Author: Jandy Nelson
Details: Paperback, 288 pgs.
Published: March 10th, 2010 (came out in paperback March 2011)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always happily been second fiddle to her charismatic older sister, Bailey. Then Bailey dies suddenly, and Lennie is left at sea without her anchor. Overcome by emotion, Lennie soon finds herself torn between two boys: Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, and Joe, the charming and musically gifted new boy in town. While Toby can't see her without seeing Bailey and Joe sees her only for herself, each offers Lennie something she desperately needs. But ultimately, it's up to Lennie to find her own way toward what she really needs-without Bailey. A remarkable debut novel perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block.
This is a book that I'd heard so many good things about. It seemed like everyone raved about it's awesomeness, but for some reason I wasn't able to fit it in until now. And WOW! I don't think any book has sent me on such highs and such lows. Such extremes of each. I would be crying one minute because it was so sad but before the tears dried I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face again!
This is a book that inspires note taking. I wasn't too far in and I was realizing I couldn't read the book without a pen and paper. And it's the first book EVER that I very nearly took notes IN the book. And I don't do that- write in books. But this book made me very tempted. Then I realized I was spending so much time taking notes and soaking in passages that it was taking me more then double time to read it. It was a book to be savored. To be read slowly and enjoy every. single. word. It took me three days to read. It's a book that would normally take me a day, but I really didn't rush it and just enjoyed it and wow, I really did savor every page.
Lennie is grieving the death of her sister. She's learning to cope without her and it's not easy. But how she feels, what she goes through every day and the things that go through her head (some are very weird) were real to me. I haven't lost a sibling, or even anyone that close to me. But I've lost friends, and I've gone through breakups and I have an idea of what grieving feels like. I think we all handle it differently, but I really really got Lennie. Even her weirdness (or what she thought was weird). And Lennie was funny. Very very funny. The things she thought, the things she said, so much of it was completely hilarious.
I loved Joe, loved, loved loved loved loved Joe. He was quirky, accepting, understanding... he was so much. Then there's Toby. I can't say I loved him, I didn't feel like we really got to know him. He was so deep into his grieving and he's naturally a quiet person, so I didn't connect with him as much as others. But I understood the feelings that Lennie and Toby both felt. I think that two people who lost someone they both loved more then anything else in the world are going to lean on eachother and sometimes it may not be in a conventional way.
Now the triangle in this book worked okay for me. I'm not a fan of triangles, but this love triangle had a reason, and I got it. At least I did in the first half. Then something went horribly wrong. And I was so so so FURIOUS at Lennie. I couldn't even read the book anymore. I would have thrown it but I restrained myself. I took a breather and then I went back. I was still furious. But I had to continue the story. And I'm so glad I did. Although that part made me angrier then I've probably ever been at a book it didn't ruin the story. I think that that was the only thing in the whole book I didn't quite get (at least at that point in the story) but I moved past it and since it's such an amazing story that I think is above and beyond 5 stars I'll still be giving it 5 stars, even with that bit that angered me. Anger in a book is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean any book that makes you feel that much can't possibly be bad.
Now Lennie, Joe and Toby aren't the only amazing characters in the book. Lennie's grandmother and her uncle Big are also amazing. They were so there, so larger then life and so full of life that they just took the book even a step higher. I don't know if I've ever seen such a crazy bunch of people. But crazy in a good way. I could devote a whole review just to them, they were utterly fascinating.
In the book Lennie writes on everything. She finds a cup thrown on the ground and she writes on it. She writes on the tree she decides to eat her lunch in, she writes on the bottom of her shoe, a receipt, a piece of paper on the ground... she even finger writes on her pants when she doesn't know what to say. It was poetry, it was pain, it was hurt, it was anger... it was beautiful.
I could write this review forever, I could add pages and pages of passages. But I won't because you just have to read it for yourself. So if you haven't, please do yourself a favor and get it now. And then, come and tell me about it because I hope everyone loves the beauty of this book as much as I did.
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