By: Sarah Ockler
"We all long for what could have been"
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?
summary from book
My Rating: 5/5
Fixing Delilah is an amazing novel that centres on one of my favourite topics addressed in literature: family. Aside from loving well developed and three dimensional characters, one aspect I most enjoy is discovering the relationship that the characters share. I love knowing their story through and through, seeing their bond displayed firsthand or lack thereof. I love discovering why or how their relationship came to be in its current state and watching as the pieces either continue to unravel furthermore or slowly heal, mending back together for a first time or once more.
All of these traits and characteristics present themselves in Fixing Delilah as family and the inevitable secrets they come to shelter and withhold is one of the main focuses of this novel.
Character wise, I absolutely loved each and every one, flaws and all. Delilah had such a strong voice. From the first page I already had a very good grasp of who she was and what she was all about. I think that she was extremely realistic in everything she thought or did and just a fantastic protagonist through and through. I don't find myself disliking many protagonists when reading and usually am fond of and sympathize with the majority but not many of them stand out and command the same attention much like Delilah.
The supporting cast of characters were all very wonderful as well. You have sweet and adorable Patrick, Claire, Delilah's workaholic Mom as well as her eccentric aunt Rachel and so on. I loved the complex dynamic that each character shared with one another and how it was represented and addressed. The bond between each individual with another was special and multifaceted regardless of being friendly, tumultuous, or somewhere in between. The Hannaford family is one filled with many secrets (like many families in real life) and I enjoyed uncovering all of the harboring details that many of the characters had tried to suppress and tackle on their own.
Aside from a great plot and remarkable characters, the physical writing in this book (what I sometimes refer to as pen-to-paper, the words themselves and their technique) is beautiful. Sarah Ockler loves imagery and she definitely knows how to utilize it, showcasing it in its full potential. Much like her magnificent debut novel Twenty Boy Summer, I felt as if I were in Red Falls with Delilah and her family. Every aspect in Fixing Delilah was so vivid, so crystal clear in my mind that the majority of this novel played out in my head like a movie does onscreen.
Overall: You must read this book. It is beautifully constructed, filled with wonderful characters, realistic situations and moments that we can all relate to in some way or another. I think that Sarah Ockler writes some of the best contemporary YA present on the market today, her books reminding me very much of the lovely and talented Sarah Dessen. Both authors write in a similar style but overall for me, what I find so alike is the ways in which their novels make me feel; inspired, happy, excited and like anything is possible.