Delicate by C.K. Kelly Martin


 Author: C.K. Kelly Martin

 Release Date: November 14, 2015

 Publisher: Dancing Cat Books


Ivy’s seemingly perfect, master-of-social-causes boyfriend breaks it off in the school hallway before their final exam. So much for love. It turns out Jeremy wants to get good and laid by someone new over summer vacation, before they both head off to different universities in the fall.

At her grandmother’s seventy-fifth birthday party, Ivy is in no mood to socialize. In fact, she’s downright delicate. Unfortunately, sixteen-year-old Lucan’s peanut allergy reaction happens right in front of her eyes. As Ivy keeps him company the two realize they’re second cousins who haven’t seen each other in six years due to a mysterious family feud.

The old drama is the last thing on Lucan’s mind. He has more immediate problems, like his mom’s noisy playtime activities with her brash younger boyfriend. On top of that, Lucan’s a constant witness to his best friend’s toxic relationship, which he begins to suspect has become abusive.

As the weeks pass, Lucan and Ivy’s summer seems more like a minefield of disastrous events — but at least they have their developing friendship with each other to count on. Or is that what’s really going on? (Dancing Cat Books)

First Lines:

Jeremy was quiet in the driver’s seat. He was carrying at least two sleepless nights’ worth of baggage under his eye, and it occurred to me again that he was an expert at letting his overachiever compulsion wear him down. 


* I received an advanced ebook from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion or my review *

As a teen, I never really dated much and by that I mean pretty much not at all. That being said, I was as stubborn as a donkey and I’d like to think that I would have stood up and walked away from a relationship that negatively affected me in any way. That’s what I’d like to think I would have done but who really knows. Delicate brings to the table a few very important issues for both teens and even adults.

Intimate partner violence is, sadly, not something new but we are, as a society, starting to bring more awareness to this and it’s effects. As a teenager, I didn’t really know much about this subject and it rarely came up in conversations I had because I was not personally a victim of it. It was only as I got older and started reading more and branching out with what I liked to read (different genres, reading the news more, being exposed to literature through my university program) that I began to realize how widespread and important an issue this is. What Martin does in Delicate is bring the reality of this into focus in the context of a teen reader’s life. I think sometimes teenagers can feel invincible; thinking oh that will never happen to me (I mean we even do it as adults). She shows them that it can happen to them and that, if it does happen, something needs to be done about it and that there are help and resources available. 

I like that Delicate also didn’t paint sex in high school in a negative light. Instead it offered a similar reminder that nobody gets a free pass with it and to always keep personal health and safety in mind. STIs are a very real problem both in the high school and university settings and opening teens’ eyes to this early is key. It’s easy to think “My boyfriend/girlfriend would never do that to me” or “Oh, it’s just one time. What’s the worst that could happen?” but things can go downhill fast. Martin reminds her readers that it really is better to be safe than sorry. 

This is one of those stories that gets my “teacher brain” fired up. There are so many teachable moments throughout and even calls to action. Offensive shirts, like the one mentioned in Delicate, are unfortunately very common in today’s fashion. While reading this may not get everyone to want to start a group at school to combat violence, it very likely can get both males and females thinking about the messages around them. Whether they speak out against them or simply choose to no longer shop at a certain store because of offensive material, they’re making their opinion count and sending a message. Similarly, not everyone can be as directly involved as Lucan in remedying a toxic relationship but now they know the signs and know to alert someone who can do something.



The story itself didn’t suck me in as much as I had hoped but it was a quick read and I really liked what the book stood for. This is definitely one I would tuck into my repertoire as an educator because there is an abundance of teachable moments and fuel for very important discussions. These are all subjects that many people don’t want to get into with teens but they desperately need the information and the chance to talk about them and have their questions answered. 

Make sure you head over to Goodreads tomorrow, November 24, to enter this giveaway for your own copy of Delicate!



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