Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 352 pages
Original Publishing Date:May 21st, 2013
Series: Standalone
Where I got it: Audiobook from the e-library
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis 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.

Main characters: 5/5

Jude, a sweet and stubborn youngest daughter, makes for a fascinating main character and narrator. Her family dynamics are so clearly laid out in the novel that it added exceptional complexity and depth to her. Jude was one of the most realistic characters that I've read in a while. She could be irrational at times, emotional and thoughtless, but it was all realistic and regardless, I found that I loved Jude.

Emilio appeared at first a stereotypical bad boy, but he pleasantly surprised me. He had a lot of his own personal demons to fight and he had a wonderfully sweet and down to earth side that made his perfect for Jude.

Overall, I loved these main characters and their personal development, as well as the timing of their relationship and the sweet/sexy mix of their interactions.

Secondary characters: 4.5/5

Ockler not only created two complex main characters, she gave us a whole slew of beautifully made secondary characters! I'll start with the weak points: Jude's mom. We simply don't see much of her and don't understand her point of view! Compared with the rest of Jude's family, she seemed underdeveloped.

On the other hand, Jude's sisters were a tornado of fun and drama. Mari, Celi and Lourdes each had their own crazy personality and seeing them interact with Jude gave each of them added facets of depth and realism. They were so quirky and fun, I could imagine them as my sisters!

And Jude's dad.... I don't have any experience with Alzheimers, but Ockler's depiction of Jude's father was heartbreakingly perfect.

Writing style: 4.5/5

Ockler's writing style moved effortlessly through Jude's feelings, emotions, and the happenings of that summer. While the subject matter could be heavy, Ockler's writing was not too weighty or slow. There were heartwarming sections, light and funny parts, and then the parts that were tough and emotional. The pacing was perfect, and kept me interested without seeming to jet by. There weren't any big twists or secrets and major plot elements, but Ockler kept me entertained nonetheless.

Plot: 3.5/5 
As I mentioned earlier, there definitely weren't major plot elements that contributed to the flow of the overall plot. Sometimes, I did miss the action and I wanted some actual events, rather than just talk about feelings and what was happening, but Ockler handled the lack of major plot well. The elements worked well together though as well, the only thing that I questioned was the major impact that the pact had on Jude. I don't know if I would have taken it quite so seriously if I were here.

Ending: 3/5

I like the note that the book ended on, one of hope and determination for the future, but I felt that the ending was a little unmemorable. Ultimately, I felt like I wanted more from that ending, though I'm not sure what that would be.

Best scene: Any of Jude and Emilio's interactions!

Reminded Me Of: Before You 

Positives: Amazing main and secondary characters, beautiful writing

Negatives: Characterization of Jude's mother, lack of major plot elements, unmemorable ending

Cover: Makes the novel seem lighter than it actually is. I think it does it a bit of a disservice.

Verdict:  An entertaining and heart-wrenching romance with realistic and emotional family elements

Rating:  8.2 / 10 (4 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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