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.
Ames read and reviewed this book not too long ago on the blog and she thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m happy to say that I loved this book just as much. This book was so full of awesome that I can’t even begin to know where to start this review at.
Lennie’s sister just died and she’s having a rough time of it. She doesn’t know how to move on from here and quite frankly, she doesn’t want to. She wants to go back to when her sister was alive and they were bickering over some sisterly thing. She doesn’t think anyone understands what she’s going through and in a lot of ways, nobody does. When you lose someone close to you, it’s hard for you to want to move on. Especially if that person wasn’t suffering from a sickness that made living hard for them. Her sister, Bailey was only 19 years old when she died, quite suddenly and Lennie wasn’t ready to lose her.
Lennie loses herself in her grief, pulling away from her best friend and family. She builds this cocoon around herself, making it really hard for those that love and care about her to be there for her. But there’s someone out there that does understand what she’s going through because they’re going through the exact same thing and that’s Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby.
Toby and Bailey were together and so in love. When she died, it was like a part of Toby died too and he can’t deal. He can’t function properly in public and he connects with Lennie on a level that nobody else does and their grief brings them together in ways that leaves them both feeling ashamed and heart broken all over again but there’s a force between them that keeps bringing them back together. With Toby, Lennie can remember Bailey and talk about her because she knows that he’ll understand. He’ll know exactly what she’s talking about or going through because he’s going through the same. It is with Toby that she remembers Bailey and she doesn’t ever want to forget.
On a completely different note, there’s a new boy at school named Joe and Lennie is mighty curious about him. He plays instruments like magic and he has an ear for music that is second to none. She feels a kinship with him (which doesn’t hurt since he’s super hot) but isn’t going to do anything about it because he’s snuggling up to the stuck up hag, Rachel and well, Lennie stays away. But when Joe starts showing interest in her, she’s torn.
She’s torn because she’s got this understanding thing going on with her dead sister’s boyfriend, something that she doesn’t understand but can’t stop and then there’s this budding relationship that she’s got going on with Joe. Watching her struggle with what to do and how to move on was interesting because her grief was real and I felt it. My heart was broken right along with hers and Toby and even though their relationship was wrong on so many levels, Nelson did a fabulous job of writing her confusion and her need for Toby into the book. I connected with Lennie’s character on so many levels and felt everything she went through. There was no judgments from me while reading this book. She needed to go through all of the things she went through in this book to become the person that she was in the end.
I thought Nelson did a fabulous job of writing the transition that Lennie went through. She was a totally different person in the end and that was a good thing. She went through some pretty dark stuff that she didn’t understand but in the end, she was on the right track to leading the life she always wanted to live. Out of the shadow of Bailey.
Her relationship with Joe was such a great part of this book. I adored the both of them and what they had felt completely real and not at all rushed or anything. It wasn’t perfect and that’s what made it so good. He understood her in a way that not even Toby understood her and I liked that. I liked that he was able to love Lennie for the person he knew her to be and not just the person that she thought she was. When she finally went after that first chair, I was so hot dang happy that I cheered out loud (I totally did).
Overall, this was a great story about a girl and her grief, and the people that loved her. Lennie was a fabulous and interesting character. She had so many different sides to her and I enjoyed getting to know them all. I’m definitely going to be reading more books by Jandy Nelson because I loved this book so much, how could I not? I definitely recommend this book because it’s just so hot damn good.
..and that’s your scoop!
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Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com