The Oldest Book On The Shelf Challenge: January Update

*I’m late with this, If you’ve been waiting for it to appear I’m sorry!!*

The Oldest Book On The Shelf Challenge 2012 was started as a way for me to get around to those books that I bought full of excitement, then never got time to read. this year I’m making time! If you’d like to join in more info and sign ups here 

So in January I managed to get to two books which I’d been excited to read but since languished on my shelves. One was as beautiful as I hoped it would be. The other sadly wasn’t and I ended up quitting half way through.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

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. (from 

The Sky Is Everywhere was a book that was on everyone’s lips a couple of years ago and I bought it as soon as it was released here in the UK in May 2010. The edition I have is a stunning hardback, notebook style with elastic page marker to boot and stood out as something special and different. 

Clearly the main theme of this book is grief and loss and wow, does Jandy Nelson get this across in spades. Lennie’s pain almost singes you through the pages; it’s acute, raw and burning. The relationships with both Toby and Joe are overwhelmingly powerful and emotional, where passion and grief almost combust the fragile and distraught girl mourning her beloved sister. I absolutely got why Lennie felt the way she did with both of them, not through my own experiences (I’ve never lost anyone close to me) but by the emotive and beautiful writing which is a little like seeing into someone else’s soul. 

The prose in this book is gorgeous, constantly throwing up the most stunningly beautiful sentences to take your breath away. Not only is it a story of loss, it’s also one of finding yourself.  this isn’t a fast paced book, it’s one to savour and allow to unfurl slowly. A couple of times I felt a little too slowly, but overall a fantastic book full of emotion. 

Published in the UK May 2010 by Walker

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

“What do you want from me?” he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More. 

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn’t a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all. 

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future. (from

I SO SO wanted to love this. I read an amazing review by Carla at The Crooked Shelf and skipped immediatly over to The Book Depository to buy it. It was top of my list of books to read for this challenge and I’m thoroughly disappointed to say that I just couldn’t get into it at all. 

I was well aware that other reviewers had said that the first 100 pages were confusing and indeed they are. I had no idea what was actually going on. But with previous advice in mind I ploughed on until at page 160 and five days of trying, I decided it was time to call it a day. I’m being far stricter these days when a book isn’t working out for me and I have to be honest and say it was a relief. I still right now can’t explain what this book was about, or where it was heading. By all the other glowing reviews I’ve read I can only come to the conclusion I am missing something. It makes me feel a bit stupid that I’m just not getting it. 

Here’s a couple of reviewers who did get it, and speak very highly of it. Sadly, this one just wasn’t for me.

How did everyone else get on this month? 

*If you’re taking part please leave a comment and link to your own post in the comment section below. I’m having a problem getting the linky to work at the minute!*

3 thoughts on “The Oldest Book On The Shelf Challenge: January Update

  1. I'm so sad that you didn't love Jellicoe Road, but fair enough, it can be challenging to read. Thanks for linking to my review!

    And wasn't The Sky Is Everywhere absolutely gorgeous?!


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