Book: The Fix by Natasha Sinel
Goodreads Summary: One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.
Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.
On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.
But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.
The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.
I really wanted to like this book, but I didn’t. I’ll start with the positives.
The language at some points was pretty good. “Sebastian’s absence next to me was wrong; it felt more like a presence in itself.” And Sebastian himself, though he’s not seen very much, is really likeable. He’s funny, yet struggling to find where he belongs. He’s very down-to-earth, though he loves astronomy, and I wish I’d seen him more in the book overall, since he’s pretty much the cause of the inciting incident. I loved that there was a list of resources for help with sexual abuse, depression, and substance abuse. It’s one small, yet powerful way authors help readers.
Unfortunately, there are infinitely more negatives than positives in The Fix.
There are multiple scenes that are completely unnecessary to the story. There’s one where an animal pukes in the bushes outside Macy’s friend Rebecca’s house. They sort of banter about who will clean it up, and the scene ends with Rebecca threatening social blackmail if Macy didn’t clean the bushes. It’s completely out of character for Rebecca, who up until then had been a supportive, social friend; the action feels so, so forced. Besides various unnecessary scenes, Macy goes off on thought-tangents all the time, especially in the middle of weighty scenes; it feels like her mind is wandering to shove pointless information at the reader, even though she should be focusing on the situation at hand.
Then there’s Macy herself. None of her actions make sense in the least. She takes a job at a country club she’s hated her entire life for no apparent reason than the “plot.” Macy’s interactions with her brother and mother are very stereotypical; she’s always teasing her brother about having a girlfriend and fighting with her mother over the smallest things or for no reason. Even her relationship with Chris, her long-time boyfriend, comes across as fake and baseless. I couldn’t figure out why they were together at all.
Stereotypes abound in Macy’s head. “I couldn’t even imagine a fourteen-year-old boy, or a boy of any age for that matter, turning down a chance for a sure-thing hookup.” The expectation for Gavin, Macy’s brother, to get together with his friend-who-is-a-girl is constant. Macy describes the girl as the plain, smart type, who she likes because the girl is a little sassy and notes how skinny the girl is.
The most issues, however, are with the plot. By page 110, nothing has happened except for Macy getting “dreadlocks” and picking a few fights with her mother. (I use quotes because her hair is not meant to healthily form dreadlocks.) While The Fix is marketed as dealing with issues like sexual abuse, depression, and substance abuse, these issues are largely ignored, even though they directly affect Macy. When the book reaches the part where Macy’s “secret” is revealed, it feels more like a lesson on the aftermath of sexual abuse than a book about a girl who was abused.
The romance aspect was painful to read. It’s used as a plot device/way to stir up drama between Macy and her boyfriend. Macy’s attraction to Sebastian is a perfect example of instalove. They have one conversation at a party (he’s high and she’s been drinking) and suddenly, Macy’s going around hanging out with Sebastian and shoving Chris to the side. And yet, Macy and Sebastian don’t have anything in terms of a relationship, aside from a childhood encounter when he was new to the neighborhood. Sebastian’s just a pawn in a terrible game of Plot. There’s a dialogue infodump about him but he doesn’t get much more development beyond that.
Overall, The Fix was a very disappointing read for me. I considered DNFing, but stuck it out to see if it would pick up in the end; it only felt like a rushed, sloppy ending to a slow and uneventful beginning.
Rating: 1 star