Monday, August 9, 2010

Manic Monday

...ohhh wee ohhh. I wish it were Sunday...

I chose this as today's post title because this song is stuck in my head.

But it's also fitting as I have a lot to accomplish. Being Type A, I've created a list:

1. Improvements. Welcome to my newly-designed blog! I'm always looking to make this a better, more informative, and more fun experience so let me know how you like it or what else you'd like to see.

2. We have a winner. Katie Kennedy is the lucky winner of my Deception contest. Katie, I will be notifying you by email and mailing you the book. Enjoy!

3. Review. I promised a review today on The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I heard so many amazing things about this book that by the time I picked it up to read, I was certain I was going to be disappointed. It seemed all the positive adjectives in the English language had already been used to describe it. In short, I was preparing myself to be disappointed because I thought for certain it had been built up too much.

Heck, Sarah Wylie wrote that this book was so good it made her feel like giving up writing because her work couldn't compare. Similarly, Lisa and Laura Roecker said the book made them feel like hacks. Susane Colasanti recommended it as a summer read; it's rocking nearly 4.5/5 stars on Goodreads; and Indie Booksellers selected it for their "Spring 2010 Kids' Next List."

Here's the description by Booklist who, by the way, nominated it as a "Best Fiction for Young Adults" award:

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 fiancĂ©. 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.

And you know what? It really was as good as everyone said. Nelson's background in poetry is all over this book, not just in the various poems scattered in the piece and written by Lennie, the main protagonist, but it shines through in all of the prose. There is heavy attention to the crackle of a twig underfoot or the feel of a dress like water against one's skin. It doesn't read overdone but effortless and that's why I felt this book was such a success. It taps into the emotions of the characters so truly. Lennie is struggling to get over her sister's death and her sense of confusion at how the world can keep moving forward as if this massive event didn't take place is bewildering to her. I've recognized that feeling, especially when I lost a friend at a very young age. When that happens it seems to contradict your understanding of the world and leaves you numb and raw, confused and conflicted.

Nelson carefully balances these emotions and juxtaposes them against moments of insanity and humor. You'll laugh through the tears, find the emotions to ring true, and be pleased you picked up this book. Her novel brings quirky and imaginative characters to life while implementing many of the elements of other successful YA storylines all the while feeling refreshingly unique. GO PICK UP THIS BOOK. You'll fall in love with everyone in this novel and they'll stay with you long after the story is complete.

And if you still don't believe me, here's photographic evidence that Annie and I left all the chores undone because we simply couldn't put it down.

Are there been any books you thought were overrated, underrated, or just as good as everyone says?

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