To put it mildly, Lennie is crushed by her sister's death. I, myself, have never lost anyone who was super close to me, but I can imagine that I would feel just as lost and depressed and angry as Lennie does. Because of her grief, Lennie is more cold and distant to those around her. That is, until her sister's boyfriend, Toby, starts spending more and more time with Lennie. Though Lennie knows that she should not feel attracted to her dead sister's boyfriend, she cannot help but feel more connected to her sister when she's with Toby.
And then a cute boy moves to town. Lennie finds a great release in hanging out with the ultra-positive and happy Joey. Like Lennie, he's a talented musician and writes beautiful music. He never met her sister, so Lennie is not filled with memories of Bailey when he's around. But, for all of his charm and good looks and affirmations of love, Joey cannot strip Lennie of her pain.
Lennie tries to keep Toby out of her life, but she is magnetically attracted to him. The more she pushes away from Toby and toward Joey, the more her body leads her back. Of course, Joey suspects that something is going on between Toby and Lennie, but this love triangle would stay a secret forever.
What I loved most about this novel was the inclusion of poems at the start of each chapter. There are dozens of poems scattered throughout, and each one lists where the poem was "found." For me, this increased the mystery level in the plot--Who is finding the poems? Why is Lennie leaving her innermost thoughts and fears and memories all around town for strangers to find?
This book is well-written and is definitely a realistic read. I cannot imagine losing my sister, but I do imagine that it would feel as horrible and desperate and hopeless as Lennie is shown to feel in this novel. This is an amazing first book from author Jandy Nelson. I look forward to reading more by her.
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Karin the Librarian's Summer Break Reading Challenge has inspired me to write some of my *overdue* book reviews. I've written two already, and this review will make three! Feels good to catch up!