Published by Delacorte Books on February 8th 2011
Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.
After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.
So, some of you may not know, but this basically throws the famous poets Keats, Shelley, and Byron into a high school setting and well, it makes for quite the interesting story. This book was exactly what I needed after drudging through some "typical" paranormal romance. Ty's writing is like poetry compared to what I've been reading lately and I probably am not the first to say this, but I can see Literature teachers teaching this book in the future (most likely High School or College though..). It's that good.
Back to the plot, the book is told from the point of view of John Keats, who is in love with Shelly, who is in love with Gordon. Ty does a fantastic job of melding the history of the three with the current situation – which is the two boys stealing Shelly's ashes (after her 'accidental' drowning) to grant her last wishes. Weaving the colorful pasts of Gordon and Shelly into the story, you really get a feel for the characters in this book. That being said, there is a lot of sex in this book. Younger YA readers beware, Gordon certainly has some infamy with the opposite sex.
Keats may be the least mentioned character in this book, but you get a feel for his voice, you get enough information about it, but he is definitely shadowed when it comes to Shelly and Gordon. Gordon is such a colorful character, one that you try really hard to hate, but you really can't – because his character is so warped and so Byron-like you simply understand him and keep watching him for his next insane move.
Shelly reminds me of John Green's female characters all mixed in one – overdramatic, overloving, and never falling for the right guy. And always with a mission in mind. The clues she leaves also remind me of Paper Towns (a novel I highly suggest if you loved this one). I couldn't help but love her and her undying love for Gordon, the unattainable male that actually does love Shelly in a way that really cannot be described.
Final Verdict: Lovers of John Green will fall in love with this novel. I think Gordon will have more fans than us readers would like to admit and is easily the most insanely likable scoundrel I've ever read.