The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah OcklerTitle: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publishing Info: May 21, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 18, 2013
Related Posts: The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

    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.


Oh my gosh, you guys. THIS BOOK. Of course I expected to like this book, but I seriously had a book hangover when I finished. THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS was the perfect read for me. It was so beautifully written, had a perfect romance, a great family aspect, and also some serious issues that came together to create a masterpiece.

I say that this was the perfect read for me because there were just so many ways in which the book just totally drew me in and I was able to make a personal connection.
ONE: The motorcycles. My boyfriend (at the time — now husband!) Shane is car/motorcycle guy and I’ve spent countless hours in the garage with him reading/watching/helping/learning. To watch Jude go through the same thing with Emilio as he works on her father’s motorcycle, it kind of brought all those memories back to when my own personal relationship was blossoming and it brought all those little butterflies back!
TWO. The language. The culture is in this book is a big part of the story from the family dynamic to the food to the customs. Emilio is Puerto Rican and Jude is Argentinean so both of them (and their families) tend to slip into Spanish from time to time when speaking to each other. I’m not Hispanic in any way, but I was a Spanish major in college so I just always feel my own little personal connection when characters speak Spanish, even if it isn’t my own heritage. I feel like it’s a little secret that I’m able to know what they’re saying when they slip into a different language while the general audience might not.
THREE. The setting. The book takes place in Blackfeather, Colorado which appears to be a fictional town (I looked it up), but these past couple of years, we’ve taken a few different trips to Colorado & Wyoming so that general area of the country, although not home, holds a special place in my heart.

Okay, enough with the personal connections. But you can see why this book was so special to me based on those elements alone! Of course, any book can have those elements, but it was the way the book was written as well as the combination of topics just made it so special. These characters all felt like extremely real people. The story was so genuine. My heart just went out to each and everyone, especially throughout Jude’s father’s Alzheimer’s struggle. Jude spends her last summer before college with her father, watching over him, taking care of him, and enjoying what could possibly be his last lucid moments before the Alzheimer’s takes over. This whole part of the book just ripped my heart apart. It was so sad to see him disappearing before the family’s eyes, but it was also so touching to see how the family came together, especially Jude’s attempts to do one last epic thing for her father by helping him restore his old motorcycle.

I absolutely loved the romance in this book. Emilio Vargas is the boy who ends up getting hired to restore Jude’s father’s motorcycle, but he comes with a catch — Jude’s older sisters have been wronged by many a Vargas boy in the past and all four Hernandez sisters have a pact to avoid all Vargas boys at all times. At first, Jude rationalizes that Emilio is just there to help with the bike and she won’t have a problem resisting his charms. Of course we know that’s not going to happen and at some point in time, she’ll have to answer to her sisters about crushing on a Vargas.
Besides the “forbidden romance” I just love how this relationship came to be. The “forbidden” aspect really is half of the fun because we watch Jude’s internal battle between sticking to the pact she made with her sisters and what her heart really wants. Not to mention that Emilio is adorable and he and Jude have a great back and forth throughout the whole book that made me laugh and made my heart flutter all at the same time.

The family dynamic in this book was honestly one of my favorite. I feel like too often, a family member is villainized and naturally, all of the characters in the book are right to hate that person. Both the Hernandez family and the Vargas family were just real people with real problems and real reactions. I saw the humanity in each one, and yes, there were definitely some really flawed characters, but they also had such redeeming qualities as well. It made matters so much more complicated because I wanted to feel for each and every one of them and I couldn’t possible hate any of them!
I loved the sisterly relationship in this book and how even despite the age difference between Jude and her sisters, they all start coming together for their father and for each other. It was exciting to see Jude really making a connection with her sisters in a different and more mature way. Now that she’s older, she gets to talk with them in a totally different way and she’s more respected than when she was just a kid and they were all teenagers and adults.

THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS was extremely beautiful and touching. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I cried. Several times. And ugly crying. Like, uncontrollably sobbing at the end of this book. It was just so, so touching and so incredibly realistic. Like I said earlier, I had a book hangover after this book. I tried to start two new books after I finished and I couldn’t. I had to take a day to let this marinate in my head and let my mind cool off. This is a book that will stick with me for a long, long time.


Jude: God, I loved Jude. She was such a joy to get to know throughout this book. She matured, she fell in love, she learned so many things. I loved her dedication to her family and at the same time, her desire to be true to herself, even when it went against her family’s wishes. I just really loved her all around.
Emilio: Ohhh, Emilio. I can just picture him with that killer smile and flirty charm and he totally just got me. I loved the romance that developed between him and Jude. Jude has been told that all of the Vargas boys are poison, bad news but she begins to doubt that Emilio can really be that bad. Emilio has quite a story of his own and I really loved hearing everything from his side when all of those details finally come out.



I MUST go pick up some more Sarah Ockler books after reading THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I can’t believe this is the first of her books that I’ve read. It was just that good for me.


     Nantucket Blue           Eleanor & Park

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

Recently Read

Dead Moon
The Fold
Instant Karma
American Girl
The Recovery Agent
The Harbor
One of Us Is Dead
The Last Thing He Told Me
Hook, Line, and Sinker
It Happened One Summer
The Good Lie

Brittany S.’s favorite books »

14 thoughts on “The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

  1. Kelly

    I’ve heard so many great things about this book and I loved her Twenty Boy Summer, so I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this! It’s great when you can connect with a book on a personal level, and I absolutely LOVE great family dynamics.

  2. Lauren @ Lose Time Reading

    I wasn’t even interested in this book before your review and I just requested it from the library 😛 I cannot wait to read it now, your review makes it seem WAY too good to pass up 🙂

    Great review Brittany!!

  3. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

    I really need to get my hands on this book! I’ve read two other novels by Ockler, Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer, and LOVED one but thought the other was a dud. So now the author can redeem herself. It’s also so exciting to know about the Hispanic presence and the Colorado setting because, well…I’m a Hispanic living in Colorado lol. It’s so rare to find that kind of relatability (not a word but whatever).

    1. Brittany Post author

      I hope you love it!! I feel like when the connections are that close, you’re either going to totally relate or just be disappointed so hopefully it’s a good turn out and not negative!

  4. Alexa Y.

    I haven’t read this one yet! But your review totally makes me want to. It sounds like such a good book, and I love that it tackles so many things – family dynamics, romance and growing up. I can’t wait to read this one!

  5. Estelle @ Rather Be Reading

    So glad you felt as strongly as I did about this book. I also cried a lot 🙁 It was hard not to. So much going on, some overwhelming, and, at the same place, feeling so helpless.

    Ockler is fantastic. I would actually thing Second Chance Summer would be a nice relatable book to this one.

  6. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I haven’t read anything by Ockler yet either, although I intend to make this my first read of hers. I don’t consider myself to be a contemporary fan, but I’ve been reading (and loving) a lot of YA contemps recently, so I’m eager to read more of them, and this one certainly sounds like a winner. Great review!
    As an aside, totally get your excitement on the Spanish factor. Spanish was also one of my majors in college, so it’s always so nice to read books where there are Hispanic/Latino characters and we get to learn a little about their cultures. Makes me wish I was still using my Spanish some, though lol.

  7. Rachel @ hello, chelly

    I felt the exact same way about this book! I had a feeling I would like it but I did not expect to fall head over heels in love with it. I cried and laughed. And I absolutely loved Emilio, their relationship and what Jude was doing for her father. Such a great book!! Awesome review 🙂

  8. Candice

    YAYYYYY!!! I love how much we all loved this book and felt connected in some way to it. Great review!

    Also, super sweet story about you and Shane! 🙂

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: