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?
Erin Gough is a fiction writer whose short stories have been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best Australian Stories, The Age, Overland, Southerly and Going Down Swinging. Her work has been broadcast on radio. She has also worked as a freelance writer and columnist. Awards Erin has received for her short fiction include first place in the Banjo Patterson National Short Story Competition, the Wimmera Literary Competition, the University of British Columbia “Ubyssey” Literary Competition and the FAW Frank Page Award for Short Story Writing. She is a past recipient of the Varuna Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction, an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship, a Bundanon residency and an Australia Council Emerging Writers Grant.
It pains me how hard it is to get hold of the Aussie YA contemporaries, because every time I do, they are just so damn charming.
This book reminds me of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, in a way. It's a feel-good story filled with friendship, an extremely likable and complex narrator and an LGBT romance. And it's full of cuteness, humour and entertainment.
I basically said this in my review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I'm glad that there are happy, uplifting books about gay teens that still don't sugar-coat the reality of homophobia. As in, they portray the reality but it doesn't become a horror story. The Flywheel shows homophobia, but it never becomes a novel about it.
I have read many books about the difficulties of coming out, dealing with families and friends who don't accept you, etc. and these are incredibly important. But it's so refreshing and nice to read about gay teens who accept themselves and are accepted by their families, whilst also acknowledging the existence of the stupid, homophobic people out there.
Gough's version of high school rings true to me. The cliques are there as always, but she cleverly develops a multi-layered setting so the people are more than a mere label. Del herself feels very real and her personality is a complex web of many things - as all personalities really are. She is a sympathetic character, and yet she is selfish at times. She is strong and assertive, yet prone to failure. She's fiery, yet vulnerable. And I also REALLY loved her best friend - Charlie.
Del has so much to deal with - from the girls at school, to managing the diner she has been left in charge of (The Flywheel), to her own crush on Rosa - and you experience first-hand her struggle, her pain and her sense of humour. For a relatively small book, so much is well-explored.
I really tried to finish this but it's not happening. I can't get myself to be invested in Delilah as a character at all, and I actively dislike her best friend, Charlie. The whole situation feels a bit convoluted and forced and the characters fell flat enough that they weren't motivating me to push myself through to the end. I'm super sad after how much I've been anticipating this book, but after trying for a week to get myself to pick it back up it just isn't going to happen.
With it's witty humour and cuteness in general, I can definitely see why Erin Gough's YA debut, The Flywheel, won The Ampersand Project. Just as some general knowledge, Melissa Keil's Life in Outer Spacewas the the winner from a previous year that Hardie Grant Egmont Australia picked up, so if you trust their tastes, then you should most certainly check this one out as well! I mean, seriously, who can go wrong with Aussie YA?
4 Reasons Why You Should Read The Flywheel
1. It's a LGBTQ+ themed Aussie YA contemporary. YUP. YOU HEARD ME RIGHT PEOPLES. THE BOOK GODS HAVE FINALLY GIVEN US WHAT WE'VE BEEN WANTING. Some more diversity + more Aussie badassery. Seriously guys, it's 2 in 1, who could ask for more? The way the diversity is represented in this novel is not only authentic, but it also messes with your emotions and made me wanna give Del a big big hug.
2. The main character is fantastically imperfect, but still an incredibly strong girl that I am in awe of. Due to Del's sexuality, she got a lot of crap from the people at school who tease and mock her on a daily basis. It didn't feel like a cliche situation where you have the mean and popular girls beating up on the small, for Gough creates such a believable high school atmosphere, which reminded me jarringly of the high school days at my old school.
3. The supporting characters have their own shining moments as well. More often than not, the supporting roles in books tend to get no backbone at all, but Gough ensures that this isn't the case here. I particularly loved Charlie as a character and the way he grew throughout this novel was something insanely amazing to see. Furthermore, yay for platonic girl/boy relationships! Charlie and Del's banter was a beautiful thing, guys.
4. The romance made me wanna squeeeeee! The adorableness is strong in this one, guys.
I would've liked to see Del and Rosa as a couple more in this book, but regardless, these two made me grin like a total fool.
In all, I fell in love with The Flywheel from the very first page. While I have a few tiny quibbles in regards to how irritable Del got, there's no doubt that I'll be stalking this author for her future novels. THROW THEM AT MEH.
~Thank you Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for sending me this copy!~
Thank you so much to Hardie Grant Egmont for sending this book my way! The Flywheel follows Delilah as she struggles with a lot of things while her father is away on holiday - she is struggling with her sexuality, managing the family cafe, balancing school, bullying and a whole range of other things. I'm so glad more and more books are being released that revolve around LGBTQ characters. It's so important because this is what society is like today and I believe that new literature should definitely reflect that! I also want to mention that this book is a part of a program run by Hardie Grant Egmont called 'The Ampersand Project', where they find YA novels by unpublished writers and publish them. This is their second time doing this and I just want to say that I think it's so great for the publisher to give more opportunities for Australian debut authors! I found this book to be really relevant for High School students, as it focuses on some really important topics revolving around friendships, sexuality, bullying, family issues and how different families from varying ethnicities are. It teaches a lot of important lessons and is so realistic and relatable. I think this is one of those books that should definitely be on display in school libraries for teens to read because you never know, it might be exactly what they need to find acceptance in who they are and other answers to certain issues they may be relevant in their lives. Personally, there was something lacking for me, and I have a feeling it's to do with my age. A lot of the issues being dealt with in the book were things that aren't relevant for me anymore. I can still appreciate it for what it is though. It was a great story with lovely quirky characters and I'd definitely recommend it!
2 1/2 Stars. I've had this book since last year, but wanted to wait until closer to it's release date before reviewing it. This was originally the book The Flywheel, when it was published only in Australia. It is now getting a new release under the name of Get It Together Delilah! I don't understand the name change, as the Flywheel makes much better sense, and is a place most of the story takes place in.
Unfortunately, I didn't really care for this story. It's not bad for any means, and I may have liked it better if I was younger, not in my mid 30's. But I have liked plenty of YA/NA books before, so I don't think it's entirely that. I guess for my YA books, I like books that really make you feel, and get to you emotionally. This book didn't give me that feeling I was hoping for. The whole book is around a 17 year old, left alone for months (no adults) to run a business of a cafe, seemed a bit farfetched. There is almost no adults in this book at all, and the ones that are are pretty lacking. The main character of Del could be a bit erratic at times, which made her hard to connect with. And I didn't really care for her two best friends which took up a lot of time in the book.
On the good side, I did think Gough's characters sounded and acted like teenagers for the most part. Some authors write YA and the teenagers act like children or too adult, I thought Gough did a good job. I just wished I liked the characters and the storyline more.
I can't really recommend this, but this book has plenty of good reviews, so I'm sure there is a lot of people that will like this more than I did.
An ARC was given to me by Netgalley, for a honest review.
So, I believe that this is Erin Gough’s debut, and overall, I really liked it. I don’t know if I’d say if I enjoyed it as much as Amelia Westlake, which I read earlyish last year. This is a YA contemporary with a sapphic relationship, which I definitely want to read more of, so that was really good. It was largely felt light-hearted in mood in the way it was narrated but it dealt with some pretty serious topics. I thought the characters were engaging and the main character was interesting to follow.
The main character, Delilah has to go through a lot of homophobic garbage and at how poorly she is treated once the school finds out she is lesbian(or at least likes girls, I don’t remember if it is confirmed that she considers herself to be a lesbian). While these things have been done before, it is vitally important the world gets the message that being homophobic and making jokes about LGBTQIA+ people is one, not okay, and secondly, not what you should base your personality around. It really disgusts me that people have the gall to make fun of people and their sexuality. I feel that some of the things going on with Delilah can feel that it is exaggerated, but truthfully it really isn’t.
I appreciated the character development in the novel and though the novel takes place over a relatively short space of time, with the characters going through a lot, it felt realistic and genuine. Even though I didn’t like all of the primary characters, Charlie got on my nerves sometimes, I liked the relationship and chemistry they all had together. They are able to work through things together, and fights, but importantly they are friends and it really shows that.
There’s no real plot, as was expected but there are goals and things the characters want done. It wasn’t amazing, but it also wasn’t bad, and I enjoyed it. I dunno if it was actually pretty fast paced or I just was able to get through it quickly, but I found myself being engaged the whole way through and wanting to read more it. There were times where I would maybe have liked a bit more payoff, with some threads ending somewhat anticlimactically, but I thought it was fine at the way the novel resolved. It was a neat ending, and in a sense, it was what I expected, considering that it is a YA contemporary.
