cover image The Book of Broken Hearts

The Book of Broken Hearts

Sarah Ockler. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4424-3038-9

The summer before college, Jude Hernandez is taking care of her father, who is rapidly deteriorating from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Hoping for a miracle, she hires a young, local mechanic to fix up her Papi’s beloved Harley. Emilio Vargas is good at his job and kind to her father, and Jude realizes he has “taken better care of my heart than anyone I’d ever known.” But Jude swore years ago to avoid all Vargas men after two of Emilio’s brothers stomped on the hearts of her older sisters; she even signed her promise in their homemade Book of Broken Hearts. The severity of the family feud is somewhat contrived, but Ockler’s (Bittersweet) portrait of Jude’s father’s illness is tragic and true. Lyrical writing helps readers understand Jude’s complicated emotions, including whether to trust Emilio with the “fragile, eggshell words” that describe Papi’s condition and why she is so attached to the summer motorcycle project. Teens will swiftly understand that it is Papi who is most likely to break Jude’s heart, and Emilio may be the key to healing it. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (May)