Get It Together, Delilah!
As a teenager, life is hard. But Delilah Woolworth-Green's life is even more so. Her father, the owner of the small cafe called the Flywheel, is off traveling the world, and Delilah is left to deal with the cafe. She was supposed to have help, but her help was unexpectedly arrested and deported. To make matters worse, the local cafe corporation Crunch is setting up shop nearby.
On top of all of this, her best friend Lauren is pressuring her to go to school, even though she clearly does not have the time or effort to attend school. Meanwhile, her other best friend Charlie has done something stupid and needs her help. To make matters worse, the girl she has been admiring from afar is Rose Barea flamenco dancer and Flywheel patron.
And you thought you had it rough.
"Small businesses do struggle and I am happy that GET IT TOGETHER, DELILAH! looked at this problem and faced it head-on."
I adored Delilah's character. She angered me a lot, but I felt like her anger contributed to her complexity. I cannot say that Delilah was a Mary Sue. She was angry and stressed like most teenagers are, but these characteristics all contributed to her personality. She was, truly, an angst-ridden teenager. I did not like her sass because I thought it was over the top and a little melodramatic, but she changed by the end of the book. She no longer let her anger control her, proving that Gough paid a great deal of attention to character development and pacing.
Something that I thought was interesting was that the patrons of the Flywheel noticed her anger and felt it. It was not something small or unnoticeable. They knew about it, and it pushed them away. But her character development reversed that, and patrons started to come back. Not just because of her change but also because of the redecoration, a fun visual detail.
The way Gough wrote about the problems with the Flywheel was depressing, but true. Small businesses do struggle and I am happy that GET IT TOGETHER, DELILAH! looked at this problem and faced it head-on. I did not expect there to be so much trouble, but there is, and it makes a statement. The concept of the homogenization of culture and proliferation of mass-consumed, mass-produced shops such as McDonald's and Walmart is something that is happening, and this book acknowledges the struggle small businesses have with the competition with the well-known companies. It was fascinating to see the Flywheel's defiance and transformation.
This is something small but something I adored: the maps at the beginning and end of the book were hilarious. I loved the first one; I read the title and immediately started laughing. It surmised Charlie's personality in a few words, and the X over New Zealand was just the icing on the cake.
Despite its good points, the plots seemed stretched thin. There was the Flywheel story with Adrian and Hamish Creel, Charlie's story and Delilah's romantic life. Alone, these stories would have been amazing, but, together, it is too much. There is not enough time to fall in love with any of the three stories, and I could not feel emotionally invested in what happened. Even if it was just two stories (preferably the Flywheel and Rosa parts), I would have enjoyed the book more. There is a reason for the many conflicts; it forced Delilah to act and understand her life, and Charlie is a major part of the story, but if he was a side character and not an omnipresent force, he would have been a better character.
I could not like Rosa. To me, she was nice, but she was not someone I would hang out with. Her character was not fully developed. I knew she was pretty and smart and a good dancer, but I did not know anything about her, truly. I got a bit of her family history with Elvio and Delilah's interaction, but her history is blurry. Overall, I could not understand why Delilah liked her so much. What was it that made her alluring? If there was time dedicated to this story, I would have liked Rosa more.
Though Lauren is not a major character in this book, she is prominent in the ending. If you asked me what I knew about her, all I would be able to say is, "She wanted to be a lawyer." She did not have a lot of character development. Unlike her best friend Delilah, Lauren was a very Mary Sue character. She is not the main character, but I like my side characters to be developed as well. She barely appears in the book even though she is mentioned in the summary and enters the book as a very important character in Delilah's life.
If you like Australia-based romances and LGBT themes, this book is the one for you.
Reviewed by Wren L., Teen Board Member on April 12, 2017