I found the central romance between Delilah and Rosa to be quite cute and sweet. Del sort of stalked Rosa for a while, which I found to just be really sweet and the yearning that Del has for her, ahh! I felt that it progressed in a real enough way for sure and considering the length of the book, I do think that the author did a good job in building up the chemistry and relationship between the two of them. I also really liked Rosa as a character and at how the author highlighted at how things can be difficult for her personal life because of her family. I find that to also be an important conversation that needs to be had, as not everyone can openly come out to the world whether it is because they could face serious backlash from family or friends(not to mention that it is strictly illegal across much of the world), so I liked that was a conversation that was had in this novel.
So, overall, I enjoyed myself and thought that it was just a pretty solid YA contemporary with interesting characters and quite the lovely sapphic romance, that achieved all it needed to achieve. 7.5/10
Well this was excellent. Diversity and great supporting characters and a flawed but lovable main character. This is definitely one you want to read, by a new Aussie author I will be reading EVERYTHING from!
Hardie Grant Egmont is certainly good at picking their Ampersand Project winners!
This book is absolutely epic.
We have our main character Delilah, aka Del, who is really really excellent. What I FIRST liked about her was that dropping out of school wasn’t presented as the worst option in the world. It’s nice to see that in YA – the possibility of different life choices that don’t necessarily mean you’ll fail at life.
Also, Del is openly a lesbian.
Awesome points to Del! I LOVED seeing her relationship develop. It was so cute.
Which reminds me that all the side characters were really well developed.
Charlie, her best friend, is such a REAL person, and he was a lot of fun to read about. Her other friends were three-dimensional as well.
Del did get a bit annoying towards the end.
She really did. I couldn’t see why she was being so STUBBORN and disbelieving that she could be wrong. But I didn’t necessarily mind that she got annoying. It was all part of the story and her growth.
There were also some great unique ways of storytelling – lists and graphs and all sorts.
The pictures every now and again were great. AND THE MAPS at the beginning. They were cool too.
Basically, I could see why this won the Ampersand Project. It is completely and utterly awesome.
This was cute! I liked the writing and the main character's arc, and I think the conversation about having a partner who isn't ready to come out when you already are is a really good one to see in LGBTQ YA. I do wish the whole premise of the Flywheel didn't require such a tremendous suspension of disbelief, because it honestly felt distractingly lazy, and I would've liked to get more of Rosa as a person - I had a hard time feeling their connection - but, ya know, it's sweet f/f YA and if you're looking for more (especially where the main character is already out), this is a fine one to pick up. (Note that it's an Australian YA title, and I'm not sure about whether it's being published in the US, but I bought it via The Book Depository, so if you're American like I am, that's where you can get it.)
Delilah finds herself in a precarious position, running her father's small business while he's on an extended journey of self discovery and walking away from her education to ensure the coffee house survives against the push of big business. I absolutely adored Delilah. She's a resilient young woman who although self aware, still feels adolescent fragility as she navigates friendships, relationships and responsibility. She continues to endure homophobia, targeted accusations by her peers. Delilah is a lesbian and after a physical relationship with a fellow student, subjected to taunts that the education facility ignore.
Charlie is adventurous, boisterous and a charming young man with an appreciation of the fairer sex, seemingly infatuated with the thrill of the chase. Charlie was of an immense support to Delilah, thriving as The Flywheel's new in house chef, praised by patrons and creating a new environment by uplifting revenue for the flailing business. Charlie was hilarious, his jovial nature providing banter between he and Delilah and laugh out loud moments.
Although Delilah's parents are noticeably absent for almost the entire narration, Delilah speaks of an incredible fondness for her father and the support and unconditional love he provides, her reasoning behind wanting to save The Flywheel from bankruptcy rather than ask her father to return home. Delilah's relationship with her mother felt incredibly strained, having separated and moved to Melbourne with her younger, questionable lover. Insisting Delilah refer to her by her first name rather than mother, wanting to recapture her youth.
The romance between Delilah and Rosa was often turbulent but the epitome of teen relationships and their complexities. After her experience with Georgia, Delilah isn't interested in another covert relationship which poses an issue with Rosa's conservative family, unaware of her sexuality. It was a great exploration of the stages of sexual preferences and tolerances for experiences that are not your own.
The Flywheel is why I read Australian young adult fiction, wonderfully diverse narratives that represent our communities. Debut author Erin Gough is remarkable.
Como junho é Pride Month e eu já li um livro de temática gay, resolvi ir para outra letra do arco-íris e ler algo com personagens lésbicas para o Desafio Literário Popoca. Acabei decidindo por outro young adult, infelizmente sem tradução para o português, da autora australiana Erin Gough.
