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Fixing Delilah Hardcover – December 1, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–When Del's grandmother's dies, the teen and her mother, Claire, immediately head to Red Falls, VT. The house is a Victorian relic where her mother and aunt grew up and it holds fond memories for Del, particularly of Rickie, the boy who was once her inseparable companion. An unexplained fight between her mother and her grandmother ended any contact. Claire is a secretive sort who has a demanding job and seems to pay attention only when Del gets in trouble, and Del has obliged. The summer is spent working on clearing the house and repairing it to get it ready to sell, with the aid of Rickie, now known as Patrick, and his father, who run a construction business. Romance ensues, along with uncovering clues about the family mystery regarding an aunt who died at age 19. Although the plot is sometimes melodramatic, romance lovers will enjoy the tender love scenes, while more practical folk may tire of Del's vacillations and whining. The ending seems telegraphed, and nothing is new, except a friend who declares herself a lesbian. The story will satisfy readers who crave romance that focuses on the moments spent kissing and touching rather than on the sex.–Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, COα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Tragedy and deception tore 17-year-old Delilah’s family apart nearly a decade ago. After her grandmother dies, Delilah and her mother head to Vermont for another summer at the family home, where they settle the estate and revive unresolved family matters. Delilah discovers her deceased aunt Stephanie’s lost diary; as she reads about her teenage aunt’s relationships and her slip into depression, Delilah is worried to see parallels in her own life. She also learns of the secret that split the family apart, and threatens to do so again. A nice cast of characters adds a homey feel and small-town color to the narrative, including Patrick, Delilah’s childhood buddy, who has grown steadfast and handsome. Ockler’s follow-up to 20 Boy Summer (2009) is another perfect fit for those seeking expressive writing, emotional depth, and lush, cinematic romance, cementing her comfortably next to similar teen favorites like Deb Caletti, Carolyn Mackler, and Sarah Dessen. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316052094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316052092
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,696,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Etana on January 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading "Twenty Boy Summer," I was excited to see what Ockler had in store for her follow-up novel. While "Fixing Delilah" is not the tear-jerker that "Twenty Boy Summer" was, Ockler's story of the Hannaford family's secrets was a compelling read, full of suspense and innocent romance.

The story takes place over the summer when Delilah and her mother have to move back to her grandmother's lakeside home after her grandmother passed away. Neither Delilah nor her mother had been in touch with her grandmother for several years preceding her death, due to an incident that Delilah's mother will tell Delilah nothing about. Once back at the lake, Delilah begins to search for the answers about her family's past that her mother has adamantly tried to keep from her.

The only major flaw I had with this book was that, although we as readers were told that Delilah was a bit of a wild-child, after Delilah arrived to the lakehouse, we never actually saw this part of her personality. I had a hard time believing that she would so easily give up her old habits. I felt like whenever she would think about the "crazy" things she had done in the past, I found myself questioning the reliability of her narration, because those things seemed so out of character. And considering her wild nature, the first-person narration of Delilah seemed too mature and graceful. Ockler would spend a lot of time using poetic metaphors to describe the setting of the lake, which seemed false coming from this teenage girl with bad grades.

Also, it may be that I have simply read to many books revolving around family drama, but I thought that the secrets in the family were somewhat predictable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every family has its skeletons in the closet, the elephants in the room, and the secrets that aren't really kept, but Delilah's family is more dysfunctional than most. In Sarah Ockler's Fixing Delilah, we see a family that has never been able to be truly honest... until now.

Delilah's mother drags her away for the summer, but it isn't for some dorky family vacation. Her grandmother, whom she hasn't seen since she was eight, has died, and Delilah's mother and her aunt, both estranged, must pack up the house, make the arrangements, and settle her affairs. Delilah doesn't understand why no one has spoken to each other in years, but her mother refuses to speak about anything to do with her past, even about Delilah's father who died before she was even born.

Returning to Vermont is emotional for Delilah, who has been getting in a lot of trouble back home, but when she reunites with Patrick, a boy she used to play with when they were kids, she realizes there are more than just bittersweet memories she was forced to leave behind. Having left her boyfriend, Finn, back home, she begins to realize he might not be as great as she once thought he was. Patrick embodies everything she has been missing for all these years. But when they start really getting into the breaking down of her grandmother's house, all those secrets and hushed conversations start coming to the top. Now Delilah's workaholic mother must answer Delilah's questions whether she wants to or not. There are things Delilah deserves to know... even if she won't like the answers once she gets them.

I loved Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer, and while I didn't like this book more than that one, this was still a really great, emotional, character-driven story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved Sarah Ockler's other book, Twenty-Boy Summer, and I expected the same beautiful writing and heartfelt story from Fixing Delilah.
And thankfully, I got exactly that.

Although it doesn't beat out my love for Twenty-Boy Summer, it was still an interesting read.

Delilah is a great character to relate to. I related well with being caught up in the family drama, and I feel that most everyone else who reads this will, also.

Every character was so great! Patrick, Aunt Rachel, Emily; they are all very memorable. The surprises were actually quite surprising! Definitely something I was not expecting.

At times funny and at other times sad, Fixing Delilah is a story I won't soon forget.
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Format: Hardcover
It's official. I am in love with Sarah Ockler's words. She could write about caterpillars or bunnies or the most boring day in history, and I'm positive I would still love it. This quote describes my feelings perfectly:

He belts it straight out, his voice like milk and honey and everything rich and warm and good. I want to drink it. To take off my clothes and slip into his music like a hot bubble bath. ~ pg. 111

That is how I feel about Sarah's writing

The story starts off slow and kind of simmers, but it works. Fixing Delilah is one of those sweet, summer romance stories with a hell of a lot of family drama thrown in. It's very character-driven and internal. We're introduced to Delilah Hannaford, on the cusp of a summer in Vermont. Leaving her home and her non-boyfriend behind isn't really a big deal, but staying with her mother for an entire summer, cleaning up the home of her deceased grandmother, and digging up long buried family secrets, is.

Delilah is so much like every teen girl out there. She's angry and emotional - desperate for attention, but not sure how to get it. She wants her mother to love her like she used to. Back before her Papa died and her family fell apart. Her life is a series of mistakes that allow her to forget how much she's hurting, but this one summer changes that.

The Hannaford family secrets are revealed slowly, layer by layer. It's like wiping away a film of dust, just to find a box that needs to be unlocked. I loved the dynamic between Delilah, her mother Claire, and her aunt Rachel. These three Hannaford women are all strong-willed in their own way and flawed, but they so clearly want to be able to love each other the way they used to; they just don't know how.
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