Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Bought (Hardcover)
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.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.
As with most crazily hyped up books, I was scared going into this one. I had bought it solely because of the cover one day when I was in the bookstore (and because it was on sale, my favourite kind of book!) and let it sit on my shelf for quite some time. After redwing the first few chapters, I knew I had nothing to worry about. The Sky is Everywhere is beautifully written and well worth the hype!
I will admit that the main character, Lennie, was hard to like at times. I had to remind myself that she was only 17 (even when she did the most idiotic things that made her seem a lot younger) and she was going through some major grieving. There were times I was rolling my eyes at her for something she did, but in the end was happy those things happened because she was growing the entire time. It was necessary. The additional characters were great, too. I loved Gram, Big, Joe … and even Rachel was a great addition (even if she was intolerable).
I’d hesitate to say that this was a romance book, even though there was romance — and some great romance, at that! Really, it’s a book about grief and dealing with grief. Everyone goes through it differently and it’s sometimes hard to see that you’re not the only one going through it. That was one of the best messages that I took away from the book. When I finished it, that message alone made me want to hug everyone. Not to mention I also had a huge hankering to reread Wuthering Heights by the end.
I also find it really interesting how much Bailey was a part of he the book. Th book deals with the grief after her death and you wouldn’t think that she’d have a significant role after that, but Bailey was everywhere. There was the odd flashback where we’d have dialogue from her, but other than that she lived through the memories of Lennie and her family, as well as through the notes Lennie would write. I’m not sure the book could have been written any other way. The reader still needed to feel Bailey as they read.
This really was a wonderful debut novel from Jandy Nelson and I’m eager to see what she comes up with next. It may not have had me crying like some readers, but I can honestly say that it was well worth the impulse buy and one that I would definitely recommend to readers in the future.