Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced back together again?
Delilah Hannaford's grandmother was estranged from her daughters for eight years, but when she dies, 16-year-old Delilah, her workaholic mother, and her tarot-reading aunt spend the summer at the family lake house, tying up loose ends with her estate and within their family. Well-written and ambitious, Ockler's (Twenty Boy Summer) book is a bit overstuffed with secrets: what exactly happened eight years ago? why doesn't anyone talk about her mother's youngest sister, who died as a teenager? Delilah even learns that her father is not who she thought he was. Readers may have a hard time knowing where to focus, especially when a romance with a long-lost childhood friend is mixed in, plus Delilah's strained relationship with her mother and the discovery of her dead aunt's secret diary. Even so, Delilah's gradual acceptance of her family's complicated history feels authentic, as does her growing ability to recognize her own flawed coping mechanisms. Readers will appreciate her honest assessment that while the Hannaford women cannot fix all past hurts, "some of them can be repaired, piece by piece, rebuilt into something even more cherished and loved and unique." Ages 12 up.