Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Pub Deets: 2011, Speak
Source: Gifted from Amy <3
Challenges: TBR Challenge
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In a sentence or so: Lennie’s vibrant, charismatic and shining sister Bailey dies unexpectedly and she has no idea how to deal with that grief. In addition, Bailey’s boyfriend is showing interest in Lennie now AND the new boy to school is seemingly oblivious to the fact that she is a million little pieces inside and likes her anyway.
Lennie thought Bailey had all the traits she lacked. Bailey was in theater and loved to be on stage. She loved life fully and openly and had a vibrancy that left Lennie in her shadow. Not that Lennie minded a bit, since she adored Bailey and their relationship as sisters was something she held very dear to her heart. Then Bailey died unexpectedly and Lennie is left to navigate the waters of her quirky family, Bailey’s boyfriend, and the new kid Joe who is expressing interest in her and she in him and that is NOT what she should be feeling right after her sister died, right?
We pick up in this story a few weeks after Bailey’s death and as Lennie goes back to school. She has an incredible best friend, a loving and quirky grandma and Uncle as her parental units, and a passion for music. In short, Bailey has an unusual yet fulfilling life. I loved reading her story, not because of her grief, but because I loved experiencing family dynamics in a way that were so different and flawed, yet still successful and supportive and sincere.
Lennie’s experience with grief is confusing, challenging and, believe it or not, romantic. Joe patiently waits for Lennie and forms a relationship with her in whatever way she’ll have him and you guys that melts my heart into a big fat puddle all over the floor.
I wish I had the words that Jandy Nelson has to tell you my love for The Sky is Everywhere. I read this book in a sitting - A SITTING - because I was so captivated and hopeful and committed to what happened to Lennie and her life. She makes good choices, like confronting her grandma about her mom that went “wandering” years ago. She makes bad choices, like kissing Bailey’s boyfriend despite the fact that she’s head over heels for Joe. This makes Lennie REAL and her struggles REAL and the hope you have for her resolution so tangible you could hold it in your hands.
If you’re looking for a contemporary YA stand alone novel that tackles grief, relationships, and what it means to be a family, please read The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Hell, if you’re NOT looking for this type of book, you should be. You will regret nothing.
Fave quote: "That's exactly it - I am crazy sad, and somewhere deep inside, all I want is to fly." (72)
Pairs well with: Music. Lennie plays the clarinet and it’s kind of a big deal to who she is as a person. Joe plays the guitar and 100 other instruments and that’s a big deal to him. It’s actually one of the first ways they really connect, so that’s pretty dang special.
Fix er up: Okay you guys. I had SO much anxiety with Lennie when she was making some of her bad choices I can’t even tell you. I almost had to take a break because I was so frustrated with her! It’s not a BAD thing. Not at all. Just know that you won’t like Lennie all the time and dang it Jandy Nelson, I loved her the whole time in spite of it all!
Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.