Author: Jandy Nelson
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary (from the author's website): 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 sister Bailey. But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, 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.
I adored this book. It was heartbreaking and sad, while somehow managing to make you laugh and give you that warm tingly feeling inside. And the poetry before every chapter? I loved getting that look into Lennie's mind!
My Summary: Lennie (short for Lennon, after the Beatle) is a seventeen-year-old band geek. She plays second chair, although her music teacher has told her many times that she's good enough to get into Julliard. Lennie doesn't want to dream big, though - that's always been her sister Bailey's dream, and she isn't about to intrude on it.
But then Bailey dies, and Lennie's world becomes complete chaos. Lennie has lost everything - her best friend, her confidant, and the one person who promised she'd always be there; unlike Lennie and Bailey's flighty mother, who abandoned them when they were young. Suddenly, her bright, outgoing, outspoken sister is gone, and Lennie doesn't know who she is anymore.
Toby knows how she feels - he and Bailey had been head over heels in love for more than 2 years. With Bailey gone, he clings to her memory through Lennie, who shares his pain. They comfort each other, and when they're together, it seems like Bailey is right there with them.
Then there's Joe - a new kid who just moved back from France. He's taken the band by storm, dazzling everyone with his ability to play almost every instrument better than anyone else. He sees Lennie's talent - and he also sees that she's trying to hide it, to make herself seem uninterested in her music. He's determined to get her to play a song with him...
But when Lennie starts to feel a connection with both boys, things become complicated. With Toby, it feels like Bailey is never really gone. They share each other's pain and comfort each other. With Joe, it feels like there is something worth being happy about again; he helps her realize that music could help her heal.
My Thoughts: This book really hit home. I loved the poetry element, having always been a fan of poetry, but the poetry in this book isn't just an enjoyable read - it really gives you great insight into Lennie's feelings and shows you just how hard she's taking Bailey's death. I also love the whole concept of being the 'side-kick; your whole life, only to have your hero die... it begs the question: Who are you after all that? What defines you now? And: Can you really go from a back-up dancer to center stage?
I loved Jandy Nelson's writing style as well, and the characters were always surprising me. I especially loved how the author was able to incorporate a whole bunch of conflicts and twists without making the story seem ridiculously over-packed or something - everything goes really well together, and the pacing is smooth and easy to follow.
Other things I loved:
- Lennie's favourite book
- one word: Joe
- the honesty of the narrator, and the fact that the writing and the voice seem age-appropriate
Honestly, I loved everything about this book, so there's really no point in continuing! :P
Anyways, do yourselves a favour and READ THIS BOOK! It really makes you appreciate the people around you, flaws and all (just so you know, I hugged my sister after finishing this book). Borrow it from the library (like I did) or buy it (the softcover is out, and I must say, the cover-art is BEAUTIFUL!). You won't regret it, I swear!