Get it together, Delilah! é sobre uma jovem lésbica, com nome óbvio pelo título do livro, cujos maiores problemas são: bullying na escola, a separação dos pais e o fato que por um capricho do destino, misturado com uma dose de culpa, Delilah está gerenciando sozinha o café da família.
O interessante do livro é que não é sobre a descoberta da sexualidade de Delilah, ela sabe muito bem quem ela é. A questão é como os outros lidam com isso, e como ela lida com essas reações. O enredo tem questões de amizade muito interessantes também, que confesso que me surpreenderam, pois a autora conseguiu fugir de determinados clichês e trabalhar muito bem outros, que, considerando o mundo em que vivemos, são de alguma forma inevitáveis.
Além disso, os dramas não são exclusivos da sexualidade de Delilah, o que torna o enredo bem mais interessante e abrangente. A protagonista é uma adolescente com problemas de adolescente, por acaso ela é lésbica. Considerando a enorme quantidade de livros cujos protagonistas LGBT lidam apenas com problemas LGBT, é muito positivo começar a surgir volumes que falam de outras coisas também, afinal adolescente nenhum está livre dos seus tradicionais dilemas e problemas.
Por esses pontos, e pela qualidade da escrita, Get it together, Delilah é um livro excelente, e acima da média dos young adults que estão por aí, independentemente da sexualidade dos personagens. Porém, boa parte do drama do livro também se baseia na falta de comunicação, que é um clichê que eu detesto. E foi isso que me deixou dividida por boa parte da leitura.
Por um lado, amei ler sobre Delilah, seus problemas na escola, no café e na família, além do drama amoroso que eu achei particularmente interessante. Por outro lado, algumas decisões simplesmente me irritaram, apesar delas serem condizentes até certo ponto com a faixa etária da personagem.
De qualquer forma o resultado é muito divertido, com risadas garantidas em algumas passagens, suspiros em outras e alguns olhos revirados inevitáveis em livros adolescentes. Uma excelente leitura para o tema, precisamos de mais livros assim.
Yup, I got Erin Gough's awesome autograph in my copy of the book during the Sydney Writer's Festival! Also went to the "Realistic Teen Fiction" talk in which she was one of the panel authors.
This was a great debut novel that I read in two days. I love all the main characters: the protagonist, Delilah, struggles with managing the family cafe on her own, school, the problems of her friends, the sudden independence thrown on her by her parents, and her own crush on the side. She's really feisty and vulnerable at the same time, which makes for a first-person narrative that makes you laugh, feel her pain, question her objectivity and ultimately root for her. I really love her two best friends, Lauren and Charlie, too! I was pretty irritated by how Delilah treated Lauren for most of the book, like she was just a geeky (if being geeky was a bad thing) and selfish bore who would never look attractive to a guy. But that just shows Delilah's human - a little blindsided and selfish herself. Charlie's just a charmer. I'd love to have him as a friend. He definitely fits the dream boyfriend image with his looks, wealth, wittiness and cooking skills (!!). But honestly I'd rather have a friend as awesome as him!
It probably goes without saying that the LGBT romance in this book makes it stand out a bit, because it tackles the difficult issue of LGBT teens getting bullied for it, especially in school. WE NEED MORE OF THIS IN YA FICTION. It's most importantly written in a light and sweet way - I rooted for Delilah and Rosa like I'd root for any couple in any book/TV show/movie, because Delilah's crush is pretty adorable and she needs some love! Not because it's going to make some LGBT statement for Delilah and her bullies. Anyway, it's a great debut novel. It made me laugh, shout silently in my head, and smile like a happy puppy.
3.5 stars. There are two types of romance books in YA. There are the angsty, deep ones; think The Fault In Our Stars or Eleanor and Park. And there are the ones that read like a low-budget yet lovable romcom. Get It Together, Delilah! is a romcom packed with subtle life lessons.
Contemporary books don't need much to be enjoyable; likable characters, good storyline with life lessons, and a cute romance is just about it for me. This book hit every point well, just not in any original way.
—> Delilah is a fun and relatable character, with funny dialogue and a sarcastic inner voice that's delightful to read. She's not a completely original character, but she's never dull or annoying.
—> Delilah and Rosa have a touch of insta-attraction going, like many contemporary couples, which kept me from getting really invested. But they're sweet together, with a ton of on-page banter.
—> Delilah's storyline brings her from point A to point B in a realistic way. The narrative doesn't judge Rosa for being in the closet and in fact validates that decision in a nuanced way. This book touches on many coming-of-age topics in a coherent, enjoyable way.
