Fixing Delilah, by Sarah Ockler
Reviewed by Isabella, age 14, New Jersey
Delilah Hannaford's life is far from perfect. Her workaholic mom can't stay away from her phone long enough to have a decent conversation, her boyfriend doesn't care about her, and there are family secrets no one will talk about. But when her grandmother passes away, Delilah and her mom reunite with the rest of her family at the lake house to plan the funeral. She hasn't been there since she was young because of a huge family fight, but now that she's back, things have changed, especially her childhood best friend Patrick. This will prove to be the summer that changes everything - even Delilah.
Delilah is a complex character that readers will be able to relate to. She struggles with the same issues and insecurities experienced by many teenagers but remains a strong female protagonist. With her distinct personality and human flaws, it feels as if she's ready to walk straight off the page. Her relationship with Patrick is just as realistic, developing at a reasonable pace and full of moments that are sweet without being cloying or cliché.
Although the romance is a large component of the novel, it's not the main focus. A good part of Fixing Delilah is devoted to the interactions between the Hannaford women and their complicated web of lies and betrayals, a relief to those tired of the romance-saturated market. Readers will find themselves flipping pages, as anxious to uncover the secrets as the characters.
Fixing Delilah is, at first sight, a traditional summer novel, from its idyllic setting in Red Falls to the budding relationship between Delilah and Patrick. However, it deals with themes of family, trust, and loss as well, showing it to be something deeper. Although some may find the ending to be too perfectly packaged, this is ultimately a novel that fans of Sarah Dessen and the contemporary genre in general will enjoy.
I give it 5 stars (out of a possible 5).