Book Blog by Katy -- FIXING DELILAH

Katherine Longshore 1 Thursday, February 10, 2011
Family.  Can mess you up or keep you together.  Sometimes both at once.  As is illustrated in Sarah Ockler's brilliant FIXING DELILAH, a beautifully-rendered story of family secrets, mother-daughter miscommunication and forgiveness.

Last year I read an article in the New York Times about the absence of parents in Young Adult literature.  There seems to be no place for them.  In child development, I was taught that socially, the peer group becomes all-encompassingly important in the teen years, and YA books do tend to reflect that.  But this article suggested that perhaps we are doing parents a disservice by cutting them out entirely.  Because some of the greatest struggles teens can have are with their parents.

Ockler brings the parent-teen relationship to the forefront of her latest novel.  It’s about the struggle between Delilah Hannaford and her single, workaholic mother, as they spend the summer dispensing with the worldly goods of Delilah’s newly deceased grandmother.  Whom she has not seen or heard from in eight years.  And has no idea why.  So it is the story of two mothers and two daughters, all told from Delilah’s incisive and thoughtful point of view.

Fortunately for Delilah (and for us), her “summer best friend” still lives next door to her grandmother’s lake house.  And he is gorgeous.  Not to give too much away, but Ockler writes romance the way it truly feels, light and shivery and intense and catastrophic and confusing.  I want to keep her book on my writing desk for those days I get stuck trying to write a kiss.  Because she does it well.  With freshness and delight.  And I love that she credits her husband at the end as “the reason it’s easy for me to write about falling in love.”

FIXING DELILAH is not going to be shelved with the hot trends in YA:  it is not paranormal or dystopian, it has no angels, no wars.  It has a beautiful summer-green cover, no black in sight.  It is about relationships and how we survive them, how they make us stronger.  Yes, it made me cry.  Several times.  But it also made me glad to be a reader and a writer in an industry that publishes books by Sarah Ockler.  The world is richer for her effort.


What a beautiful review for what sounds like an amazing novel. Thank you! I think I'll pick this one up.

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