Hit me with some #LoveOzYA set near to where I live, some contemporary goodness, and a gay female protagonist, and I’m sold!
I absolutely loved Delilah. First of all, there was no struggle with her sexuality. She liked girls and that was that. She was strong and sure of herself, yet she still had a lot of learning and growing up to do. And she did it. She did the things and learnt the lessons and grew, but always stayed herself.
The side characters were real and equally amazing. For example, I thought Charlie was a fantastic character and a great friend. He too had lessons to learn through out the story, and I loved that we got to see him grow as well.
I wasn’t the greatest fan of the romance. I mean, I loved both Del and Rosa, but I’m not too sure how I feel about them together. That said, I liked the whole backstory between Del and Georgina. I kind of really want a spin off (companion?) novel in Georgina’s POV. Like a lot.
I like the way the whole school angle was handled. Sure, dropping out of school without parental permission isn’t exactly the best thing, but the way Del got to decide for herself what was best was wonderful. Some people are just not cut out for the whole scholarly endeavour, and that’s okay. School isn’t the only option in life.
The book did have some tropes that I’m not the biggest fan of, such as the whole missing parental figures crap, but overall I found that it wasn’t too difficult for me to get over it. It was just so much fun.
I was ridiculously excited about this. I loved the synopsis and couldn't wait to get to it. Sadly, it fell flat for me.
Delilah's inner monologue is okay, I guess. I found her a bit bland for the most part. She's got a group of mean girls that bully her and when a teacher catches it happening and gets involved, Delilah gets angry and ditches school. That really irked me.
The main plot line of her running the family business to let her dad go on an extended vacation was so so so odd. Seems legit when it's a week while she doesn't have school, but he's gone for 2 months? And then when she notices that business is severely declining and decides dad rest is more important than the business...yeah. No.
To top it off, there were several references to same sex relationships that felt mean and hurtful to me. Perhaps it's partially due to the author being from Australia?
I was here for a sweet and fluffy girl romance and got instead found it severely lacking.
**Huge thanks to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
While I cringed and got panicky about all the awful things happening to Del throughout the whole book (so unfair! Those girls are mean! Really Hamish?), I also smiled and snorted a lot. There were a couple of classic lines I wanted to quote in my updates (but they are long, and I would have had to move from the couch, all the way to my computer), but didn't, so let me tell you, it's snarky.
Del is a mixture of resilience and vulnerability. I knew exactly how she felt when Ella and Co. bailed her up in the toilets. It was very real for me. I applauded her strength not to slap dreads boy Hamish when he was caught red-handed. And Charlie, oh Charlie, charm cannot get you everything...
So, yeah, I totally engaged with this. I loved Del's honesty about her attraction to Rosa. There is serious smoulder happening here, so maybe keep it to your 15+ audience, although, of course, it doesn't get any worse (better?) than kissing... still...that there is some smexy kissing...
Realistic & heart-felt, with Del having to deal with absent parents, the responsibility of looking after financial matters as well as *Gasp! the horror* the impending closing down of a library (I was beside myself!!)
Anyway, Delilah does well. She is awesome. And even though, she gives in to her belief that she cannot cope with all that's being thrown at her occasionally, of course, she breaks free of these negative thoughts to resolve all her problems.
Is there a HEA for our girl and the impressive Rosa?? You'll have to read it to see. But
This book has a serious case of the ‘just-one-more-chapter’s. The chapters are definitely on the short side, with some only a few pages long, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to put this book down and get back to the things you were supposed to be doing.
The conversational tone, the likeable-yet-stubborn main character, and the variety of characters and friendships, all contribute to a story that feels like it could really be happening in the next suburb over.
Delilah is seventeen and in her last year of high school in Australia. She's also stuck working endless hours in her father's cafe, the Flywheel, as he goes on a whirlwind world trip: hopefully to mend his broken heart. You see, Delilah's mother, June, left him for another man and moved away, leaving Delilah and her father (and the cafe) all alone. But suddenly Delilah finds herself seventeen and running the Flywheel solo. She has no time for school, homework, or even her friends. She barely even finds time to sneak glances across the street at the beautiful Rosa, whose family runs a nearby business. Delilah thinks Rosa is amazing, but she doesn't know how to tell her (and besides, the last time she fell for a girl, she was bullied endlessly at school). What can she do to get her life on track?
