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.
This book is heart-stoppingly beautiful.
“Her death is all over me, I can feel it and everyone can see it, plain as a big black coat wrapped around me on a beautiful spring day. But what I don’t expect is the unprecedented hubbub over some new boy, Joe Fontaine, who arrived in my month-long absence.”
“Been wondering about that actually, Lennon after John?” he asks, again holding my gaze – it’s entirely possible I’m going to faint. Or burst into flames.
Never in my entire existence have I imagined that I’ll be completely head over heels with a book the first time I started to read those beautiful words that will eventually bring me to Lennie’s unfreakingbelievable world.
I have so many thoughts about this book running on my mind that before I knew it, I found myself in the washroom shamelessy talking to myself of how certain I am that this book is really freakin’ fantastic. Wanna know why?
“Still waiting here. How did Bailey brave the radio silence?”
“I think of St Wilgefortis, who went to sleep beautiful and woke up with a full beard and mustache, and wish that fate on Rachel. Tonight.”
It was really funny! Funny to the point that my sister is already losing her patience at me because I can’t help but giggle in the middle of the night (and when I told her what I am laughing at- she wants to kill the life out of me for being so weird). It’s really amazing how this book can alter your mood in just one millisecond. Lennie Walker has a good sense humor that I wish to have. She tends to lighten up things without even knowing she did.
“I had this image of us holding hands, like up at The Great Meadow or somewhere, and then taking off into the air.”
The novel itself is straight to the point. It doesn’t go for tickle-me-first-before-i-spill-the beans type of story. You will fall in love with it over and over again.
“I think if we don’t stop kissing, the world is going to explode.”
And I am going to explode too because I’m way overboard with this novel. Never thought I’m going to fall in love with Lennie’s inner classiness and Joe’s dorkiness!
“I’m so in love with you.”
I really don’t know where did I get these words that you’re currently reading because frankly speaking, it felt like forever before I realize that I’m already done reading the book. Its. Over. But, I swear to all the houseplants out there that I will share this very beautiful story to my friends, family, special someone, or I could even do what Lennie does- write it on a paper, candy wrapper, bench or even in my closet because this is by utmost admiration, one of the most beautiful book I have ever read. I am more than happy to express that before I take my last breathe, Jandy Nelson showed me how wonderful the world really is.
“You’re beautiful, Len.”
“No,” I say. Then choke out one word. “Bailey.”
“I know,” he says. But he kisses me anyway. “I can’t help it.” He whispers it right into my mouth. I can’t help it either.
“I don’t believe time heals. I don’t want it to. If I heal, doesn’t that mean I’ve accepted the world without her?”
Lastly, this book will make you cry and mourn like you have lost someone like Bailey in real life. I even have to hid my face from my family because of all the tears I’ve shed- it was like losing something for real. My heart aches and constricts everytime Lennie refuses herself to be happy because she thought it was a selfish act- that she should actually mourn for her sister instead of falling in love. I’m always trying to keep my wig on eventhough I can’t help but be as lost as Lennie, ‘cos I think it will somehow help her ease the pain if she knows there is someone willing to hug and hold her tight.
“Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.”
This book will not only make you laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again or even try to steal Joe from Lennon. This book will make you realize so many things in life.
We can never predict when we’ll die so, we better make the most out of our existence and love all those persons around you eventhough they have done bad things to you. It’s good to know that when you’re gone, people will cry with a smile on their face because you innocently make their life better than you could ever imagine.
Its not like we get to feel true love everyday so, we must cherish every millisecond we are with someone who makes us feel we are they everything. Don’t take them for granted because you will never know if you’re going to find that the one AGAIN which you’ve been praying for so long.
And I realized that forever is eternal- unfathomable just like Lennie’s love for Bailey, Gram, Big, Toby, and Joe. Forever, I guess, is not just a word but a living proof that life is beautiful mess no matter how old we get and no matterhow things around us screwed up. That sky is really at our feet if we could just learn to appreciate little things in life.
Life is a beautiful mess, indeed. And I’m having no second thoughts on being a full-blooded messessentialist.
“If anyone asks where we are, just tell them to look up.”
And if you’re all wondering where I am, I am still reeling. Reeling. Forever. I am madly deeply and utterly in love with this novel. Thank God He sent someone like Jandy Nelson in our lives. You are really a man of letters.
PS. I remember Forrest Gump in this novel.