I read this book between March 5th and March 8th, 2020 and gave it three stars. By now I’ve read three books by this author and I can tell you that all three of them have had hard-hitting topics in some capacity or another. Out of those, though, Fixing Delilah is probably the one in which these themes are more present throughout the plot.
Sarah Ockler has an amazing ability to hook you from the very first chapter, even if it is one sentence long. Add to that the fact that this is a summer read, which I’m all for, and you have me. The main character of this story is Delilah and she’s going through some shit, acting out for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, her mom has just received a call that her estranged mother just died, which means that she and Delilah need to travel to where her grandparents used to live, a house they haven’t visited in eight years. If you know my reading tastes, then you know I love the trope about the main character spending time elsewhere.
Of course, since this is a YA contemporary, we get a romance, and this had the potential to be super cute. Delilah reunites with her childhood friend Patrick and from the moment they meet, they are inseparable. I thought for a moment that we’d have no drama between them and I was super happy, but no, we get it and I didn’t like it. More on that later, though.
Romance is not the focus of this book at all. This is a story about Delilah finding out things about her family history, trying to fix her relationship with her mom, and at the same time coming to terms with who she is. It is a coming of age story that revolves around family and friendship.
I’ve said many good things about this book and at this point, you might be wondering why I gave it three stars since I liked it so much. Well, for one, there was talk about depression and mental illness, but I think it could have been handled better. At one point one of the characters implies that the grandmother could be manipulative because of her depression and that was why they cut ties with her. Although it is true that we are nobody’s saviors when it comes to mental illness, I didn’t like that it was referred to almost as a character trait.
Like I said earlier, I’ll now expand on the relationship and why to me it didn’t end up cutting it. I understand that Delilah and Patrick had been friends for years, so I recognize that they have a shared history the readers know nothing about. However, the last time they saw each other they were nine and ten years old, so I do feel like we missed that phase of their relationship when they get to know each other as teenagers. Also, this could have been a “me” thing, but I felt like Patrick was always the one who initiated their physical contact, and though Delilah does not express that she feels uncomfortable, it does feel kind of like he is forcing the contact by not asking her first.
There was one thing that made me roll my eyes so hard I almost got a headache and it was the Emily situation. Emily is this new girl in town who has become friends with Patrick and as she and Delilah get to know each other, they form this friend group. It’s ridiculous to even be excited by this, but I thought “wow, finally.” I thought I would finally get a boy and a girl who were friends without there being drama surrounding them. I thought I would finally get two girls being friends and not fighting over a boy. I say I thought because I didn’t get this in this bok and I was super frustrated. Guess what? Emily liked girls. And guess what else? The author used this as some sort of a plot twist. Definitely not a good choice, Sarah.
Tell me about a *thing* that authors do that you can’t help but feel disappointed every time you read.
Love, Miss Camila