This novel has all the makings of a lovely little lesbian YA book. And, truly, many aspects of it are simply delightful. My biggest problem is that I could never get past the fact that Delilah's father left his seventeen-year-old daughter alone to oversee his business (supposedly it was left in the charge of Delilah and another employee, who is quickly removed via a car accident and visa issues). So much of the novel focuses on Delilah's plight of having to save the cafe: ordering the supplies and food, oversight of its finances, and even making major legal decisions in her father's stead. I just couldn't buy it. And she missed so much school; I get that the legal age for that choice is different in Australia than America, but it was very odd. Basically every parent in the novel was completely absent: it seemed really far-fetched. So did asking a "friend" to run the place day-after-day, or to look at the accounts, or make extensive determinations regarding the Flywheel's fate. Or perhaps I'm just a literalist who is no fun.
On the plus side, beyond the cafe aspects, Delilah is a sweet character, and it's always refreshing to see a lesbian protagonist in YA fiction. The portions of the novel where she is attempting to work out her sexuality are far more realistic. She is bullied at school (oh how I wish this didn't have to be a staple of teen fiction, because it no longer existed), which does contribute to her unwillingness to attend, and that I can understand. But she's a plucky heroine, and she definitely grows on you. Her cast of supporting characters is actually pretty slight, with a focus on her best friends Charlie and Lauren and her crush, Rosa. None of these are as fully developed as Delilah, but they are fairly interesting.
I would have enjoyed this novel more if its focus had been more on Delilah working through her sexuality and relationships versus so much of the Flywheel drama. Some of the scenes with Delilah and Rosa, or her other friends, are very poignant and spot on, and I quite enjoyed them. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel was a bit unrealistic and melodramatic and kept me from enjoying it fully. Still, it picked up at the end, and I did find myself rooting for these characters (and even the darn Flywheel). I also seem to be in the minority with my review, so don't let my feelings stop you from picking up the book.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and LibraryThing (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review.
A rush of blood to the head overwhelms you. You kiss her again, your mouth upon hers, and slowly, steadily, you begin to feel delighted. Because you realize she has come through the door with you. She is kissing you back. And then imagine that, because of that kiss and what follows, your whole life turns to complete and utter shit.
My goodness, this book is a hot mess in the best way possible. This is the first LGBT novel I’ve ever read. It’s filled with dry humor and Aussie slang (there is a glossary in the back). This story focuses on Delilah, a feisty teenage girl who is normal in just about every aspect except: she likes other girls. After escaping on a much needed vacation, Delilah’s dad has unknowingly left her in charge of The Flywheel, his small café in Sydney. Delilah has a lot of struggles:
Her parents: June (her mom) skipped town with a new boyfriend, and her father is naïve and negligent. Her friends: Charlie is a fickle, spoiled mess. Lauren is rigid and doesn’t have much empathy. Misch and Lucas are fun but don’t do much to encourage or motivate Delilah. The Flywheel: Someone Del fires for stealing wants revenge, a corporate chain restaurant opened up down the street, and Delilah can barely manage to keep the place open while her dad is on vacation. School: After being harassed by Georgina (Del’s first crush who burned her) and the other Field Side Girls for her sexuality, Del abandons school and doesn’t want to face the counselor, who seems to be the only one trying to keep her around. Her love life:Rosa Barea
Her name is Rosa Barea, and she is the reason I stand here watching: watching and imagining, as she dances, her arms around my waist, and my hands on her hips.
After watching Rosa dance flamenco across the street for months, she is finally given an opportunity to get to know her during a Save The Library campaign.
Rosa beams, and it turns into a laugh. “I like that one.” I wonder if there’s a greater pleasure in the world than making Rosa Barea laugh. Other than getting locked in a broom closet with her, I can’t think of one.
Will Rosa turn out to be the girl Delilah has always fantasized about? Or will she get her heart broken again like with Georgina?
Gay, straight or bisexual this book offers some pure gems of life wisdom. For example this breakup advice:
“He’s not worth it. You know that, right? You’re terrific. If he can’t see it then he’s an idiot.” “But I love him. What am I going to do about that?” Her eyes fill with tears again. “What you’re going to do is be sad for a while,” I tell her. “You’ll feel sorry for yourself every time you watch a romantic movie or see some dumb couple kissing on the street. And then, in time, you’ll start feeling better. And that’s when all those guys who’ve been waiting for you to get over the dickhead will start coming out of the woodwork. And Mandy, one of them is going to be right for you. And you’re going to fall in love with him, and then you’ll make him the happiest, luckiest man in the world.”
It’s time for Del to face her fears, her past, her regrets and open her heart. Not just for Rosa, but for her friends, family and herself. It’s time for Del to be brave.
