Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler; published by Little, Brown & Company, New York, 2010; 308 pages.

NOTE: This review is based on an ARC (advance reading copy) provided for free by the publisher.  The publication information is subject to change.  Expected release date: December 1, 2010.

Delilah Hannaford’s life seems to be spiraling out of control.  Poor choices and absent-minded mistakes plague her.  The wedge between her and her mother is being forced further between them as a result.  Then tragedy has them packing up and moving to Vermont for the summer.  Delilah’s estranged grandmother has passed away and the remaining Hannaford women (her mother, Aunt Rachel and herself) have loose ends to tie up.  Summer in Vermont offers love, friendship and healing to the teenager.  In the end, all of the Hannaford women discover that they’ve had many of their issues fixed.

I was completely drawn into Delilah’s world.  Her voice was believable and lyrical.  Her lack of self-esteem and somewhat destructive choices were well described and fleshed out.  For me, the best part of this novel was Ockler’s handling of Delilah’s growth and discovery.  The choices made by the protagonist are believable based on the background information provided in the first few chapters.  Words are carefully selected, as are plot devices.  Even the layout of the book contribute to the story telling (please note: I read an ARC and the content is subject to change).  For example, the overarching weeping willow branches hold significance for both plot and imagery.  Even the silhouette of the cardinal is significant, coming into full focus by the end of the book.  I especially liked that the book opened with multiple, pertinent definitions of “fix.”  All add to the complete package that this book represents.

Teen girls looking for a sympathetic character should look no further.  Delilah’s decisions are relatable and her growth is believable.  I finished the book in record time and I think teen girls will devour it as well.

4P     4 Q     Grade Level: 9-12

Cover Art: The cover of the ARC was not remarkable.  I have since seen the final cover and I think it will draw more attention to the book.  (The art cover is to the left, the new cover to the right.)

From Reading List: Keepin’ It Real (Realistic Fiction)


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