The Sky is Everywhere is the first book that made me fall in love with contemporary young adult fiction. Fall. In. Love. I am as head over heels for this book today as I was when I first read it. When Jandy Nelson came out with her second book, I’ll Give You the Sun, I was over the moon excited to read it and it didn’t disappoint. Do yourself a favor and read these books!
Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publication: March 9th 2010 by Dial Books
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 288 pages
Format: Library book
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.
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So here’s the alphabetical run down:
The characters in this book are so well developed and quirky and amazing. They absolutely jump off the page. Nelson has a way of giving you all of the information about a character when she first introduces them with some very key words and descriptions that give you such a clear picture of the character that you can imagine them walking through the door of the room you are in. You are left with a complete and total understanding of the character without it feeling like you have just been word dumped on. I honestly, don’t know how she manages it, but it is my favorite kind of writing.
I loved every single character. Lennie’s Gram is six feet tall and only paints in green. Her Uncle Big has a voice like a pulpit preacher and is described as “arborist, resident pothead, and mad scientist to boot.” Sarah, Lennie’s best friend, is “goth-gone-cowgirl.” I just can’t even begin to describe both Toby and Joe, I mean I can, but I wouldn’t do either character justice. And Lennie, as the main character is just such a perfect blend of sorrowfully grieving, guilty because she’s laughing again after her sister’s death, and pining over the new boy in band with such fervor you can feel the awkward tension in the room. I adore these characters.
The cover does not do the book justice, but I don’t think much could. Although I do enjoy the bright blue and deep red and I don’t dislike it at all, I just adore the book so much that the cover doesn’t wow me.
The Sky is Everywhere is quirky and different in all of the best possible ways, which probably means it isn’t for everyone, but please don’t let that stop you from giving it a try. Also, the relationship between Lennie and Bailey’s ex-boyfriend Toby made me really uncomfortable at times, but it was a necessary uncomfortable. Honestly, all tension in every book I read makes me uncomfortable, that’s just me.
This book is so well written it hurts. Lennie writes poems throughout the book on slips of paper, benches, walls, everywhere and they are inserted into the book between chapters in “handwriting.” Some of the poems are long and others are very short, but they give you such incredible insight into her character’s thoughts and feelings.
“grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us
grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping
grief is a house where no one can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one
where the doors
no longer let you in
I absolutely love poetry, so this unconventional way of getting to know a character’s thoughts works perfectly for me.
*This book is so quotable, I could just re-type the whole book right here.
“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.”
“The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.”
“All her knowledge is gone now. Everything she ever learned, or heard, or saw. Her particular way of looking at Hamlet or daisies or thinking about love, all her private intricate thoughts, her inconsequential secret musings – they’re gone too. I heard this expression once: Each time someone dies, a library burns. I’m watching it burn right to the ground.”
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Nelson’s writing deserves five hearts over and over again.