Perhaps true bravery is not punching out the stranger who insults you, or swearing at a bigoted old man- maybe it is taking risks with your heart. If Rosa thinks I’m brave, then I owe it to myself, and to all the people I love, to genuinely act like it.
This was so adorable and refreshing without being too cheesy and happy. Once I wipe the smile off my face, I’ll write a proper review
Delilah's life is a hot mess and I loved every second of it. I was cheering her on while also rolling my eyes at her at the same time. She was so well written, it was easy to see her as a flawed person with a heart of gold.
The romance was so adorable I felt myself blushing frequently. The friendships were also believable and extremely entertaining.
I loved so many things about this. I love books about queer characters with happy endings because so often in real life, we don't get that. Which this book also touched on. It didn't shy away from lesbophobia but also showed that there are going to be people in your corner that love and support you.
I just loved the atmosphere of this book. A family owned cafe in Australia with a group of friends growing up and growing into themselves just ADORABLE.
I need every Erin Gough book to become available in the US, please.
WOW okay big part of the 5 stars is that my girlfriend sent me a copy of this book for my birthday, which she annotated with jokes and comments, AND got the author to sign it so i'm kind of reeling from just how much love i'm feeling right now?? i'm also thrilled that the main character was an angry lesbian, who actually is outspoken and not always right. anyway i really am gonna die now i love you sabrina!!!
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.)
It was supposed to be a solid 4 right until the insta romance happened. It certainly came out of the blue without proper build-up. I believe even escapist works should have a romance that progresses slowly and realistically. The Flywheel though, neglects this important aspect of a good romance by taking things to the daydream (in an unrealistic way) level. The idolized girl suddenly confesses to the protagonist that she likes her too without even any hints or foreshadowing done.
That is a very critical flaw, and to my surprise, it hasn't been mentioned in other reviews. I mean, Stephanie Perkins' works also had the daydream feel but the romance was always slow-burn and never unrealistic. There are always meaningful interactions that would make you understand why they belong together. In this book though, it felt as if Rosa and Del got together just for the sake of achieving a happily ever after. They barely even talked or got to know each other and then suddenly love happened.
Other than the annoying progression of romance in this novel, I think the flywheel was written well. It had fun moments and the setting is certainly remarkable. The cafe feels like a wonderful place to chill out and have fun. However, I just can't give this book a higher rating because it still felt lacking, despite its well drawn characters and quirky, hilarious dialogue. I think it still isn't enjoyable or profound as how I wanted it to be.
The flywheel has the aussie magic but it still didn't pushed boundaries for an escapist work to break new grounds. I recommend reading Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta first before this, if you're looking for a lighthearted, yet profound aussie YA novel.
But despite my criticisms, The flywheel is still worth reading. I liked it but didn't really love it. But that's just me, this will surely work for fans of lgbt positive books.
I didn't realize that this book was previously published under the title The Flywheel. I can only assume Get it Together is the title for the US market, in which case it's a confusing dropping of the ball. The entire backbone of the story is this cafe The Flywheel; it's responsible for most of the action and the events within the book. At times during reading, I wondering why the book wasn't called Flywheel, so I'm glad at least on some continents it is. However, that case aside, this book just really did not appeal to me. I enjoy YA literature, but at times the protagonists can be written whiny and unsympathetic. I had a very difficult time relating to Del or caring much about her story. Not to mention that she's a minor (at least by US standards) and is allowed to drop out of school without consequence as well as work full time and live at home without any adult or parent supervision. For some reason her father thinks it's an acceptable idea to go on a months-long retreat while leaving his seventeen year old daughter home alone. There are just so few adult characters, most of which are either inept, neglectful, or malicious. Instead, we follow around the teenagers, who are making absolutely terrible decisions. Maybe I'm too old for this type of story. I didn't like Del, her friends, her guidance councilor, especially her father, and all of the nonsense going on at The Flywheel was just hard for me to get behind and feel anything for--nor did I feel any of it was particularly well-written. It was a quick read, but at the same time I don't think I'll be seeking out this author again.
I knew almost immediately that I wasn't going to like this book. Seven pages in, the protagonist is talking about a character with dreads, and says the following:
Charlie and I have our theories about what Hamish keeps in his nest of unwashed hair. Spare change, perhaps? A family of mice?
