What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Book of Broken Hearts is a touching, sweet, romantic coming-of-age story by Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer) that will really resonate with anyone who's been in love. There's a lot of swearing, true to the teenage mindset ("s--t," "f--k," "ass"), but 17-year-old narrator-protagonist Jude is a strong, independent person who makes good choices for herself and her family as she copes with forbidden love (her boyfriend's from the "wrong" family) and her dad's early-onset Alzheimer's. There's some flirtation with sexual innuendo and passionate kissing, but whether sex has occurred is open to interpretation. Traumatic events are conveyed without detailed descriptions of violence.
What's the story?
Jude is the youngest of four daughters whose parents are from Argentina. She decides to spend the last summer at home before college with her father, recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. When his old motorcycle resurfaces, Jude hopes that restoring it will keep the disease at bay. To help them with the restoration, Jude hires a handsome boy and finds herself quickly falling for him. Too bad he belongs to the one family Jude and her three older sisters have sworn off forever. Isolated from her high-school friends, Jude shoulders the full-time responsibility for Papi's care while trying to hide Emilio's true identity from her family. Eventually, the truth comes out, and Jude has to learn to let go of the past and of the things she can't control, and summon the strength of character to follow her own path.
Is it any good?
Thanks to Sarah Ockler's poignant writing and spot-on voice, our hearts flutter right along with Jude's as she writes her own entry in THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. But romance isn't the only cause of heartbreak. There are also changing friendships, family loyalty, and coping with disease, to name a few of the others. Ockler explores each with authenticity and warmth.
For the first quarter of the book, Jude comes across as a bit shallow and flighty, due mostly to a heavy hand with the superficial trappings of teendom. It doesn't last long, though, and we're soon shown a strong, admirable young woman. Her stubborn refusal to accept her father's condition and conflicted feelings about family loyalty, caused by her growing love for Emilio, will have readers of any age rooting for Jude's happiness.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why stories about forbidden love are so popular. Would the story of Emilio and Jude be as interesting or compelling if he wasn't from the "wrong" family?
How much do you know about Alzheimer's disease? How does Jude cope with the changes it brings? Would you want to know if you carry the Alzheimer's genetic mutation? Would you make different choices if you knew for sure?
Have you ever taken an oath? Were you ever tempted to break it?
|Topics:||Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs|
|Publication date:||May 21, 2013|
|Number of pages:||368|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle|