21 May 2013

Teen Tuesday

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler (Simon Pulse hardcover, 5/21/2013).

Jude is much younger than her three older sisters.  She's been the only Hernandez daughter at home for the last five years, but she's graduated from high school and preparing to go to Denver University in the fall.

Meanwhile, she plans to spend the summer hanging out with her father, who's recently been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.  Wanting her last summer at home to be as "normal" as possible, she decides to hire someone to rebuild  Papi's old motorcycle, Valentina.

At Duchess Custom Cycles, the owner recommends a young mechanic named Emilio, who agrees to come out to the Hernandez place to work on it when he's not at the shop.  Jude thinks Emilio seems like a nice guy, and he's cute.

Then she finds out that his last name is Vargas.  When she was very young, her sisters made her swear a blood oath that she'd never get involved with a Vargas boy because they're heartbreakers.  More than that, Jude doesn't really know.

What she does learn as the summer progresses, is that Emilio is a pretty nice guy.  Even though she hasn't told him about Papi's illness, Emilio is gentle with him, and seems to instinctively know how to deal with him.  But she dreads what will happen if her sisters find out about him.

The Book of Broken Hearts is a love story about Jude's relationship with her family, as well as a tale of romance between two teens.  Sarah Ockler deals with the subject of Alzheimer's sensitively, but with humor in an engrossing story about a young woman growing into confidence and  individuality while  dealing with some issues that are just as difficult for her parents and older siblings as they are for an 18-year-old.

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing both print and digital galleys. 

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