Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Title: Fixing Delilah
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Release date: December 1st 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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?
First sentence:
"Claire? It's Rachel. I'm afraid I have some bad news."
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved Sarah Ockler's debut, Twenty Boy Summer (my review) - one of my favorite books ever. So to say I had high expectations for Fixing Delilah would be an understatement. I knew I was going to love it. And while I didn't like Fixing Delilah quite as much as Twenty Boy Summer, it didn't disappoint!

The writing is what's best about this book. It's vivid and beautiful, just perfect. I know, that doesn't mean much - those are words we use all the time. But Sarah Ockler's writing is... wow. Her style is just perfect for me, and I fell in love with each of her sentences. This book makes me wish I wasn't too lazy to take notes while reading - I'd love to have some quotes written down to show you how amazing the writing is. But, since I am lazy, you'll just have to trust me - Sarah Ockler's writing is gorgeous. It flows nicely, and I felt like I was there alongside Delilah the entire time. The imagery is so beautiful and perfect. I could go on and on about Sarah Ockler's writing. It reminds me a lot of Sarah Dessen's style. Yes, comparing a contemporary YA author to Sarah Dessen is an obvious and boring choice, but it's true. Fixing Delilah sounds like something Sarah Dessen could have wrote. But - and this is a big deal - I think I like Sarah Ockler's style even more than Sarah Dessen's. Really, that's the highest praise any writing could get from me!

Okay, enough about the writing. I loved the story too. I really liked the focus on all things family-related. Why aren't there more contemporary YA books about family? I loved reading about Delilah's relationship with her mother. It's so, so real. Her aunt Rachel is a great character too. Each member of the family - living and dead - has a distinct and realistic personality. Usually, when there's some kind of secret the main character wants to uncover, it's predictable and boring, but not in Fixing Delilah. I loved finding out about the Hannafords' family history alongside Delilah. It's unraveled layer by layer, and the big secret you eventually find out about is not predictable at all. The family aspect is my favorite storyline; I loved seeing Delilah's relationship with her mom - and Delilah as a character - evolve over the course of the novel.

The other main storyline, Delilah's romance with her childhood friend Patrick, though, I didn't like as much. The relationship doesn't seem as realistic to me, and it develops too quickly. I don't want to call it insta-love, since Patrick and Delilah have known each other since they were kids, but still - they haven't seen each other for eight years, so it's not like they still know each other really well. I would have liked them to spend more time getting to know each other again before their friendship turns into something more. Patrick as a character, though, I did like -  he's sweet and swoonworthy. If their relationship had developed a little slower, the romance could have been great. The conflict between Patrick and Delilah towards the end didn't really work for me - it felt kind of constructed, and their fight is childish and melodramatic. That part annoyed me a little - it seemed like the author just wanted them to have a big fall-out, but really, I think I would have liked it better if that fight hadn't happened.

Delilah's friendship with Emily is okay. She's sweet, but I would have liked to see some more depth to her character - the way it is, with Emily not playing too important a role, what we find about her towards the end is kind of pointless.

I love the cover for Fixing Delilah - it's beautiful and fits the story perfectly. I just love the whole idea!

I didn't like Delilah's relationships with Patrick and Emily too much, and I would have preferred the story to focus even more on the family ties and less on those relationships. But I still loved Fixing Delilah - gorgeous, vivid writing, a fully-developed, relatable main character, and complex family bonds make Fixing Delilah worth reading. I have to get my hands on Bittersweet as soon as possible - I need more of Sarah Ockler's writing!

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. Excellent review! I'm a huge Sarah Dessen fan so I'll definitely have to check out Sarah Ockler very soon. :D

  2. Great review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks AND have a nice day! =D


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...