Published by Harlequin Teen on October 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours, Edelweiss eArc
Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.
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 . . .
Jill likes to fix things. That includes cars, her father, her friendship with ex-crush Sean, and her troubled new neighbor, Daniel. Just as she feels like she’s getting her bearings again, complications arise when her absent mother re-enters her life, and she develops an attraction to a too-old-for-her Daniel. A fantastic contemporary debut!
Jill’s world was torn apart the night her mother walks out on her father, it’s also the night that her relationship with the boy she’s loved since childhood is damaged. Working alongside her mechanic dad and starting up a friendship with her troubled (and 21 year old) neighbor, Jill is beginning to piece her life back together.
I loved that Jill is already so competent as a mechanic, and knows who she is and what she loves doing (I’m 39 and still trying to figure things out). Her relationship with friends Claire and Sean is an amazing, supportive thing, as is how Jill is trying to fix her friendship with Sean (and telling herself that her crush was a thing of the past).
Speaking of Claire- I loved her! Here’s the thing about Claire (and it’s a bit SPOILERISH but just for the character, not the plot): she used to be overweight. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, she worked hard to lose weight. And now she forces Jill and Sean to run with her (that, of course, would be a deal breaker on friendship for me, but I digress). There’s a scene where she admits to Jill that she had to work to gain 2 pounds after her mom confronted her about her weight. It’s just a little side story, but I liked it.
I also loved that Jill was aware that her relationship with Daniel, which wouldn’t matter if she was a few years older, or he a few years younger, did matter because she underage. It’s refreshing to have a YA character with enough self-awareness to put the brakes on dating an adult.
This isn’t a true love triangle story, Daniel and Jill are both in need of a friend they can tell their secrets too, and Sean and Jill have a history between them that made me root for them to at least patch things up. But despite the fact that Jill claims to be over her crush on Sean (which, trust me, I get why she might have thought that), it’s clear that the girl is trying too hard.
Recommending this to all YA contemporary romance lovers out there!
Jill- loves nothing more than working on car’s at her dad’s garage. She’s tough and strong, but she can be a little oblivious to what’s going on with her friends (you know, like a real teenager).
Sean- pretty much the boy next door. I love how much he’s working to repair his friendship with Jill and how well he knows her.
Claire- she runs a lot. And she forces Jill and Sean to run too. That’s how much Jill and Sean are trying to stay friends, because neither run on purpose. Claire occasionally forgets to turn on her friend brain because she can be very analytical.
Daniel- Jill’s new, older neighbor. The first time they meet, he’s being verbally attacked by his mom which almost immediately puts Jill on his side. His hotness is in direct correlation to how many issues he has.
Kathryn- Jill’s mom. Or, as I like to call her, WORST MOTHER ON EARTH.
Cami- a casual friend of the trio, she is so into Sean , but it’s impossible to dislike her because she’s nice (it totally reminds me of Jake’s girlfriend in Sixteen Candles).
Jill’s Dad- I don’t remember if his first name is ever mentioned, but he’s a great dad. His love for Jill is deep, and their relationship is easy (for the most part) (until it isn’t for a little bit).
Jill’s confrontation of her mom. I was hoping it would turn into a cage match. Spoiler: It doesn’t.
Also, when Sean meets Daniel.
Stop the Clock:
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! I don’t have tons in common with Jill, because I honestly don’t care about cars at all, but she’s a pretty cautious teenager, very responsible for her age (most of the time) and that I could relate to. My only complaint with the book would be that I would have liked to see more of Daniel’s friendship with Jill, because I felt that could have been shown a bit more. Over all though, I will definitely be recommending this to my contemporary loving friends!
If I Fix You gets a Midnight Book rating of: