Dial Books (a Penguin imprint), 272 pages
Released: March 9, 2010
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.
I try to fend off the oceanic sadness, but I can't. It's such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what's lost, but to be enchanted by what was.
I miss you, I tell her, I can't stand that you're going to miss so much.
I don't know how the heart withstands it.
I'm unsure how to review this book because there are really only so many ways I can call it brilliant and beautiful and wonderful. This book is...it's everything.
It's been awhile since a book made me cry and clutch at it, but here it is: I wept. I carried this book with me everywhere as I paced around the house, reading it and trying to slow down to savor and process. I could feel Lennie's grief just emanating off the pages, her feelings of loss and being so lost and confused and searching for meaning among everything. When I first read the book jacket I kind of assumed I'd be mad at her (like Sarah) for turning to Toby since he was her dead sister's boyfriend, y'know? But it's so beautifully crafted and makes so much sense that I felt proud of Lennie when she knew it was wrong and started resisting - something I have no idea if I'd be strong enough to do if I was in her position.
This entire novel is just...beautiful. It's emotional and poetic and filled with such wonder and is so heartfelt and raw that I can't tell you fast enough how much I want the entire world to read it and know its beauty. It's so well-written; Jandy Nelson's words just pop off the pages and paint the brightest, most evocative pictures. I feel like I know Joe Fontaine, can see his flailing hands and lightbulb-wattage personality.
I don't know what else to say. Just trust me when I tell you I recommend this more than anything right now, that you will never regret letting these words and this story come into your life.
5 Stars / 5
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