April 1, 2015

Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Publication date: Dec. 1, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: 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? (goodreads.com)

The good
I should probably just say it right now: I'm a Sarah Ockler fan. I started off with The Book of Broken Hearts (my fave!), then Bittersweet, then Twenty Boy Summer and most recently, Fixing Delilah. This book is my second favorite of the bunch and reminded me why I enjoy her writing as much as I do. Her stories always feature realistically flawed characters, complicated friendships and even more complicated yet rich family dynamics. Delilah Hannaford is at a bit of a crossroads. This is what her life used to be like: her and her mom against the world, a good student and summers spent with her tight-knit family. In the present: her mom has been MIA since becoming a successful business woman, Delilah is involved with a guy who doesn't seem to care and her family hasn't been close since a huge fight they had eight years ago (and they all refuse to talk about it).

When her grandmother passes away suddenly, it's time to revisit the past as her mother drags them both back to Red Falls, Vermont where she used to spend every summer as a kid. They meet up with her Aunt Rachel at her grandmother's home which not only gives Delilah a chance at a fresh start but also a chance to find out what happened to her family in the first place.

From the get-go, Delilah's voice was so clear to me. Real, lost and filled with a sense of longing for what once was. It was easy to slip into her shoes as she tries to deal with her family and reconnect to a town that was once a huge part of her childhood. It brings up memories long forgotten and reunites with her old neighbor and best friend, Patrick. Their (re)connection is immediate and so charming! I looked forward to every scene they had together. (And I find myself asking yet again - where are these boys in real life?) But the heart of this book is family. It brought up so many questions. What was the fight about? Why did her mom and Aunt Rachel stop speaking? What is her mother hiding? I did not for one minute guess the answers I got and the way everything unfolded was incredibly well-done. I just couldn't help but get emotional for Delilah, her mother and Aunt Rachel - these three strong, imperfect Hannaford women who love each other so deeply.

(No) Reservations
I love being able to say I have no reservations!

Do I recommend?
I do! You should read Sarah Ockler's books period but this one (along with The Book of Broken Hearts) is especially dear to me.

2 comments:

  1. I still haven't read an Ockler book but based on your review it sounds like this would be a good place to start! Thanks for highlighting this one. I hadn't heard of it before!

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  2. I've only read one Sarah Ockler book (The Book of Broken Hearts), but I really enjoyed that one! I was leaning towards reading Bittersweet next, but something about Fixing Delilah just appeals to me. You did a wonderful job highlighting the best parts of this book in your review, and it kind of makes me want to read it just that much more!

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