Publisher: Walker books
Publication Date: 7th June 2010
From Amazon: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.
Lennie has always been like the sidekick to her older sister, Bailey. They meant everything to each other. Both feeling that they couldn't really cope without the other. And then it happens. Bubbly and passionate Bailey dies, unexpectedly.
Lennie feels utterly lost without her sister, not really sure what to do with herself, without Bailey's lively advice and energetic spirit. And it doesn't really help that their mother took off when they were at an early age, which Gram had always blamed on to the so-called 'restless gene' that runs in their family, so now she's only got Uncle Big and Gram. Lennie doesn't believe that life should go on like this, with the people around her smiling and laughing, I mean, why should anyone even be allowed to act like this when Bailey has just DIED! Can't they feel her pain. Whilst Lennie has begun drowning in her grief, she meets the captivating Joe Fontaine, a charming, talented musical genius who is determined to help Lennie move on and forget the destruction.
Insert Toby. Bailey's boyfriend. Who has to make life so much more complicated for Lennie. But who can blame him, his girlfriend (maybe a bit more than that..) is dead, and Toby just needs to look for comfort: in the form of Lennie. After first sharing her misery with Toby, Lennie feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders; she finally has someone she can connect to, and she can pour out all the messed-up emotions in her heart that she couldn't escape before.
In her reflection of the world around her, Lennie must think again about what it really means to be alive, not stuck beneath the ground, and try to interpret the world in a different way.
The characters were very realistic, they all fitted together even though each one had a very different personality, and the actions they did led them all to connect with Lennie, although not necessarily with each other. I loved Lennie especially, first things first, her name: wow. I thought that was fantastic! Lennon. Inspired by the Lennon. It was really pretty - I want to call all my characters in my WIP Lennon now, and my friends are all jealous that they are not being named after!
Jandy Nelson's debut novel is a heart-wrenching tale of love and forgiveness. This book deals with a very serious issue and I felt Jandy portrayed it in a light-hearted way, and pulled it off very successfully. And Jandy being compared to Sarah Dessen, added bonus. I love Sarah Dessen, so I instantly knew that I would enjoy this, but not in this way, I feel so strongly for this book, it is definitely one of my favourite books of 2010. I also really liked the scattered poems that Lennie leaves lying around, and to find out that Joe has gone out of his way to find them all, on his own little mission was very sweet. Please, if you know what's good for you, read Lennie's story, and let her make the same huge impact on you, she did me.
Huge thanks to Laura at Walker books for this ;)
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Read an extract: Chapter 1/Chapter 2