Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm Back!

Whew. It's been almost a year. A crazy and hectic, overscheduled school year. I am coming up for air in a few weeks. As ironic as it sounds, I haven't posted in so long because I've been a member of the Amelia Walden Book Award Committee. Because the reading load was so intense (and because I had a horrid year in my school, among other issues), I haven't had time to post. But, I promise that this summer I will definitely be posting and blogging about what I read, cook and do.

My favorite at this time is The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. With her very first novel, the double MFA graduate has astounded. Lennie (John Lennon) is floating in grief over her teenage sister, Bailey's, death. Because her mother left when she was a toddler, Lennie and her sister, Bailey, lives with their eccentric artist grandmother and their giant, pot-smoking uncle, Big. Lennie is consumed by her sister's death and writes poetry to try to deal with her grief. Toby, Bailey's boyfriend, and we find out- fiance, latches on to Lennie to deal with his grief. Meanwhile, Lennie is beginning a relationship with newcomer to town, Joe Fontaine. Oddly enough, Lennie has found a sexual awakening at her sister's funeral, of all places, where her teenage body is buzzing with attraction for all things teenage and male. Lennie must now come to grips with her intense grief, the grief of her family members and her friendships and relationships with others.

Teens will find this incredibly and beautifully written novel completely consuming. Lennie is a beautiful character and the supporting characters are ones readers can truly know and cheer for. The poetry- OH! the poetry- is gorgeous. My guess is that Nelson's two MFAs are in creative writing and poetry. Lennie writes this beautiful poetry as an outlet for her grief and then leaves it all over town: under rocks, in trees, on to go cups rolling around town. As the end of the novel winds down, readers will be extremely satisfied. This is a book teens will read again and again.