A poignant coming-of-age story intertwines loyalty, disease and summer love.
At age 10, Jude Hernandez pledged to her three older sisters that she would never get involved with the Vargas family, which has a long history of breaking Hernandez girls’ hearts. However, fast-forward to the summer before college, when Jude finds it hard to keep her promise as she and Emilio Vargas, a mechanic, connect over rehabbing her father’s vintage Harley. Although not really a biker—theater is more her thing—Jude spearheads the renovation project with hopes of bonding with her father and recharging his memory before it can be stripped away by El Demonio—early-onset Alzheimer’s. Despite her promise to her sisters and her frequent review of their scrapbook of broken hearts detailing the Vargas’ transgressions, as the summer progresses and her father’s health fails, Jude is drawn closer to Emilio. Narrator Jude’s voice is steady, honest and clear as she faces head-on her responsibility for her father’s care, her desire to step from her sisters’ shadows, her own genetic connection with her father’s disease and forbidden love.
At its core, this is a touching father-daughter story made even stronger by realistic family complications and Jude’s need to find her own voice. (Fiction. 14-17)