Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd.
Price: £5.59 on Amazon
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. 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.
Now, I read Jandy Nelson’s other book – I’ll Give You the Sun – the other month and saw many comments on my Instagram timeline saying that this book was the worse of the two so I put off reading it straight away because of how much I loved her other book. I completely disagree with all these comments! Although I can see why some people would prefer I’ll Give You the Sun over this book, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was unsure of how much I would be able to sympathise with Lennie as, although I have 2 sisters, both of them are (thankfully) alive. *touch wood* But when I started to think about losing one of my sisters, I began to truly understand Lennie’s thought processes and, as the story went on, became emotionally involved with her life. Death is always a hard part of life and of course Lennie is going to be extremely sad but also confused about her feelings.
The relationship between Toby and Lennie is extremely complicated. They’ve both suffered a huge loss to their life and look for comfort within each other, which I completely understand. But there were times when I was literally shouting at my book saying ‘Lennie no!!!’. Grief does different things to different people, and within this book we see how many different people react – Gram, Big, Lennie and Toby.
And then there’s the relationship between Joe and Lennie. At first, the character of Joe is mysterious but is instantly a good person for Lennie to be around. This causes inner conflict for Lennie – ‘Should I be laughing this easy?’ – making her question whether she should ever be happy again after losing her sister. Of course the answer is yes, but it takes Lennie quite some time to realise this. Joe is there for her throughout her grief and – although there is a slight hiccup when the Toby/Lennie thing is found out – he continues to love her and help her. Relationship goals or what?
The poems that are scattered throughout the book make it ten times better in my opinion. They provide a completely different insight into Lennie’s mind, creating a stronger bond between character and reader. And then, at the end of the book you find out that Joe has been collecting all of the notes and poems Lennie leaves scattered around and your heart just melts a little bit.
If you liked Nelson’s other book (I’ll Give You the Sun) then I definitely recommend you check this one out, you will not be disappointed by the author’s truly wonderful writing.
My rating: 4.8/5