Tag Archives: aussie

ARC Review – Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

Title: Get It Together, Delilah!

Author: Erin Gough

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. Her dad is on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, so Del’s managing the family café in his absence. Easy, she thinks. But what about: homework and the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell – or how one of Del’s best friends won’t stop guilt-tripping her – and her other best friend is so in love with his tutor he might go to jail for her if Del doesn’t do something

But who cares about any of that really, because above all else, she can’t stop thinking about beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street until one day Rosa comes in the café door . . .

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I was very excited for Get it Together, Delilah!, but I will admit this book felt a bit far-fetched at times. This is the story of Delilah, a young lesbian who is in love with a beautiful Latina who works across the street from her father’s cafe. Delilah ends up running her father’s cafe while he is away mending his wounded heart, and that’s when the chaos begins. She’s unable to “get it together” between the cafe and school, needing to figure out how to do it all at once.

I will say I really loved Delilah’s voice. Her voice felt very authentic to the story and I found the way in which she described the world around her to be very interesting. I was less huge on her friends, particularly Charlie who rubbed me the wrong way for a large chunk of the story until he was redeemed. I liked Rosa’s character, although she felt a little too perfect and too good to be true.

Which leads me to my largest issue with this book: everything that happens is easily resolved. Like, too easily resolved. It’s hard to suspend your disbelief when for every bad thing, it’s easily fixed without a lot of effort. Every conflict Delilah faced seemed so easily fixed, and her dislike towards her competitors seems a little one-sided. These were the moments where I had a bit of trouble connecting to the narrative. Also, what was the deal with Delilah’s dad? I feel like even int he ending he accepts things way too easily.

I will maintain that the writing was comforting and easy to get into, but for a contemporary novel that should have been filled with tougher issues, I just had a hard time getting behind how simple and trivial a lot of the issues felt in the story. While Delilah and Rosa’s romance is adorable, and Rosa’s family story is wonderfully portrayed, it’s hard for me to praise the book any further.

So I liked this book, but I feel like the over-simplification of things damped the story a lot for me. I feel like there should have been bigger consequences for specific moments in the story. The parts I liked just didn’t outweigh the things I didn’t like, making this a hard book to recommend in the end.

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ARC Review – Wildlife by Fiona Wood

20380942Title:  Wildlife

Author: Fiona Wood

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Huge thank you to Poppy/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I adored Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things, but I think I may love Wildlife even more. Fiona Wood continues her trend of writing some beautifully flawed individuals and she does it with such an ample amount of humour, that is so easy to fall in love with her characters and stories.

First off, I want to quickly mention that this book references two of my favourite things: Daria and Melina Marchetta. Daria is one of my all time favourite television shows (seriously, I cn watch it over and over) and Melina Marchetta has written a good chunk of my favourite books, so kudos to Finoa Wood for her awesome references!

But seriously, I loved Sibylle and Lou. I loved Lou before, but I think having her attempt to come to terms with Fred’s death in this story may have made her my favourite of Wood’s characters. Lou is someone easy to sympathize with, yet she doesn’t want people’s pity or even acknowledgement, so when she is forced to share a house with five other girls, it’s no wonder she has no desire to connect with them — she’s so cut off from the rest of the world so it’s great to watch her grow through the story and take the small steps to come back to the real world, no matter how difficult it is. I’ve been in her shoes before, and let me tell you — Wood captures Lou’s mental state perfectly, and her journal entries really solidify who she thinks she is and who she might want to become.

Then there is Sibylle, who was adorkable and also really flawed. In her case, Sib has the problem that she’s not ready to let go of certain things — in particular her friendship with Holly, who is in fact, a crappy, malicious, manipulative individual. She’s so focused on trying to grow into her own skin and because she’s such a passive person, she allows Holly to control her in a lot of ways. It’s definitely not a healthy relationship, but I think many of us can relate to having a friend who we know is toxic and we need to find a way to remove ourselves from them, and Holly is a tough nut to get rid of! Sib is just wonderfully realistic and her emotions and breakdowns are something I think many of us out there have dealt with.

Even though I loved all the characters in this book (seriously, all of them, even that jerk, Ben), no one comes as close to being as horrific as Holly. Holly is such a memorable character because she’s an awful, crappy, evil person, and yet she too has flaws because she’s so oblivious to others and their feelings. She can be down right evil, but I can say. I’ve known people like her, and that’s why she worked as an antagonist for Sib and Lou in this story. She is someone you want to scream at and tell her to get over herself, but you recognize it’s easier said than done.

The prose in this book is always engaging, and I loved that this story was very sex positive. We need MORE of this in YA! I loved that Sib’s mom had a speech about sex, in particularly the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts, but most of all “sex is an important, but be safe about it.” Seriously, that bit was awesome! In fact, how sex as a topic is approached in this book is wonderful, and I loved it.

Seriously, this book is fantastic. It’s amazingly thoughtful and it breaths such wonderful characters who are unforgettable. I was so heartbroken when the story was finally over, because it meant I didn’t get to spend anymore time with Sib and Lou (and that Michael kid, he’s a cutie.)