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What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted

Sarah Ockler's latest novel is all about boys and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted

BOOK REPORT for The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Cover Story: Ikea Art
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Straight Up With a Spanish Twist
Bonus Factors: Diversity, Sisters
Relationship Status: Amigos

Cover Story: Ikea Art

Maybe it's the daisy, but this cover totally looks like something a girl would have hanging in the bathroom of her first apartment. It's not awful, but it's incredibly generic.

The Deal:

When her father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, Jude Hernandez knew her life would change in unforeseeable ways. But the one thing she definitely could never have predicted was falling for a Vargas brother. Ever since two of her sisters were betrayed by Vargas men, Jude vowed to stay away from any entanglements with that family. But now one of them, Emilio, is the only person willing to work on Papi's old motorcycle, which Jude believes is the key to bringing her father's memories back to life. After grudgingly accepting Emilio's offer of help, Jude finds it increasingly difficult to maintain her faith, not only in the vow she took, but in the belief that her father will ever get better.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Jude has a wonderfully fiery spirit, and her sassy asides instantly endeared her to me. She's wildly conflicted, but not in a teen angst, emo kind of way. Her burdens are weighty, and rather than whine about them, she carries as much as she can while moving forward. I was touched by her love and respect for both of her parents, particularly her tender patience for her father. Thanks to Papi's condition, she's older and wiser than her years, but at the same time, she's still a teenager, full of uncertainty and hormones. She's a good girl with a good heart, and I would be honored to be her friend. (Also, I wouldn't mind if she brought some empanadas to our next slumber party.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Emilio Vargas has the bad boy looks and the bad boy charm without the bad boy behavior, which, in my opinion, makes him infinitely more crushable. Plus, there's the element of forbidden love, which always adds a tantalizing facet to any romance. I could have done with a more substantial build-up, because I didn't quite buy Emilio's insta-interest in Jude, but I could definitely feel the chemistry between the two of them.

Talky Talk: Straight Up With a Spanish Twist

Sarah Ockler's overall style is frank and engaging, and Jude's strong, dynamic voice lights the pages with energy. It's tough to drop a different language into a book without dumbing the whole thing down, and I was really impressed by the way Ockler naturally wove Spanish into the narration and dialogue. She rarely resorted to the repeat method (for example, writing, "Mi amor! My love!"), which is good, because otherwise, I would not be writing this report, having thrown the book across the room. Instead, she sprinkles in Spanish words and phrases that add cultural richness without tripping up a non-Spanish-speaking reader. To be honest, she probably could have been even more liberal with the espanol, but it's a tricky thing to balance, and I appreciated her efforts.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

The cultural heritage of the Hernandez family is an important aspect of the story without being the point of the story. It was refreshing to read about a heroine who also happened to be a person of color, and Jude's Latina background added a vibrant layer to her character.

Bonus Factor: Sisters

Jude is the youngest of four daughters, and even though she's the last one left at home, her sisters remain a strong presence in her life. Their relationships are complicated but their bonds are strong, and I was charmed by the glimpses of their sisterhood (particularly their black book and dramatic vow against the Vargas brothers).

Casting Call:

Demi Lovato as Jude

Carlos Pena as Emilio

Relationship Status: Amigos

I'm happy to count this book as a friend. It's got a great sense of humor, but it's not afraid to wrestle with serious issues, and I really appreciate its perspective. We're not close enough for bestie status, and I'm not sure when we'll hang out again, but I'm certainly glad we met.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I received a free review copy from Simon Pulse.  I received neither cocktails nor money for this review (dammit!). The Book of Broken Hearts is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).