The Book of Broken Hearts was my third Sarah Ockler book. I have previously read Twenty Boy Summer and Bittersweet. Twenty Boy Summer was heartbreaking and beautiful while bittersweet disappointed me. As for The Book of Broken Hearts, it might not have left a deep mark on me, but in the end it wasn't a complete disappointment.
Jude, the main protagonist, seems to find herself spending the last summer before college with her dad.. babysitting her dad. Recently he was diagnosed with onset alzheimers, a disease that has been taking away some of what made her father... her father. It was a bit sad seeing Jude dealing with her father alone. Her three older sisters are all older than her by a decade and her mom is working full time now. Some of the episodes her dad had would definitely leave me freaked out if I was in her situation. When Jude decides her last attempt to try and bring back her father is by fixing his beloved Harley, she ends up having to hire Emilio, a Vargas. Vargas is basically "A four letter world" in the Hernandez family because two of the older sisters had their hearts broken by two of the Vargas brothers. A blood oath seven years ago causes Jude to be wary of Emilio, but you all know the end of this romantic plot line. It was cute, sweet, but a bit too fast too soon for my taste. However I loved the relationship of the four sisters, I was so jealous of them all. I wish I had older sisters, especially ones that are close to my age (which is why I felt sorry for Jude and the 10 year gap).
Something that did annoy me is the over use of spanish words. I am all for doing that if the translation of the words and sentences were in a footnote. Half the time I would put down the book and what this word or that sentence means. Other times I wouldn't be close to the internet and tell myself to forget about it and move on. This kind of took away some of my enjoyment. Also, this is a 350 page book.. I spent most of that book in Jude's house; I just expected a bit more. Halfway through the book I was feeling a bored. I do have to say the ending was emotional, especially when the whole family came together. I really felt for them.
Also, I was kind of annoyed at Jude's supposed best friends. They view Jude's dad as if he was an anomaly. For god's sake, he is just a man with a disease, not even a contagious one so I don't understand the way they avoid him. At the beginning even Jude's family stopped taking her dad out or even allowing visitors because they didn't want any "embarrassing" incidents. I was really frustrated with their mentality. The end was bittersweet, you obviously don't expect a magical recovery of the disease because that isn't realistic, but the journey Jude and her family went through really opens up your eyes. If you are looking for just a cute romantic contemporary, then this isn't for you. This is a book about broken hearts, family, love, and trying to live with what life throws at you, exactly what Jude does in the end.