Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah OcklerFixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Also by this author: #scandal
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2010-12-01
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Depression & Mental Illness, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Parents, Siblings, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
Pages: 300
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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five-stars

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

Delilah’s life is pretty messed up. She was a relatively good student, who rarely got in trouble. However, with the culmination of accidentally stealing lipstick, having a dirty photo of her show up on a school gossip blog, and getting caught out past curfew, it is clear something is wrong and she is in need of fixing. However, it’s not just Delilah who is dealing with difficulties. Delilah’s mother, Claire, is essentially glued to her phone and rarely makes time for Delilah. When Claire’s mother Nana dies, Delilah and Claire must go to Vermont over the summer to ready the former Hannaford household to be sold and to take care of the final arrangements for Nana. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler is full of family secrets to be uncovered by Delilah, and overall an excellent read.

I was never all that big on Contemporary Fiction, but as I have had a lucky streak when it comes to contemporary YA lately, I think my mind is changing. Fixing Delilah is fabulous. I never found it to be overwrought or melodramatic. The story unfolds in what I think is a logical progression. We don’t see characters who are too good or too perfect to be true, but people who straight up just are people, good bad or indifferent. Delilah is a girl who I wouldn’t mind being friends with because she’s real. She’s not hellbent on kicking ass or making out. She’s concerned about the truth. I like that a whole lot. I mean, sure, she makes some crap decisions, but she’s a teenager, you can’t quite expect her to be perfect. Plus, I think through her character arc we really do see her change from girl with a wall to girl who lets herself be vulnerable. I love that.

Then, of course, there is the sizzling romance in this book between Patrick and Delilah. And it is the best kind! The kind where they were best friends as little kids, but haven’t seen each other in years, but when they reunite it comes back and blossoms! OH OH and he is a NICE guy. See, nice guys don’t always finish last. As a reader, we see complications and dramz and all the things that make first love so much fun to read about. Plus, Ockler can really write a kissing scene. It takes talent to write one and not make me cross my eyes.

ALSO can we just talk about how mental illness isn’t invisible, invalidated, or swept under the rug in Fixing Delilah. Depression plays quite a large role in this book. However, the characters who are depressed are shown to be more than ‘a person who has depression.’ Depression isn’t their defining characteristic. I like that, I like when books explore issues a bit deeper, but don’t let the issue be the one thing that defines the person.

PLUS the parent/family is not invisible. I mean, sure we don’t hear about Delilah’s dad for reasons which are explained in the book. BUT, her family does exist and we see multiple conversations and scenes with family members. I know we often lament the lack of legit parents in YA. Fixing Delilah fills that void. Delilah’s mother is not June Cleaver, nor, is she insane. Her mother is like a real mother, with work, and problems, but ultimately love for her child and family.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler is a fast, one-sitting type of read. However it’s one that will make you want to hug your family, let down your walls, and embrace your friends. I look forward to reading more from Ockler and more contemporary YA overall. (Any recs??)

Other Reviews:

Harmony’s Radiant Reads
Reclusive Bibliophile
Pure Imagination
Books By Their Cover

five-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Excellent review, April! I’ve been wondering about this one, and I’m excited to try it because I love Ockler’s writing voice…she has a knack for approaching difficult and taboo issues, much like LHA 🙂

  2. Yay for reading contemporary fiction!

    I also loved that this book had a real family and people with real problems. And yet nothing about it made it an issue book.

    I also agree that Ockler really does know how to write a good kissing scene. Have you read 20 Boy Summer yet? It’s pretty steamy, but without being awkward.

  3. This one looks pretty good – thanks for the review. I’ve added it to my Goodreads.

  4. I really want to read this one..especially after seeing such good things said about it from you! I have a feeling I’d really love Delilah. I like real characters that aren’t perfect but have things to work through.

    I love that you mention that it deals with the parentals because I have to agree that it seems the YA that I have read lack a certain realistic and true portrayal of parents being involved.

    Great review!

  5. I really, really enjoyed Ockler’s debut, Twenty Boy Summer. I picked it up at the library, expecting a frothy, superficial novel (with the title, can you blame me?), and found an unexpectedly deep story with excellent character development. I’ve been looking forward to reading Fixing Delilah, and I’m so glad you liked it!

    PS – Found you through Steph Su’s blog!

  6. Just finished this, so I came by to check your review. I loved Patrick, but couldn’t understand why he was so hung up on Delilah (as opposed to, say, ME). What a great character he is!

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