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I Belong


Early Review: If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

if-i-fix-youTitle: If I Fix You

Author: Abigail Johnson

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373212402 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373212408 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

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 . . .

Quick & DirtyPerfect for fans of teenage angst and love.

Opening Sentence: Mom left on a Tuesday.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

When I was first told about If I Fix You, someone told me it was a coming of age story whose timeline was catapulted on a roller coaster. If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson is more than just a story. There was something between me, as the reader, and everything about this book – the story, the characters, and all the emotions that Abigail has made me feel. I have not connected to a story, or anyone, in such a meaningful way as I have with Abigail.

If I Fix You is about Jill Whitaker. Everything begins as Jill’s mom walks out, on a post-it no less, and upends her and her dad’s life. There are questions and reasons why Jill’s mom left, and some of those answers are kept secret with Jill. And while Jill has an aptness to fix things, her life isn’t something that she can manage to fix. Slowly, she attempts to move on and ease away the hurt, despite distractions, unfathomable dreams, and unreachable hope.

Jill is from a broken home, clinging to the little bit of happiness she has left. She has a real voice, showing real emotions. Jill has a damaged heart, hurting from everything between her mom, her dad, and even Sean. Her denial with life and penchant to lose herself with the cars is endearing and heartbreaking all at the same time. I have developed a soft heart for Jill. All I wanted to do was console her, but another part of me became her. I once had been heartbroken and lost my dreams, and those emotions rushed back as I read about Jill’s life.

It’s a real lesson to have to like what is on the outside as much as what is on the inside. Jill had to bring herself away from her inner turmoil to fix herself. While Jill stands to be a commandeering main character, Sean and Daniel steal the show. There is an unrequited love triangle here, and it wasn’t easy to read. Sean’s relationship and history with Jill was difficult to read. Johnson did such a great job making sure to grab your heart and just squeeze. Daniel is the guy next door who isn’t anything else but a broken boy that you’d want to fix. See? Heartstrings!

Johnson’s writing in If I Fix You makes me realize that in our very imperfect lives, we are not meant to be perfect, but instead we are meant to be whole. Jill’s problems, while they may not be exactly the same, can mimic any one of ours. Jill allows me to accept and love, taking me through the spectrum from broken to acceptance and then to contentment. I cried. I felt emotions. And while I didn’t relate to every single thing, Johnson made me feel like I did.

Abigail Johnson’s If I Fix You is perfect for fans of teenage angst and love. You will go from happy to sad and back again. You will begin this story and not want to stop. And best of all? You will become a fan of Abigail Johnson.

Notable Scene:

In the blink of an eye, Sean changed. The stiffness in his posture relaxed, the shape of his mouth lifted, even his eyes seemed to change. It wasn’t until that change washed over him that I realized how much he’d been holding back, how I’d been missing him even when I saw him almost every day. He flashed a dimple and held his arms open.

If I still loved him, in that moment, I’d have known exactly why.

“Sweaty hug on it?”

My eyes darted from his arms to his eyes and back again. He was asking me to accept more than a ride. A lot more. It was starting to feel like too much, but I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try.

I stepped into him, my cheek pressing against his damp T-shirt.

“Wow, you sweat a lot for a girl.”

My heart was steady as I smiled into Sean’s chest, silently thanking him for saying the exact right thing to keep the moment light and easy. When he seemed reluctant to let go, I stayed in his arms a second longer, relieved that hugging him didn’t hurt. Not much anyway.

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FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of If I Fix You. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  

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