Lennie Walker has forever been the sidekick to her older sister Bailey’s racehorse-self. One day though, fate allows for a nasty twist in Lennie’s seemingly complacent life when Bailey dies. Lennie then falls into a world filled with grief. She feels like no one can understand her and cannot fathom how to go on with her life without her sister there to guide her.She then finds one person who she can find solace in – her sisters boyfriend Toby. The thing is her relationship with Toby quickly develops into something more, things she’s not used to. Then there is Joe Fontaine. The new boy in town from Paris, who has a musical gift and the good looks to have all the girls swooning, including Lennie.
As time reels forward, Lennie realizes that its time to step up and be the racehorse and to take control of her life. She has so much to learn about herself and how to feel, after everything seems to have been taken away, all while seeing that grief can never leave, but can be healed with love.
This book is beautiful in every sense of the word. It all starts before the first page is even turned, with the magnificent cover that gives you just a glimpse into the heart of this stunning novel. From the very first paragraph you can feel the magnificence of the writing that is present throughout the entirety of the novel and are thrust into the grief that Lennie Walker feels. The beauty of the book does not end there, but continues throughout the story as you see Lennie discover her true being and see her heart stiched back together through the power of love in all forms, her clarinet and the people in her life. The characters also radiate this beauty, allowing the reader to see and share their innermost feelings. And the ending does not disappoint, as it provided one of the most realistic and wonderful endings I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
So - a little elaboration to back up my gushing of the book, starting with the characters. Lennie, well sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into the girl, wanting her to realize that she could live without Bailey, no matter how hard it may seem. At other times I wanted her to know how proud I was of her for accepting love into her heart and learning to stand up for herself. Then there is Joe Fontaine – who I’m pretty sure could have any girl drooling just at the thought of what Paris beholds! This boy is absolutely the best literary crush to have. He’s caring and isn’t afraid to show his love, all while being a stupendous (or, using a favorite word of the characters in the novel: unfreakingbelievable!) musician. Honestly, the characters are what made the book. Their incredible ability to show their true beings allowed the reader to feel all their emotions, allowing for many tears and smiles along the journey.
Overall, this book was spellbinding. It grabbed me from the beginning and threw me into a world where there was no escaping the grief that so many people in this world feel. It made me wonder how incredible difficult it would be to loose my sister – who means the world to me, much like Bailey did to Lennie - and how I would react. This thinking lead to more thinking, which then made me realize that no mater what situations you have encountered thus far in your life, there is some way to relate to this book, making it easy for any person to tear through this book. This was an absolutely stunning debut, that made me laugh, sob and think more than any other book I’ve read, making it a novel I will not soon forget. I very much look forward to reading more of Jandy Nelson’s romantic, sad, sexy, and magical stories.
Now what are you waiting for! Go grab a copy from anywhere you can and experience the magic for yourself.