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The Book of Broken Hearts Hardcover – May 21, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-The youngest of four sisters and a recent high school graduate, Jude Hernandez is responsible for caring for her father, who was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. His excitement at finding his old motorcycle in the garage gives Jude an idea: if they restore it, maybe it will help restore his lost memories. As an added plus, it keeps them at home and away from her father's potential public meltdowns, which are growing more frequent. Together, they hire the cheapest mechanic they can find-Emilio Vargas. But the hitch is that her older sisters hate his older brothers and made Jude swear an oath to never get involved with a Vargas. The teen is finding it harder to ignore what a great guy Emilio is, and how patient and kind he is with her father. But as the motorcycle project nears completion, her father seems more lost than ever. This is a poignant look at how hard it is to witness a loved one lose memories. Jude tries hard to be everything to everyone, including her family and former good friends, without much support from the latter. Through it all, Emilio stands by her, and the revelation that he is also no stranger to heartbreak helps cement his trustworthiness in Jude's eyes. While the oath is a little overplayed, the feelings Jude has are not, and teens will identify with her struggle.-Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The summer before college, Jude Hernandez is restoring a vintage motorcycle with her father in hopes that it will help with his early-onset Alzheimer’s. Jude hires Emilio to help with the restoration, but Emilio is a Vargas boy—a family Jude swore an oath to her sisters to avoid, even signing her name in the sisters’ sacred Book of Broken Hearts. As the summer wears on and Papi’s illness takes over more of his memories, Jude must come to terms with the future of her family and her heart. Ockler writes a poignant, heartbreaking tale about a family in crisis and struggling to recover the normalcy of everyday life amidst serious illness. With moments of humor and plenty of snappy dialogue between Jude and Emilio, Ockler’s characters are both smart and believable. The romance is well developed and never overshadows the book’s chief message of learning to accept the uncertainty of life. An emotional read about the power, love, and support of family. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Bean Thompson

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442430389
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442430389
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Twenty Boy Summer, and Fixing Delilah. 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, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens' Top Ten and NPR's Top 100 Teen Books.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in the Pacific Northwest, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website at or find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Uniquely Moi Books on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The synopsis is great but holds nothing to what is inside. Sarah Ockler has filled it with such a strong and powerful story that is so unlike so many out there. I bonded easily with the characters and fell deeply into the story line. The Book of Broken Hearts is a definite read by all.

We learn that Jude is the youngest of all her siblings. Living in a household full of sisters has definitely taught her a thing or two but what she's about to embark on throughout this summer, nothing could've prepared her for. I loved how strongly bonded all of the sisters were, but still felt kind of sorry for Jude. She is the last one in the house and never got to bond as much as the others. More importantly, she was never properly inducted into the Book of Broken Hearts.

Jude had many plans for the summer but when her Papi started showing more frequent signs of his illness, she knows that he is her number one priority. Throughout the summer and her Papi's growing illness she meets Emilio Vargas. He comes to be everything that Jude needs through this difficult time. He's also the one thing that will cause her much trouble.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lili's Reflections on September 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is my first Sarah Ockler book, but going into it I was well aware of how widely adored she is. And, after reading this book, I can honestly say that I understand why she is so greatly loved. This book had an amazing setting, a true romance, and struggles that broke your heart in two, all sprinkled with enough humor to lighten the mood.

However, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Simone Elkeles's PERFECT CHEMISTRY. A guy and a girl who are sworn to hate each other for some reason or another. The guy is of some sort of Latin descent and uses his sexy language and amazing facial features to lure all unsuspecting women into his bed. And, as much as I loved Emilio, nobody can compare to Alex. However, while PERFECT CHEMISTRY focused solely on the racial divide between the two main character's neighborhoods, the driving force in this book is Jude's father, Papi, who is experiencing early on-set Alzheimer's at the age of fifty-two.

This aspect of the story wrenched my gut open. I had watched several documentaries on this illness when I took a psychology class in high school and every single one ended with me tearing up. This rare disease is most often hereditary and every child of someone with it has a 50% chance of saying a long good-bye to themselves. It's scary and hard to stomach as a bystander. I can't even imagine how terrible it is to watch someone you love lose themselves while you stand by helplessly. Ockler really captured this aspect of the plot perfectly and I often found myself hurting alongside Jude and her family.

I also found Jude's familial ties to be great. While there are clearly struggles because of her father's predicament, this is the way a young adult family should be. There are no absentee parents and everyone loves each other.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa on June 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Oh my gosh, this book is so sweet! I absolutely LOVED this book - hence the 5 star-rating! Contemporary novels have been really good this year, but this one blew me away. The romance was sweet, the plot was up and down, and the characters were so well-written! I wanted to hug this book several times, especially after finishing it. And the writing in general was superb! Ms. Ockler has a firm control of her writing style, and it is near flawless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's difficult to resist the siren song of an as-yet-unread contemporary author, isn't it? For the most part, I tend to dip into those waters with caution. Sometimes I make out like gangbusters. And others I wind up feeling as though I was force-fed treacle, or that I was curiously emptied while reading the book rather than filled. I tell myself it's worth it, though, to find those gems that make your blood pump and the tips of your fingers tingle. I tell myself it's worth the racing anticipation and the occasional deep disappointment. And it is. Even if an author's entire bibliography doesn't work for you. It's worth it if that one, perfect match does. Cause then you get to hold onto it for the rest of your reading life, and pull it out and revisit those characters and that place and those moments whenever you need them. All of which is a rather long winded way of explaining how I found myself giving Sarah Ockler a try for the first time. I wasn't too drawn by her previous titles, but the well-nigh universal love for her latest, THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS, persuaded me it was time to dip my toes in those waters again.

Jude Hernandez has spent her entire life living in the wake of her three older sisters. Now that they've all gone the way of the wind, pursuing their own lives across the country, Jude feels it's only fair she have her turn. After all, she just graduated from high school. She has one single, solitary summer before it's off to college and more buckling down. She's always been the good girl, following her sisters' advice to the letter, certainly never getting tangled up with a Vargas boy the way two of her three older sibs did. That road only leads to ruin, they told her, in the voice of bitter, bitter experience. But it isn't to be.
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