Here's the summary:
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.Okay, I admit that the summary makes the book sound a little weird, and while I can't say that the description is inaccurate, I can say that it doesn't really capture the spirit of the book. Lennie, the main character, is so likable, and the way she tells her story pulls you in and has you rooting for her the whole time. And the book manages to be humorous even though the subject matter is fairly serious. In other words, the book is just so amazing--despite the really awkward love triangle.
And speaking of the love triangle, both boys are fairly awesome. It took me a while to warm up to Toby because the whole time I was like, "STOP! You're Bailey's boyfriend. Quit trying to get with Lennie!" But as I got to know Toby better, I could see his good qualities and that his grief over Bailey's death went way deeper than I thought. Then there's Joe. There's something to be said for honest, straightforward boys. Joe's so exuberant and joyful and not at all brooding or mysterious. He's the kind of boy I would want for a real live boyfriend. Dark and distant guys are great in books, but give me a Joe for real life any day.
And I absolutely love the author's writing style. It's written in first person present tense--a combination that I know some people don't like. But the narrative voice is so down to earth and accessible I can pretty much guarantee you'll like it. Here's a sample from one of my favorite parts:
"So much you don't know about me, Lennie." He smiles and takes his index finger and presses it to my lips, leaves it there until my heart lands on Jupiter: three seconds, then removes it, turns around, and heads back into the living room. Whoa--well, that was either the dorkiest or sexiest moment of my life, and I'm voting for sexy on account of my standing here dumbstruck and giddy, wondering if he did kiss me after all.See what I'm talkin' 'bout?
Anyway, here's another book to add to your "Recommended by Karen" list.