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
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.
My Take (containing mild spoilers): Delilah is a 16 year old girl who has similar struggles to most other teenagers. She has no idea where she is going and doesn't consider the consequences of her behavior. She is living with her Type A, high strung, single mother when the call comes that her grandmother has died. At this point in time, Delilah is in self-destruct mode and her mother is none to happy about it, either.
In order to handle all of the arrangements, Delilah and her mother drive to Vermont to cremate Grandma, clean out the house, settle the estate, and discover roots. Turns out, Delilah doesn't know where she's going because she doesn't know her own past and relates in ambiguous ways to her corporate mother who related not at all to her mother for 8 years.
The family is rife with secrets and Delilah wants them spilled at any cost. Her mother knows the secrets but also knows the price of sharing said secrets. An added delight is the relationships Delilah forges with her old friend, Patrick, new friend, Emily, and her aunt, Rachel. The dialogue between each character is clever, genuine, and downright fun. Aunt Rachel delighted me beyond words. The rich relationship Delilah shares with her quirky aunt adds volumes to the enjoyment of this book. Patrick's not so bad, either.
Absent character playing a starring role is Aunt Stephanie, the youngest sister of Claire and Rachel who died tragically at the age of 19. The circumstances surrounding her death are another secret. Through the summer of rebuilding the house, Delilah rebuilds her relationships with those closest to her.
Poignant to me, the bottle of mismatched buttons, symbolizing a false security of holding something together. But they aren't attached to anything. I also found symbolism in the different containers littered throughout the book as they are the holders of secrets. As each container is opened and the contents emptied, the secrets become known. Painful and healing, Delilah begins to discover who she is and finds that the greatest gift of all is the connection she feels to the Hannaford women.
Thanks to Julie from Hatchette Book Groups who provided me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.