07 June 2010
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walker Books, 240 Pages (June 7th 2010)
UK Hardback version
From: WH Smiths
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own.
Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.
Review: 5 Stars - What can one say about such a beautifully written story and characters with such realistic personalities that they leapt from the pages and found a nice little spot in my heart?
I didn’t know just what to expect but found myself in awe and wishing for the book to be longer. It’s a story about loss, love, change, understanding, family…. It’s about so much more that there are not enough words within one review to tell you about everything held within its pages. I don’t even think that this review will do the book justice. Without giving too much away…. I’ll just say a few things. Well, I’ll try to keep it at a few things without any spoilers.
Each character was a puzzle piece that fit perfectly around our main character Lennie. They all played a part in the telling of how Lennie’s grief changed not only her, but them as well.
Nelson’ debut novel is both poignant and lyrical. She knows how to write the many emotions throughout, not only the grieving process but also how to add in a little humor in along the way.
Lennie tries hard to hold on to who she was before her sister’s death that she almost misses out on some amazingly wonderful moments with her family and friends – new and old. It’s through writing poetry and notes on various pieces of paper that she leaves in the wind, under a rock in the garden…. Written high on a branch in the tree tops… well you get the point - that we hear just what she’s thinking and feeling. These notes and poems are such a huge part of the story that without them I’d feel like a massive part of Lennie was missing.
Her family- Gram and Uncle Big are quirky people that I’d be happy to call my own. They are both grieving in their own ways; and it’s their story throughout the book that shows us all that everyone handles death and loss in their own ways. Then we have Toby, Lennie’s sister’s boyfriend. He’s at a loss as well and via their grief - Toby and Lennie found themselves drawn together. Neither really understanding why there is such a confusing yet magnetic pull towards each other as they try to find their way through their loss.
We can’t forget to mention Joe, sweet and mysterious new boy fresh from Paris. He was such lightness in the story. He was the healing in the story… without him the lighter and darker side of the sadness from the loss would have blurred together into something harder to contend with. Joe was a force for Lennie and her family in their time of need. One thing I have to say that I loved about him… he was so free in all that he gave to the whole family. Everyone needs a Joe in their life.
All in all Nelson has written something beautiful with so much heart I can’t see anyone not feeling the sunshine from it pages. Poetic from the first word to the last, with so many favorite line’s and quote’s I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m already looking forward to re-reading and can’t wait to read more from her in the future.
FTC Disclaimer: I DID pay for this book and have NOT been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this review.