From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—When her older sister dies from an arrhythmia, 17-year-old Lennie finds that people are awkward around her, including her best friend. While dealing with her conflicted feelings toward her sister's boyfriend, her anguish over Bailey's unexpected death, and her sudden curiosity about sex, Lennie must also cope with her unresolved feelings about her mother, who left when Lennie was an infant. Debut author Nelson expertly and movingly chronicles the myriad, roller-coaster emotions that follow a tragedy, including Lennie's reluctance to box up her sister's belongings and her guilt over bursts of happiness. The portrayal of the teen's state of mind is believable, as are the romanticizing of her absent mother and the brief scenes of underage drinking and sexual exploration. Chapters are typically anchored by brief snippets of Lennie's writings. This is a heartfelt and appealing tale. Girls who gobble up romantic and/or weep-over fiction will undoubtedly flock to this realistic, sometimes funny, and heartbreaking story.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
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Lennie has always been the companion pony to her sister Bailey’s race horse. When Bailey dies suddenly while rehearsing the lead in Romeo and Juliet, Lennie is thrust into the spotlight. A normally reserved band geek who reads Wuthering Heights like a manifesto, Lennie is not prepared to deal with her grief. Nor is she equipped to confront the affection she feels for her dead sister’s fiancé. Adding to her emotional roller coaster is the gorgeous, musically gifted new boy in town who is clearly in love with her. Lennie is sympathetic, believable, and complex. Readers will identify with her and root for her to finally make the first steps toward healing. Nelson incorporates poems, written by Lennie and left for the wind to carry away, that help readers delve deeper into her heart. Bonus: teens unfamiliar with Wuthering Heights will likely want to find out what all the fuss is about. A story of love, loss, and healing that will resonate with readers long after they have finished reading. Grades 8-11. --Shauna Yusko