The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial (March 9th, 2010)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
Review: Wow, obviously I had heard great things about this book but even with all that, it was above my expectations. Lennie is dealing with the aftermath of losing her only sister. Her emotions are running wild as she thinks back at their times together and soon realizes she may not have known as much about her sister as she once thought. The only comfort is Bailey's boyfriend Toby. Lennie knows that Toby loved her sister so they soon start clinging to each other for support but soon the lines of comfort and affection get blurred.
Soon Lennie meets the new guy, Joe. Joe is gorgeous, talented, and smitten with Lennie from the start. He makes it his goal to help Lennie find one of her passions, music, again. They spend time together and soon Lennie starts to enjoy life a little at a time. Toby is still there, relying on Lennie and her affections and it puts her in an awkward situation.
The writing in this book is a perfect 10. With such a heavy topic I'll admit that I thought it would be depressing. Lennie was such a multi-dimensional character. Yes, she was sad over her sister but she was also so funny and smart. I was cracking up all throughout the book. Lennie definitely had a way with words. Plus her friend Sarah was the perfect side-kick. She was hilarious!
Then, of course, there's Joe. Joe is right up there with a great "dream guy". He's romantic, talented, and handsome. What more could a girl want? His personality was shining off the page and he helped Lennie see beyond her grief. I will admit that I really felt bad for Toby though. He seemed sincere in his feelings of loss and he was going through more than what Lennie originally realized.
Jandy's writing in this book was spot-on! She had the perfect level of descriptions, memories, characters, and dramatic moments to form this story. She gives us a glimpse of Lennie's own words in each chapter and it was a fascinating aspect of the story to follow. She leaves these bits of poetry scattered throughout her room, her school, and her town. Pieces of her left in random places, each attempting to explain her thoughts.
Her grandmother "Gram" and her uncle "Big" are very endearing in their own ways. Gram has been grieving in private, not only for Bailey, but for her daughter who left Lennie and Bailey all those years ago. I think everyone wants a grandmother like Gram.
The Sky is Everywhere is a book I will never forget. The blending of grief and adoration had my heart racing and my mind wondering if Lennie could dig through her pain in order to find happiness again. This book is a powerful read that I highly recommend.
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