Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Challenge Day 2: The Book of Broken Hearts

15805597Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date:  May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre(s): YA Contemporary 
Pages: 352
*Stand alone*
*Part of the Christmas Challenge!*


Summary (Goodreads): 

 When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

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.

(Phew, just barely got this review in!)

Wow... just wow.

It seems light and fluffy on the top, but this book is incredibly deep.  

I love Jude as a character.  She's both vulnerable and incredibly strong at the same time.  Her growth in this book is amazing; she goes from being the "accident" child to someone who knows who she is and someone who knows she has a place in this family.  Her bond with her sisters and especially her father is very sweet.  The scenes where her father has his melt downs are heartbreaking. It's not just the contrast between how he had been a few minutes ago and how he's acting now; Jude is just now getting to learn about her father and form that special bond with him that she couldn't form with him before.  It's devastating to know that one day he won't remember this bond they had.  It's also really sad to see how much hope Jude placed on fixing the bike, because even if Jude was blinded by this false hope, we, as readers, can see that nothing is going to bring her father back.  In that sense, this book reminds me a lot of Second Chance Summer because in both cases, you wish there was some miracle drug or something magical to come and fix this situation, but this is life.  It's brutal, it's harsh, but it's beautiful too.

Can I just tell you how awesome Emilio is?  He's a ginormous sweetheart, and I'm so glad Jude had someone like him-so kind and understanding (even if he is a bit flirty ;))- through this rough time.  He helps Jude to actually live, to remember the past but not hold onto it, and to become her own self, and I think that's the best kind of relationship: he's not just eye-candy, and he's not just there for kisses.  He's there for her, and to bring out the best in her, even when everything seems so hopeless.  His own scars teach Jude that it is possible to still remember the past, but to let go of it to live to the fullest.

I love how the book of broken hearts fits into all this.  It's ultimately, I think, a symbol of the sisters' bond- minus Jude.  Jude's always been the outcast in the family, the baby, the one left behind.  When the book is finally given to her, it should have drawn her into her sisters' "Holy Trinity"- but it doesn't.  Jude's broken heart doesn't come from some guy, but from the love of her father who will soon forget who she is. Her summer with her father can't be written with words or handed down/shared, like her old cut offs and t-shirts from her sisters, but it's something of her own and will forever be hers through her memories and who she becomes in the future.  And that ending when she burns it? It's incredible to see how far she's come, from that shaky girl to this woman who knows life's harsh, but she's going to live it to the fullest-just like her father wants her too.

There's more I can say about this book, but none of it will do it justice. The best thing would be to read it ;). It's ultimately about family and about letting go of the past (but never forgetting it) to live.  Heartbreaking and sweet, I guarantee it won't disappoint.

Happy readings! :)
Merry (early!) Christmas everyone :)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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