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.(Goodreads)
This is Jude’s last summer at home before she leaves for college. She’s the baby. The last one to leave the nest. In many ways, though there are exciting things on the horizon for her, the whole summer is set to be bittersweet. Her father–a wonderful man, someone she adores–is sick. He has Early Onset Alzheimer’s and the signs that his mind is slowly deteriorating are becoming more and more visible. Jude needs something to ground him. She wants to help capture the time in his life when he was seemingly at his happiest: the days before marriage and kids, the ones he spent on the back of a Harley riding all over the world. Jude believes that if she can help him hold onto that past, if she can help him remember it, those memories won’t be lost and maybe, just maybe, it will help pull him out of this sickness once and for all.
Her father wants to restore his beloved Harley, so he and Jude enlist the help of a young mechanic, Emilio Vargas. Right away Jude knows she’s doing something no one, especially her older sisters would approve of. Emilio comes from a long line of heartbreakers–who’ve actually broken the hearts of her sisters–and at one time Jude swore never to be involved with one. Ever. But Emilio seems different. He’s nice. Yes, he’s damn cute, too, but he seems like a good guy. He tries to help with Jude’s dad; he understands what she’s trying to do. Jude is falling for him, despite her best intentions. At the same time she feels she’s betrayed her sisters.
I really, really loved this book. Sarah Ockler, I’ve come to discover, does not ever disappoint. Everything here is spot on: the family life, the sisterhood, the romance, Jude watching her father slowly get worse. It’s all so beautifully, believably done. Ockler is a wonderful writer, conveying such emotion without feeling like she’s trying too, too hard. The whole story is great but it was the relationships that got me. Each one rang so true and the mixture of emotions Jude, her mother and sisters feel as they make plans for their future and their father’s care, are so realistic and so heartbreaking.
What got me most, what really cut to the heart for me, was the relationship between Jude and her dad. What a terrible silent thief Alzheimer’s is, and to relate to Jude as a daughter, to see her love for her dad, to see that love reflected back a million times over in him and then to watch him suddenly, without warning, disappear from himself and reappear again–it hurt. Ockler handles it all with such grace and she manages to make even those painful moments charming because of the way Jude, Emilio and the family react to it all. Make no mistake, I loved the romance here, too. Emilio and Jude had some fantastic moments, but the guy I adored more than anyone in this book was Jude’s dad. What a sweet picture of love.
Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 I really liked this book from the get go, but more and more, as the days since I finished it have worn on, I love it even more. It’s stayed with me. Warning: yes, it’ll give you the swoons, but it may make you cry as well.
Thank you to Simon Pulse for sending a copy of The Book of Broken Hearts to me (and to my SC partners) in exchange for an honest review. You can check out more details in our interview with Sarah Ockler here.