30 May 2013

Joint Review: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse    
Publication date: May 21st 2013
My rating: 5 stars

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.

Love, love, love this book! It was unputdownable from the first page, up to the last. Sarah Ockler is one of those YA contemporary authors who actually writes books with normal characters mostly dealing with ordinary family problems. They are just like us and that's the reason it's so easy for me to relate to one or two of them. 

You can tell a lot about an author from the way they shape their characters. They can be determined, perky, sarcastic, brave, loyal, witty, modest, independent and so on. I think that some of the authors share pieces of themselves in their novels so even if I started reading a book without the cover I would know who wrote it. And that is what it's all about! Readers recognizing your writing style and setting your work apart from the rest. 

I think I need to point out that this blurb is not entirely correct. First of, the romance part of the book is talking up around %30 of the book while the part where Jude helps her father who's suffering from Alzheimer's, takes the rest 70%. Not that I didn't mind. The love interest, Emilio is in the story right from the start but catching his eye wasn't the priority back then. 

So, this is a story about Jude, a high-school graduate who's spending her last summer as a kid looking after her dad, who's recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She's trying to cheer him up by restoring his old bike so they hire a mechanic to fix it. Complications start after Jude realizes the guy fixing Valentina (the bike's name) is non other than one of the infamous Vargas brothers. Vargas Bros. broke hearts of her two older sisters so Jude is trying to push Emilio away only this time, Emilio is apparently so not like the rest of Vargas pack. He makes Jude question her loyalty to her family and but it takes more than a guy with dimples to get under her skin. She did try to stay away from him but their connection was just evident. 

This book was brilliant. This is my favorite Ockler book, so far. If you're looking for a book with normal teenage character without too much drama, to brighten up your day I suggest you pick The Book of Broken Hearts up! Now! 

What a brilliant last chapter. It made me cry. So touching. It was almost as if I was there with them. I can't wait to read Ockler's next book. Why does it need to come out next year? Ugh! S&S peeps need to give this lady a better contract, where she will be a slave, writing books all day long so we can enjoy every few month and not have to wait a whole year for another taste. Am I right? 

I’ve always been a Papa’s girl. And as far as I can remember, things have always been that way. That being said, if it has to be someone as my confidante for awkward conversations in the world of ladydom and awkward conversations OR conversations in general, then it’s my mother all the way. But there is this peculiar and I’m obviously cheesy when it comes to emotional and sentimental values, so yes, ‘magical’ bond between a father and a daughter. It’s in ordinary moments of ‘my dad taught me how to ride a bike..or my dad scared the shit out of my boyfriend...or my dad got me flowers because I did well..or my dad gave me tea when I was sick..’ etc. It’s also in those unforgettable moments when you’re leaving home to go away and beside your mother, your dad looks at you with that ‘my-little-birdy-is-flying-away-now’ look or when he gives you away at your wedding. So in general, dad’s rock. And after reading this book, I really missed my father. And I started to remember little things that included just my father and me.

Sarah Ockler never disappoints me. In fact, things just seem to get better and better. The Book Of Broken Hearts, is a great story about love and self-realisation. It’s your typical story of a protagonist thrown in a maze full of surprises.

See, when you’re in a maze, the first thing you try do is find a way out. You’re no psychic so you’re going to come across many dead ends. And if it’s a really fun maze then there are those dreaded obstacles and also those amazing rewards. The thing about a maze, is that you never give up and you just try and try and try to get out. So in a similar context. A maze is what is seventeen year old Jude Hernandez’s life. It’s summer, at the end of which , Jude will be heading towards her chosen college and will settle into a new life. But for now it’s summer and she has a bike that needs to be restored , a cute mechanic to handle, three sisters to juggle , friends to maintain communication with, mother to help, a lot of self confidence to build and a dad with Alzheimer’s to spend time with. Think she can get through this surprisingly tender maze? Yes please.

The Book Of Broken Heart, surprised me in many ways. The pace and writing style flows in amazingly and the narrator is fun to read about and see things through. It’s hilarious where it needs to be and sad wherever required.  The characters are great and the secondary characters contribute in perfect measures. It’s a bundle of technical niceness.

Jude’s character is one of my favourite characters in the contemporary genre. I felt for her. I understood her dilemma and it was understandable to see why and how she took certain decisions. The love interest, Emilio Vargas, the guy whose family she was warned about since the age of twelve, added nicely to the mix. I like how their relationship played out. It was nice and sweet and not too dramatic with a healthy flow of banter and intensity here and there. Then there were Jude’s enigmatic sisters, Mariposa, Lourdes and Araceli who with their sisterly awesomeness added to the Sarah Ockler paradise. There was Jude’s mother. And then there was Papi, Jude’s father. Who in my opinion, was my favourite person in the whole book because he reminded me of my father in so many ways.

I’ll tell you now, what I loved the best about the whole book. The relationships. And by that ,not only am I pointing finger towards the fantastic portrayal of father-daughter love or first love in terms of I-wish-to-use-your-body-like-a-jungle-gym (The OC reference never fails to disappoint me.) , but also the case where your friends come into place. People come and go. But it is only the ones stay in times of need, are the ones who count. Things change everyday. People drift apart not by their differences but simply because they changed. And then there are some who just simply stay and no change or difference, could ever tear them away. This is something that happens everyday in life and it’s amazing how Ms. Ockler has managed to inculcate this tiny everyday thought in her book too.

I will not lie. There were emotional moments and it is because of THIS. This thing I don’t know which manages to make me emotional and miss my dad and just invoke those poignant thoughts in general, makes me love this book even more.

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