IF I FIX YOU by Abigail Johnson (Review)

  • Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
  • Format: eARC
  • Source: Received For Review
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen
  • Links: Amazon | Target.com

SYNOPSIS

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 —


My Review

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!

Rating: 4/5


— DISCLAIMER —
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review from the author, and/or authentic and authorized publishing or promotional affiliates. Receiving this complimentary copy for my time and review did not influence or persuade my review in any way whatsoever. This review contains my honest and accurate reflections and analysis of the novel featured and discussed in this post. — RJ Does Books!

Size Matters (A Perfect Fit, #1) by Alison Bliss – (Review)

SIZE MATTERS

by Alison Bliss

  • Pub. Date: Nov. 29, 2016
  • Series: A Perfect Fit, #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Bought
  • Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
  • Links: Amazon | Target

    SYNOPSIS

The rules of (fake) engagement . . .
Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.
Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.”

– (sourced through Amazon) –


My Review

4/5

I love to look at new books while I’m shopping at Target and while I was scanning the shelves this one practically announced itself and demanded me to pick it up. I was SO glad I did! This was my first time reading a novel that featured a curvy main character, and I think it’s about damn time that romance novels (and all novels in general) are becoming more inclusive of not only size but of diversity, gender identity and orientations.Size Matters introduces us to Leah Martin who is the owner of a new bakery and someone who is damn proud (and rightfully so) for being a fuller figured woman and defying society’s expectations of women starving themselves to be deemed “beautiful.” After an altercation in a bar while out with her best friend, she is both comforted and offended by Sam and his good-natured but poorly-worded intentions. Wanting to fix his error, Sam offers Leah some help with her bakery. The two soon strike up an arrangement to trade services: she would bake him dessert and he would “fill her hole.” (as in a wall, of course) This works well for the most part until, at a wedding that Leah caters, Sam once again oversteps and accidentally tells Leah’s mother that they are engaged while trying to defend her against the faults being scrutinized to her. Now the two must keep up the facade of being a newly engaged couple in love as they head to spend some time with Leah’s family and soon discover that behind their fake relationship is the beginning of something real.

Size Matters is as delicious a read as it is hilarious, and there wasn’t a chapter in which I couldn’t help but burst out laughing or smiling. Alison Bliss possesses a talent that other author’s may somewhat struggle with in that she was able to capture not only a relatable dialogue between Leah and her best friend, but also a realistic character with gravitas and faults and the farthest thing from a cookie-cutout Mary Sue. She was feisty, she was sarcastic, she was hilarious, but she was also aware of her own insecurities and didn’t let that keep her down. I fell so in love with Leah and Sam that when the story took them both to Leah’s family home I felt somewhat frustrated by the addition of other background characters that just didn’t do it for me. A good portion of this book focuses on the tension between Sam and Leah and I absolutely loved their back and forth dialogue with each other. However, nearly half of the  latter portion of the novel takes place away from Leah’s bakery and apartment and the life I had become so accustomed to, I kept wanting them to go back and explore each other on their own  turf without the addition and disruptions of additional characters that took up more than a fair amount of time than necessary.

As a whole, I truly identified with Leah and was rooting for her (and the adorably misguided Sam) the whole time, and thoroughly enjoyed the story, characters and world that Alison Bliss has offered in this first in her series. It has been some months since I have been able to finish a book without losing interest within the first 100 pages, but Size Matters definitely made it easy for me to finish in no time, and left me hungry for more! This book was a breath of fresh air in the crowded market of romance, and it breaks through the bonds and constructs that exist for what a main character is (or should be) and welcomes the much needed change to the genre. This was my first novel from Alison Bliss and it will not be my last! Cannot wait for the other books in the series!