Standalone. Harlequin Teen (Oct. 25, 2016) NetGalley
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 . . .
Fixing things is Jill's life. She's been working in her dad's shop fixing cars since she was a little kid. She's trying to mend the broken relationship with her former crush and best friend Sean. When her new neighbor, Daniel, comes around she tries to help him fix the argument with his mom but ends up messing things up with the most awkward meeting two neighbors can ever have. She's determined to make up for her mistake by trying to befriend her neighbor and help him with the only thing she's good at - cars. Meanwhile everything else in her life seems to be a wreck too. Can she ever get past what Sean did? Will her mother's departure be the end for their family or are there some thing's can't be fixed?
Jill is a sixteen year old mechanic which is something I've never come across before in any book. I don't know if that says a lot about me or the books I read. Most of the books I read the main characters are student's but none of those girl students are this into cars. I really admired Jill for being so good and passionate about something so early in her life. She gained this love of cars from her dad who she has such a close bond to. This was a relationship I could admire. Jill's relationship with her mother... not so much. You figure out why she left fairly early in the game. It's really scandalous. I didn't know how bad it was until the story was coming to a close. The thing with her mother is that you don't know whether to feel sorry for her in some ways or not. Jill has a very close relationship with her father and they come home late all the time so there doesn't seem like there is a time for that bond. And then I read some other questionable things about her and I wonder about this woman.
Sean and Daniel play a big part in this story. Sean was seen doing something that was an act of betrayal for Jill. From the very beginning though I was giving him the benefit of the doubt based on how the MC responded to the situation. Things are extremely complicated with Sean. I didn't really know if he was going to be let go or stay as a friend. It's extremely tough mainly because they have been best friends since Kindergarten. Jill has also has had an embarrassing crush on him for the longest time like creating wedding album when she was in like the fourth grade. You can tell how frustrating and hard it has been on both friends. Their interactions with each other have her flinching away and not being able to be alone without their friend Claire. It's an extremely awkward situation that I wanted resolved.
Daniel is the new neighbor and he obviously has problems of his own. He's a bit cold and reserved with Jill in the beginning. They both learn about each other and share their problems which connects them. There is something questionable there that had me freaked out the whole time. I was really in constant worry over Jill and her heart. She had so many things thrown at her that I worried this was something else. This is another Sean situation. Everyone was always in flux with me that I was constantly going back and forth whether I liked them or not.
If I Fix You was a page turner. There was always something that had me wanting more for better or worse. I needed to know what was going to happen because everything was so uncertain. Jill's mechanic skills were awesome even if I had no idea what she was talking about. Her relationship with her dad was endearing. Her struggles to be a good friend, be a good daughter, and keep it together were constant which added to the story. There were so many moments where I didn't know where people stood - whether they were good or bad. Claire was also a highlight in If I Fix You. She is a friend of Jill and Sean who's really positive and is ridiculously good at running. She's also always there for her friends and probably doesn't get enough credit.
If I Fix You has a great father-daughter relationship, deals with troubled family, friend, and new relationships while also having a unique main character. This always had me on the edge of my seat.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for letting me read and review If I Fix You in exchange for an honest review!