Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: The Book of Broken Hearts

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.  Quoted from Goodreads


I'll admit right up front, I'm going to be a little bit unfair to this book. Here's the thing, expectations matter to me.  If I want an apple, a banana isn't going to cut it.  That's sort of the case with this book. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book, but it wasn't really what I was looking for. Call me shallow, but I wanted more of a light teen romance, and this wasn't it.  Crazy, I know.  Based on the book blurb what else could it be? I really should have picked up on the word poignant.

By my ranking, here's what the book is really about. 1) a coming of age story. Yep, that's the real story of Jude.  It's how she grows up.  2) Jude's relationship with her father and his dealing with alzheimer's. While this was sweet and sad all at the same time, and handled really well, it got one word (ailing) in the description.  And finally, 3) Jude's romance with Emilio.

I know I almost always give my rating at the end, but not this time. It's only getting 3 stars from me. Most of this book, I kept hoping it would morph into something it wasn't because of the blurb. I wasn't looking to suffer through Jude's father's decline with her or watch Jude grow up because of this.  It was well written, just not what I was looking for that day.

Okay, I'll stop beating the expectations horse.  This book did have some wonderful things about it.  I love Jude's family and their relationships.  Her parents, sisters, and even friends each get their own distinct personalities, despite their limited page count. The author did a good job at getting the family dynamic down, especially the heartbreak of loosing their father over and over to alzheimer's.  Jude's in an interesting position in her family, baby/only child, and I really liked seeing her relationship with her older sisters.  

The romance was cute.  Emilio as adorable and just what Jude needed that summer. Still, that circles back to her family and Jude's growing up. Falling in love with him, sort of let her work out her relationships with her sisters and become her own person.  Even the ending was almost more a tribute to her father than a purely romantic adventure with her boyfriend. 

Honestly, if you're looking for a great coming of age story, this is it.  There's heartbreak, growing up, sadness, and romance, all thrown together over one long summer.  If I had know this from the beginning, I'm sure the book would have earned more stars, so now you're warned.  It's an excellent book for what it is, it just wasn't want I expected it to be.

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