Genre: Young Adult- Contemporary
Publication Date: 2011
Page Count: 275
Also by Jandy Nelson:
I'll Give You the Sun
Lennie has always felt safest living in her older sister's shadow, but when her sister dies unexpectedly one day. she leaves her whole family staggering through life. It is then that Lennie finds a very strong connection with her sister's boyfriend, while she finds herself falling for the new guy in town.
I loved Nelson's second novel I'll Give You the Sun, which I actually read first, an unbelievable amount. So I was really excited to read Nelson's debut. Nelson's writing is beyond description, and I loved that Lennie's poems were weaved into the narrative. Nelson's writing is so great, I would read text books written by her. I recently learned that Nelson has a MFA in poetry, and that makes so much sense to me! Her prose reads just like poetry.
I loved the quirky characters and setting in this novel; each character felt alive to me, even if they were only a small part of the story. Nelson does such a great job of building and presenting real families in her novels, and I loved the family dynamic that Lennie had even though it was a little unconventional. Nelson also excels at creating a deep and true sibling relationship and connection in both of her novels.
This novel is about so much more than a romance. There is so much grief inside of Lennie after her sister's death, and it takes control of everything in her life. Thankfully, I have never experienced a grief like this, but I loved the way that Nelson presented it and made it feel real and raw. But I also loved the way that falling in love for the first time was presented in this novel, and the way that these two items in Lennie's life contrasted each other and connected. It really showcased the beauty of love and fate, and the mysterious workings of the Universe.
I will say I preferred I'll Give You the Sun to this novel, but I loved this one too. I highly recommend picking up one of Nelson's novels. They would be perfect for a book club as they are both so thought provoking and meaningful, The paper back edition of this novel has a great discussion guide at the end as well.