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.
My feelings on this book have swung back and forth like a crazy pendulum in the week since I read it. I meant to do this review at the end of last week, but I just couldn’t pin down what I think about it. I’m still not sure I’ve pinned it down, but I’ll try to work it out in the next few paragraphs. Bear with me here.
I absolutely loved Twenty Boy Summer. It was one of my favourite books of last year - the exploration of grief, friendship, and moving on from your first love just absolutely touched my heart. So it’s fair to say that I was expecting a lot from Fixing Delilah.
And again, Ockler wrote a sensitive story about how families can break apart but be put back together again. Her families and their problems, large and small, always strike me as very real. They have rivalries, ambitions, losses that all must be dealt with as a family unit - something that’s common in life but rather rare in young adult fiction.
My major issue with Fixing Delilah is that I never really felt connected to Delilah. While she was determined to get to the bottom of her family’s mysteries, her lack of empathy for her family members drove me a little bit nuts. Her mother and aunt were still trying to cope with the suicide of their youngest sister, but Delilah never seems to acknowledge that or allow them any latitude for it even when she’s demanding answers about her dead aunt’s life and how its end affected the family for years.
I did really enjoy the way she slowly formed real friendships over the course of the summer. Her friendship with Em was seriously well-written, and I loved that Delilah’s growing relationship with Patrick didn’t overshadow the importance of that friendship. Both Em and Patrick were particularly well-developed for secondary characters as were Delilah’s mother and aunt. I found myself wanting the book to focus on the relationship between the sisters or on Em's struggle with her father instead of on the main character.
There’s a lot of appreciate about this book - the writing is like a leisurely stroll on a summer day: descriptive and lovely. Unfortunately the story just didn’t connect with the me in the way Twenty Boy Summer did, but it’s still a good read that I'm sure other people will truly love. I’ll absolutely be picking up Sarah Ockler’s books in the future.