by Erin Gough
Reviewed by SA
I did not expect this book to grab me so tightly. I had been struggling lately with YA lit, worrying I might not enjoy it anymore. Well, Get it Together, Delilah! proved me wrong. What I was missing were characters as vibrant and real as Delilah, and she made the book come alive. Gosh, I am happy. Plus – it’s Australian!
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 …
And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?
Delilah’s a character with depth and dimension. She’s bold, stubborn, and adorable. This is also the first time I’ve read a lesbian character who didn’t feel like a cliché: she felt like any real teenager. She has crushes on the cute girls in her life, especially on Rosa, the flamenco dancer from across the street. But her past experience with love hasn’t been so good: seeing how being ‘out’ in high school isn’t exactly easy.
I don’t even really know where to start on my review, because I just so happened to like every aspect of this book. It read like real life, the characters were realistic and relatable, and just so engrossing. The plot itself is simple: Delilah’s trying to run her father’s café – the Flywheel – as he travels through Asia (coping with his wife’s leaving him for another man), while also finishing school, maintaining friendships, and falling head over heels for the girl next door.
But soon, the café itself is running her life, and it’s hard on a 17 year old to deal with thieving employees, and competition with chains. Soon, it’s consumed her life, and it begins to drag everything else down with it. She has to drop out of school to work full time, and it’s taking a toll on her relationships as well. Eventually, the stress causes her to alienate the people who love her most.
When I put it like that, it sounds dark and depressing – but it’s not. The book is bursting with life. The characters jump off the page, each one probably impossible to sum up in just one line. And the fact that this all takes place in Australia just makes it even more exciting. Plus a cute romance I actually was rooting for!
All in all, what else can I say than this book is perfect? I really cannot sum it up into words. The style was simple and elegant, the characters complex and vibrant, the relationships so realistic. Not to mention I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I would give this book six stars if I could.
Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by Chronicle Books. (First published February 1st 2015 as “Flywheel”)