Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Speak (March 22, 2011)
Author's Website: http://www.jandynelson.com/
Buy the book: Paperback, Hardcover
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.
This is definitely one of THOSE books. The type that you can't wait to sit down and read. The type where you're so wrapped up in it that you're actually laughing out loud, and then crying your eyes out. The type of book that you find yourself so engrossed in the characters that you actually feel their pain and then want to slap them and scream at them for their mistakes. This is THAT kind of book.
I probably would have never picked this book up if it hadn't been a request by a parent. It just didn't seem like the type I would like. But as soon as I said I was reading it (on Twitter), I was bombarded with Tweets of "I love that book," and "You are going to love it," etc. It always surprises me when someone can write a book about death and despair and loneliness, yet somehow make it upbeat, funny, and sweet. I felt that way about Fixing Delilah and felt it even more with this book. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud. Lennie (named after John Lennon) is SUCH a fantastic character. I loved her wit and charm. The back and forth between her and Joe (horrible name) was just so adorable, I wanted to squeeze them! I loved them so much, that at one point in time when Lennie was being a complete and total DOLT, I seriously considered throwing the book. I was so angry. It was a good thing she was a fictional character, because I'm pretty sure I would have tracked her down and throttled her. It's very rare that I find myself that engrossed in a character.
There is one thing that REALLY bothered me about Lennie. Anyone that read my "Sex in YA" post, will probably know where I'm headed, and this book had a lot to do with why I wrote what I did. It drove me crazy how obsessed with having sex/losing her virginity she was. This is something that I can't stand to see in a teen girl. It just makes me so sad. Sex is not just something you need to get over with so that you're not the last virgin in your class. And I'm seeing in book after book that the main girl character is behaving this way. It doesn't bother me so much that she has this feeling, because I'm sure there are girls out there that can relate, but what bothers me is that there's never anyone there to say to them that sex is not just a milestone, an accomplishment to check off your list of things to do. All I can say is that it's really lucky for Lennie that she happened to find an awesome guy that she was falling in love with at this moment of sexual disregard, because otherwise things could have been very bad for her. I also felt like it tainted her relationship with Joe. It made her feelings for him seem less to me. I just hate that I had to have this nagging uncomfortable feeling in my head the whole time I read it, because I really did love the story so much.
Ok, I'm stepping off my soapbox now.
Overall, I think this was a fantastically written book. I can't believe it's the author's first. The tone of the book reminded me somewhat of Fixing Delilah with the wit and charm of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. From the musical aspect, if you liked Rival by Sarah Bennett Wealer you'll probably enjoy this book (or visa-versa).
I like that this book had two different book trailers. I felt like it had two very different personalities, and the two trailers kind of encompass those two very different tones. One upbeat and happy, and the other more sad and wondering how to go on after such a devastating tragedy.
Check them out!
- Sexual Content: Heavy
- Profanity: Heavy
- Violence: None
- Other Notables:
- Some underage drinking
- Lennie's uncle Big smokes pot
For more details, check out The Sky is Everywhere on Parental Book Reviews.