The Book of Broken Hearts, by Sarah Ockler.
The only guy in all of Blackfeather who could help - the guy we had just so desperately hired - was the only guy in all of Blackfeather I was bound by blood, honor, and threat of dismemberment from every female in the Hernandez family to unilaterally ignore.
I'm not kidding about the blood part. There was an oath and everything, carefully scrawled into an infamous black book that once held all my sisters' secrets.
I almost laughed.
Of course it was him.
Emilio fucking Vargas.
I've read a few of Sarah Ockler's books before this one, and they're all great YA books. I think this one, however, may actually be the best of the three that I have now read.
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.
What was interesting about this book was that it was not your typical YA novel - you have a romance going on between Jude and Emilio Vargas, but Jude is dealing with something a bit more important too: her father, fairly young (50 or so), has early-onset Alzheimers. Some of the time, he's fine, but other times, he forgets what year it is, or where he is, or what he's doing. In one scene, she and her sister Mari take him for mint chocolate chip ice cream, his favorite, and he starts yelling that the store is trying to cheat them, and that this isn't what they ordered; later, when they leave the story, he wonders out loud if they have mint chocolate chip, because that's his favorite.
Because all of this is going on, Jude is hesitant to get involved with Emilio - and, oh yeah, there's the family Vargas dating history too, like one of her sisters being cheated on by a Vargas and the other being dumped days before her marriage to one was supposed to take place.
I liked The Book of Broken Hearts a lot because of all of this; Ockler provides so many details in the novel that makes it come to life. The title actually comes from a book that Jude's sisters started when they were teenagers, and she was 12, of the same name - they wrote about their heartaches and heartbreaks in it, and that's also when they made her take a blood pact with them (becoming "blood sisters," in a way) that they would never get involved with a Vargas again.
I also liked how Jude wanted to have a "normal summer" - her last one before college - but felt like she needed to take care of her Papi (father) all summer instead. Jude seems to have more depth to her than the typical YA character, and Ockler conveys this by using first-person so we can see what Jude is thinking before she acts.
4.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.