Publisher, year: Dial, 2010
Page total: 272
Date Read: September 8th-9th 2010
Genre/s: YA, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis/Description: 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.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.
First line of Book:Gram is worried about me.
Review:The story is divided in two parts. The first part is awfully predictable-it's when we get to meet Lennie, Toby, what happened to them, and when Joe comes to school. I could totally see where it was headed, and I hate predictable plots. However, on the second part, the book improved considerably. Lennie was still grieving-she grieves for the whole book-but she's got some other drama, which kind of takes her mind of Bailey's death for a while. There's not much I can say about that part without spoiling your reading experience. But this was my favorite, the reason it's four stars and not three, the part where I didn't want to stop reading because though I knew who she would end up with, I didn't know how and that kept me interested. That, and the beautiful writing.
Lennie, unlike what Joe said about her, I didn't think she was very "alive" and vibrant. But maybe that's just because it's written in her perspective and she doesn't see herself that way? Nah, probably not. Unless acting like a slut and cheating counts as "alive" and vibrant. But anyway, since I'm totally biased when it comes to music and she totally seemed to be into it, I forgave her for most of it. And I admit it, I loved the poems she wrote, though we don't get what they're doing there till the end.
Toby seemed kind of flat- we just see him grieving in the book. I didn't like him but I didn't really hate him either. it was more like I didn't care.
Joe, on the other hand, I loved. He was a musician! A musical genius! Get that? My god, he was sweet, nice, caring and he played at least three instruments AND he composed! However, that unforgiving streak of him kind of pissed me off-though Im not sure if I'd have acted the same way he did.
The little poems- above mentioned- and the other papers were fantastic to understand Lennie, her grief, her feelings, and in the end you know you're not the only one who got to know Lennie through them. And in the end, you also know how those papers were found and read. (MILD SPOILERS THAT SHOULDN'T COUNT AS SPOILERS) To me, that was a little bit like a two-person narrative (though, once again, you don't know it till the end) because when we're reading the "normal" parts of the story, it's like Lennie is telling you the story herself, but when you read the papers, though you think they were there because she wanted you to read them (did that make sense? I hope it did) but they weren't. When you read them, it's like you're in the head of whoever found them-and, like that person, you know her better because of that. The writing: Nelson's writing, Lennie's writing-it doesn't matter- is beautiful and I think I'll re-read the book just because of it.
And, in case you're wondering about the title, it's explained but not explained in the book. Read it to know.
So, if you don't mind predictable plots, I would recommend it to you because the writing is amazing, and it's worth it.
Quotes from book:
"My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy."
"I gasp, because Isn't that just exactly what I've been doing too: writing poems and scattering them to the winds with the same hope as Gram that someone, someday, somewhere might understand who I am, who my sister was, and what happened to us."