Review: If I Fix You

If I Fix YouIf I Fix You by Abigail Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 . . .

This book is one of the strong contemporaries to come out this year. A story about loss and recreating your life, this book revolves around Jill, whose mother walked out of her family and their lives nearly a year ago. But Jill’s mother did not just walk out, she broke her daughter’s heart before leaving. Reeling from that night, she is a shell of a person, not able to relate to anyone, especially the best friend she used to love or able to speak about it. She and her father share a great relationship; right from childhood, she and her father have worked together on the cars in his garage. So, in this summer that is what she is focusing on – fixing the cars because she can’t fix herself.

When a new neighbor, Daniel, comes in, a guy who is in a situation like hers, she and he form an instant bond. Here is a person a little more broken than her, and they can lean on each other for support. The way their relationship starts is sweet, but there is the fact that he is way older than her sixteen years. Even though they share a connection, she realizes the fact that they can’t work, not as anything more than just friends. I mean, see age-difference relationships as usually seen as unequal, with one person having more power than the other, but it is not completely so in this case. It is more the fact that they are in different points in their lives, and while they have this good relationship between them, it can’t work as a romance. And the author, as well as Jill, show that it can not be so (which I was grateful for, because I really was thinking it might go the other way).

Jill has unresolved issues with her mom, and so does Daniel, and they both have to deal with their respective messes separately. When her mother comes waltzing back in her life with a grenade launched at her and her father’s relationship, Jill finally has the courage to evaluate her relationship with her mom, and the events of that night. The reason I docked off one star, is because a lot of the plot and Jill’s troubles with Sean arose out of miscommunication, and I hate stories that rely on ‘if only you talked’ to create obstacles. Nevertheless, it is well-written and deals with the subject properly, so I would recommend it as a good book.

Received a free galley from Harlequin Teen, via Netgalley.

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