because of his condition.  Jude essentially foregoes all of her summer plans to spend her last months before college with Bear, and it's time with her father that she'll cherish forever.  Especially once they discover his old motorcycle in the barn and he begins telling her stories of his time as a biker in Argentina, which leads to Jude's decision to have the bike repaired.

Enter Emilio, one of the reviled Vargas brothers, whom Jude has sworn never to have any contact with.  Family being what it is, Jude tries to hate Emilio, but he has some redeeming qualities of his own.  First being that he's willing to work on her father's bike affordably.  But he also never pushes Jude and instead offers his friendship as she deals with the sorrow affecting her family.  I loved the slow progression from would-be enemies to something more than friends.  But I also loved that this romance remained in the background, even though the blurb had me believing that the story's emphasis would be the somewhat-forbidden romance between Jude and Emilio.

As for the narrator, Zilah Mendoza was perfection.  If I had read this novel myself, it wouldn't have felt as authentic because I definitely wouldn't have read it with an accent, despite the fact that the families in question are from Argentina and Puerto Rico.  I love when the narrator becomes one with the story, and it no longer seems like you're listening to someone read a book.  Instead, it felt like the narrator was simply relaying her own story.

The Book of Broken Hearts is a tale of family and love and heartbreak.  It's beautiful in its sadness, but it's also a hopeful story.  Bear's own story is a reminder to Jude that it's important to live each day to the fullest, but it's a reminder to us all, really.  Carpe diem and all that.  ;0)  This book was uniquely heartbreaking and funny, and it's ensured that I'll be picking up the author's other works in the near future.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

Other books from this author:

Twenty Boy SummerFixing DelilahBittersweet

About the author:

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of critically acclaimed young adult novels Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and Bittersweet. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, IndieNext list picks, and more. Her short fiction and essays will be featured in two upcoming young adult anthologies: Defy the Dark and Dear Teen Me.

Sarah teaches advanced young adult fiction writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading, Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Find Sarah:

Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. Oh will love love love Bittersweet, Jen! But definitely have cupcakes ready before you start it. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. Looks sooo good! Looking forward to getting my hands on this one! Great review(:

  3. I have never read bittersweet or this but I have a feeling I have to now!
    great review!


  4. i completely agree. the relationship between the sisters made me so jealous!! you should definitely sad the boys of summer first because this is my favorite book out of the three!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  5. I really need to read some of her books. Nice review!

  6. This will be my first Sarah Ockler book too. I'm excited to read about the sister dynamic in this one. :)

  7. Okay, I may have to "read" this one again, but this time in audiobook form because the narrator sounds stellar! As is your review :)

  8. Oh I have this audio and its on my summer TBR list of books. So happy to see that you really enjoyed this book. I seem to be really into contemporaries and realistic fiction lately and can't wait to get to this book.


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