One of two things is happening here. The man is white, which means he's appropriating the hairstyle and should be called out on said appropriation (pro tip: if your hair does not naturally dread, don't dread it). Or the man is black, which means the MC and her friend are assuming the dreads are dirty and that the man does not know how to keep then clean, with the added bonus that the lazy black man stereotype is in play. Either way, strike one.
"Why do guys always go for preppy anorexics?"
Listen. I, as much as the next woman, hate that our current standard of beauty is 5'8" with a size 0 waist. Trust me, I think it's ridiculous that we're expected to do things to our bodies in order to achieve this standard. But that does not mean you get to body shame any girl or woman OR insult someone using an eating disorder. It's like using "gay" or "retarded" or "lame" to express your anger or annoyance with something. Do teens use this kind of language? Probably. Does that mean you should perpetuate this language by not calling it out? No. (Own voices writers writing about language within their communities are a different story, because that reflection is not something I can comment on, but this discussion takes place in a group of primarily white people.)
The MC's best friend Charlie is a rich white boy who is used to getting his way. He "falls in love" with women and then loses interest after hooking up with them, and the MC says that this is "just how he is." He becomes obsessed with his 30-year-old tutor--he himself is 18--and after she tells him no, she does not want to date him, partly because of the age difference, he decides to find out where she lives. Because a woman saying no can't be taken seriously, right? So he looks up every family with her last name and he and Delilah go around the town and knock on every door, eventually finding her house at 10:30pm. When the tutor's father answers and refuses to let them in, Charlie punches him. Well, Charlie punches him after the dad says "does your mother know where you are?" because apparently that's the appropriate response when someone brings up a parent who has died. Guess what, kid? My mom died too and guess what I'm not allowed to do? Fucking punch people who bring her up.
Charlie ends up hiding out with Delilah until the cops show up one day because the dad (rightfully) pressed charges, and then it becomes a sob story of a rich little white boy who needs to get out of trouble. Aka the kind of story I care least about in the entire world and have 0 sympathy for.
Anything redeemable was immediately negated. Charlie asks Delilah how she knows she's gay if she's never been with a dude and she tells him she just knows and he pushes further and she tells him he's wrong, which is great, but then she kisses him because she's drunk. Because that's what all lesbians do, right? Kiss straight dudes when we're drunk? (I kissed 0 men after coming out, and I know a bunch of lesbians who can say the same, but somehow we get dozens of stories about lesbians who do the opposite.) Delilah is confident about her sexuality but is bullied for it, very harshly, which was painful to read. Charlie and Delilah get into an argument, during which Delilah basically calls him out on his privilege and Charlie calls her out for not being understanding of Rosa (her love interest) not wanting to come out to her family, but then Charlie ends it by saying that Delilah should have been loyal and agreed to lie about Charlie punching the tutor's dad in the face. That's not how friendship works. Lying to get a friend out of detention? Fine. Fucking around with the courts just because a rich white boy did something he shouldn't have done and is now facing consequences? Not fine.
Rosa tells Delilah she can't be seen in public because of the views of her family. Rosa is Hispanic (she mentions that her family wants her to find a Spanish Catholic boy, so I'm going to assume she's Spanish and not Latina but please correct me if I'm wrong), and Delilah gets angry about it multiple times. Is it frustrating liking someone who has to stay closeted? Absolutely. But can you tell someone to tell their family that they're wrong about their cultural values? NO. And if you're going to talk about it you cannot put the blame on the person who is in the closet, because not everyone can just tell their family to fuck off, especially if they're living with their family and helping support them. (Again, this is not to negate the frustration of being forced into the closet with someone, because I've had to do that and I hated it; this is more of a commentary on Delilah's attitude.)
And all that is on top of the already shaky realism of the premise: Delilah's dad is off exploring the world, which is fine, parents need a break, but there's only one manager for their cafe (that's not how things work) who got deported and then Delilah ends up running the whole place herself. Her father writes her to say someone offered to bring him to another place and he can come home if she needs him, and she tells him no because she wants him to enjoy himself. Because obviously it's better for him to have a vacation and then come back to find his business has closed than it is to just ask him to come home. Obviously. And even if I were to believe all that, am I to believe her Delilah's dad didn't ask any other adults to check in on his daughter once in a while? Or was the one manager supposed to do that as well?
Skip this one unless you're okay with ignorance and privilege.
I found myself frustrated with The Flywheel. Frustrated because it was nothing like I had hoped it would be. Because I didn’t enjoy it. Because the protagonist was flimsy and irrational with her decisions and the people she supposedly cared about. Frustrated because, in the end, the cover was the thing that I liked more than any part of the story.