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Fixing Delilah Hardcover – December 1, 2010
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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.
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
Top customer reviews
"I've been really, really messed up for a while now. Since before I got here. Family stuff, as you've seen. School stuff. Friend stuff. Me stuff, mostly."
I found Fixing Delilah to be a beautiful coming of age story filled with healing, self discovery, romance, and friendship. I am a fan of Ockler's writing, and enjoyed trying to figure out the family secret. (I was half right) Each of the characters were well crafted and essential to the story, and contributed to "fixing" Delilah. Ockler gave me a heartfelt story, with a sweet romance, and a great friendship. How can you not love a story of healing and forgiveness? There is a lot of hope in stories where things fall apart, but can be mended to become something even better. Delilah's journey was not smooth, but she eventually reached a good place, and I was really happy with the ending.
"how easily some things can be broken for good and for bad, and how some things, no mater how shattered, can still go back tougher."
Overall: beautiful story filled with hope and healing, which was smile inducing.
"We arrived in Vermont expecting to fix up the old lake house. But in the end, it was the house that fixed us."
I will have to say, I loved this book. The relationships between the characters were rarely easy, and that's so often true to life. Delilah's not perfect, and she feels very real. If I were still a teenage girl, I would probably have related very well with Delilah, and how she feels cut off from her "friends" back home.
The characters in this book kept me reading, even when I should have been asleep. I wanted to know more about the who, the how, the why, and what next? I wanted to know more about the blossoming relationship between Delilah and Patrick, I wanted to know the secrets the older Hannaford women were keeping, I wanted to know what pulled the family apart and why. Oh, and the stuffed moose! I won't spoil it for you, but when you get to this scene, you will have to grin and laugh. I know I did. And probably want your own stuffed moose.
I'd rate this book 5 stars, and truly hope the author has plans for (or is considering) writing a sequel!
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. There were several times throughout the novel where I wondered why Delilah had not figured out what I, the reader, already had about her family. However, despite Delilah's ignorance, I still found myself intrigued by the family secrets, and turning the pages at a rapid pace, not wanting to wait to find out if my suspicions were correct.
I thought that the romance between Delilah and Patrick was believably sweet - and was what I was sincerely interested in when reading this book. There are many moments between the two of them that made me break out in an incredibly goofy smile (which probably got me a few looks while I was reading on the bus). While Patrick, as a character, seemed just a little too perfect - he was a good balance with all the seriously flawed other characters in the novel.
I really liked that Ockler was able to write about the adults in the novel as having made serious mistakes - but not making them into caricatures or people to be looked down on. All of the adults had seriously failed Delilah in some way or another, but in the end, it was understood that everything they did was without malice. This aspect of the novel was very realistic, and was what made me care about the story.
This was a good follow-up novel to "Twenty Boy Summer", even if I did not enjoy it quite as much. I will be looking forward to reading whatever Ockler comes up with next!