Estelle: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah OcklerThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler ( tweet | web )
Publication Date: May 27, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: summer, sisters, motorcycles, parents
Format read: Paperback ARC from Simon Pulse (Thank you!)

Summary: Jude is banking on the restoration of her father’s prized motorcycle to dig him out of his hazy sickness. As if things are not difficult enough at home, she realizes the person she and her father hired to do the job is a Vargas, as in part of the family that has successfully broken two of her sisters’ hearts. The oath she took years ago — to stay far far away or else — is threatened when she realizes she likes him. How could she explain that to her sisters? And how can she concentrate on her love life when the state of her family is so in flux?

Sarah Ockler is always going to have a special place in my book lovin’ heart because her novel, Twenty Boy Summer, was the first review Magan and I ever put up on RBR — our launching post! Then (almost a year later) in December, I fell in love with Ockler all over again after devouring Bittersweet (kind of a pun) and passed it on to Magan immediately. It had family, cupcakes, cute boys, and was just a good feeling read all the way around.

Well, ladies, gents, crickets, nothing in the world could have prepared me for the overwhelming amount of love I feel for The Book of Broken Hearts, a gem that has solidified Ockler’s spot on my most treasured author’s list. You have to believe me — despite a clumsy start, I read the book all the way through — twice.

The summer before college is supposed to be a time for reminiscing and having as much fun as possible, but instead of trying out for the community theatre musical or hanging out with her girlfriends every possible moment, Jude and her dad are restoring his old motorcycle. Unfortunately, Papi is in the early stages of Alzheimers and while he can’t remember where he lives or what kind of ice cream he likes, he does remember the good old days when he was cycling around Argentina with his crew. His memories make Jude hopeful: fix the bike, restore Papi’s memory.

The key to this project is Emilio, the cute guy at the motorcyle shop, a few years older than Jude, who is pumped to work on a vintage bike for the summer. There’s only one teenie tiny issue. He’s a Vargas, which means he is brothers with two of the boys who have broken the hearts of Jude’s sisters. So much so that in a fit of passion, the girls took an oath several years ago, promising to never get involved with a Vargas again. But that’s old news? Silly kid stuff, right? Well, Jude still takes the whole thing pretty seriously, a product of being the youngest sister and the pressure of the Holy Trinity, as she calls them.

But Papi likes him, and Jude is like, “This is strictly a professional thing.”

Yes, Emilio is professionally adorable and flirty. But as much as Jude paints him as this bad boy with no heart, he is patient and thoughtful and sweet too. As you can see, Jude is losing this inner battle. And the chemistry between the two was seriously felt all the way to my toes, and Ockler does the perfect job of stretching it out. Because at the same time Jude is fighting her feelings for Emilio, her dad’s condition is getting worse, her friends are MIA (wtf?), and her mom and sisters are banding together to figure out the next step for their family.

There’s nothing that makes my heart hurt as much as a sick parent, especially such a young one. I easily imagined myself in this position and felt for Jude so much. Helpless. Scared. Not only for Jude but for her mother who worked hard and left Argentina to marry her husband, and all the sisters who weren’t living at home anymore. Family is the core of this book. The absolute core, and Ockler hits upon so many relatable situations: how hard it is for family to get together, how they bond during tragedy, and also the pressure to be the person they want you to be.

Emilio says something to Jude that really struck a chord with me. He said she’s the kind of person who wishes for a time machine, to go back to the days when everything was fine and dandy and her friendships were the same and she was the little sister who never stood up for herself. The emphasis we put on the past — it’s so real and so hard to move on from. Because how can things change so quickly? But Jude has to face that, and despite the ever-changing nucleus of her family, she has to make decisions for herself. Because she has a life to lead too.

The Book of Broken Hearts made me swoon, it made me cry, and it made me feel so many things relative to my own life right now. I loved the mix of Argentinian and Puerto Rican culture, too. It’s one of those books that I was sad to finish; I noticed myself feeling more and more attached to the story as time passed. This is truly a testament to Ockler’s writing and how much her craft has grown since her earlier books; she’s not relying on a love triangle to create tension but instead has found a natural balance between family, romance, and friendships. I can’t wait to read it again and again.

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24 thoughts on “Estelle: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I think you & Anna are trying to kill me with your reviews today, lol. Seriously though, I can NOT wait to read this one! There are so many things you described that really grab me when it comes to what I like to read. I have a feeling I’ll be relating a lot to this one.. particularly with the sick parent, and being the youngest of sisters. I am going to buy this the day it comes out!

  2. Kelly says:

    Had I not just read Twenty Boy Summer (and loved it), I would have passed over this book without a second glance. But seeing Sarah’s name on the cover gave me pause, and reading your review makes me want to run out and pick up a copy, like yesterday. I really don’t think I love anything more than a great family dynamic in my contemporaries, so to see that Ockler makes family and bonding and tragedy the core of this is giving my goosebumps – the good kind!

  3. Natalie says:

    This book sounds really good! I haven’t read anything by Sarah Ockler before, but I really want to! Perhaps on my next book haul I’ll pick up something of hers. I’ve heard really great things about Twenty Boy Summer, so maybe I’ll get that one! Also, I’m excited for this book because I haven’t read one lately that has caused me to have SO MANY FEELS!!! and I think that this book will definitely do that for me 🙂

  4. Cynthia says:

    oooo this sounds amazing!!! I loved Twenty Boy Summer but I haven’t read anything by Ockler since, even though I own Fixing Delilah and Bittersweet. I should really read those since I already have them, but now I want to read this one so bad!!! Ack!! Great review Estelle! =)

  5. Annie says:

    I have been anxiously waiting for this to come out so I can read it! It sounds so good, seriously! I can’t believe I still haven’t read a book by Sarah Ockler yet – she sounds exactly like what I look for in an author! So happy you liked this – sure I won’t be disappointed!

  6. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts says:

    I’m so glad you loved this, Estelle! After reading Bittersweet by Ockler a few weeks ago and seriously adoring it, I’m really eager to try more of her writing. It’s fantastic to hear that this is just as amazing as Bittersweet was!

  7. Dana says:

    Can I be honest and say that I didn’t even read your whole review before I added this to my TBR list? Sounds like something that I would enjoy. Will favorite your post so I can read it again after I read the book for myself. 😉

  8. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook says:

    This is the second really positive review I’ve come across today for this book. I have it as an egalley, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’ve never read a book by Ockler (seriously, there must be something wrong with me!) but now I’m really excited to read this one.

    Thanks for the review!

  9. Lori says:

    Oh! I loved this one so much! I was really surprised by how layered it was. It had all the elements I love. I was sad to see it end too.

  10. Alexa Y. says:

    Your review of this book is SO compelling and SO you in tone. I LOVE IT. I also really, really want to read this book! It sounds phenomenal, and a bit sad, and a bit happy and a bit of everything in between those two things. I love books about families, as you know, so that’s a point of interest. And of course, the romance that should not be BUT can’t be helped is also a drawing point. Can’t wait to check this out!

  11. Rachel says:

    I obviously trust your word when it comes to all things contemporary so I am incredibly pleased that you liked this book so much. We all know I adored Bittersweet, so I couldn’t be more excited to read this one. And it has boys. I like boys.

  12. Hannah @ So Obsessed With says:

    I haven’t read anything by Ockler yet, and I don’t think I’d be dying to grab this one based on the cover. But I love your excitement – and that you read it twice – so I definitely think I’ll be keeping an eye out for it at my library! I’ve been buying way too many books lately, so I can’t follow your “Buy It” instructions but I definitely want to read it now!

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