- Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
- Format: eARC
- Source: Received For Review
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen
- Links: Amazon | Target.com
Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.
When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.
Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.
With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . .
— SOURCED THROUGH GOODREADS —
If I Fix You is a book that leaves a lingering impression on you long after the last page is turned. I’ll admit at first I was a little skeptical when reading the prologue by wondering if the conflict in this novel would be sustainable and interesting enough for the length of the pages without me experiencing back-and-forth/will-they-won’t-they exhaustion. However, as soon as things took off I couldn’t help but stay up and finish the last half of the book in one night.
When reading any novel I usually have a checklist for books that I utilize when reading—nothing too formal just a simple few traits most books I enjoy seem to have in common. If I Fix You hit several of these traits. Does this book have characters that aren’t perfect/”chosen ones”/stock characters? Heck yes! Flawed characters are more interesting and relate-able, at least in my opinion, and Jill, Sean and Daniel were definitely far from perfect and boring. Do I care about the characters/world/plot within the first 50 pages? Yes. I mean it took a little longer to fully get on board with the characters but I got there and found them to be genuinely likeable.
There was something devilishly delicious about the tension between Daniel and Jill that I liked (even though I knew it was unethical) To me, they had more chemistry and gravitas than Jill had with Sean—before and after the incident—and made the most sense given that the two “fix” each other despite Sean having more weight and importance in the story than Daniel. Then there was the relationship between Jill and Claire, her best friend. I felt it to be somewhat odd that Jill felt comfortable telling a stranger of what was bothering her and not her best friend who practically begged her to tell her so she could help. Nevertheless, Claire was a dedicated friend who cared about Jill—possibly more than Jill even thought so herself. Of all the relationships between Jill and those surrounding her in this novel, the one that was the most developed and interesting was the one she had with her father. Their bond was so strong and was unparalleled to anything I’ve read before in the YA contemporary genre. Abigail Johnson’s ability to create a tangible parent-to-child relationship deserves to be commended and acknowledged as that is a difficult element which she has beautifully mastered in this debut.
Now on to the plot of this book: If I Fix You is a story about love (in many forms), secrets, as well as forgiveness and learning to move on after a traumatic incident causes a rift between Jill and her friends and family. It is a novel with a certain rawness that is able to transcend this novel from a run of the mill contemporary to a cinematic-like drama in literary form that both warms and tugs at your heart when reading it. It isn’t the most shocking scandal, but rather a mother who wasn’t exactly maternal (more selfish) and a misunderstanding followed by jumping to conclusions and letting it fester without confrontation to find a resolution. However most teens are irrational, so I understood why Jill became so angered and traumatized from what she experienced.
In closing, Abigail Johnson’s If I Fix You is a raw and emotional read that will trigger a response from you as you hurt and heal alongside Jill on her journey of forgiveness. Definitely worth the read!