Title: Get It Together, Delilah!
Author: Erin Gough
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
“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. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won’t stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn’t do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe 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?”
Get It Together, Delilah! was my first Aussie YA contemporary, to the best of my memory. I wish these stories were more readily available/commonly published in the US, and I was really excited to pick up this novel after hearing some positive early buzz. As the blurb explains, our main character Del is left in charge of her family’s café while her dad goes off to find himself. This very basic premise requires you to majorly suspend belief – what parent leaves their child alone for weeks and weeks, and barely checks in with her, much less the adult he left in charge (who is subsequently deported, by the way)? Normally I’m capable of suspending belief to an almost ridiculous degree – really, I can trick myself into believing anything for 300 pages – but for some reason this was beyond me.
I’ve never read a YA book in which the protagonist leaves school, so that was interesting to see portrayed. Del is viciously bullied at school (kids are freaking cruel, my god), and nearly every authority figure in this story is incompetent at best. However, that ties into another issue I had with this book: the characters are all over the place. Look, I know that people aren’t one-dimensional and that we all contain multitudes, sure, but these characters were just too much. I know this was done with the intention of making them feel like real people who have to deal with many, often conflicting, parts of their lives at the same time, but oh boy…I ended up feeling completely indifferent to everyone.
Delilah, our dear protagonist, is trying to keep everything together against some fairly intimidating obstacles. However, it must be said that Del is annoying af, y’all. There were so many times when I wanted to shake her for making such awful choices, or generally being The Worst. I ended up just wishing her dad would come home and put both of us out of our misery. I think that a major problem with this novel is that there’s simply too much going on. There’s Del trying to run the café, her romance woes, Charlie’s potential jail time, her guilt-tripping friends, her absentee parents – it was reading overload.
All that being said, I found the romance (infatuation might be a better word?) between Del and Rosa very cute. We’ve all been in Del’s shoes before, pining after someone from afar and treating every single interaction like a major life event. That made Del so much more relatable in my eyes. Get It Together, Delilah! was cute and a fun read, but neither the story nor Del were especially engaging.
Rating: 3 stars
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review. Thanks again to Chronicle Books!