Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: The Sky Is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere

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. -Goodreads
4.5 Stars

"You can tell your story any way you damn well please.
It’s your solo."
Personal story time!

I have a little sister, who’s five years old, and was diagnosed with mild autism. Despite the 10-year age difference, I do consider her my best friend and am fiercely protective of her. If anything were to ever happen to her, I know I’d go crazy.

A few years ago, we were at my cousin’s house, and in their backyard was a pool. Not the best place for an autistic kid with little sense of self-preservation or safety. Anyway, I turn my back on her for a few seconds, and turn around to find her right on the edge of the deep end of the pool, just about to jump in. I screech, and run like a freaking madwoman and grab her just as she puts her foot in the water. This incident was traumatizing, to say the least. I had almost lost my baby sister, and over the years, she did repeatedly and willfully put herself in danger, even as a four-year old. Until this day, I am still paranoid and watch her at all times.

As displayed by this story, I know I would completely lose it if any danger ever befalls my little sis, similar to Lennie in The Sky is Everywhere.

Lennie Walker has just lost her older sister and her only true friend. She struggles with life, and is horribly unable to cope with the grief. Many may find her an utterly selfish, stupid, and reckless human being. But I can excuse her for being such an imbecile; she has pretty much lost the closest person to her, the only person with whom she can truly connect with.

For once, the romance in this book was one of my favorite parts. I won't deny that Lennie has to “choose” between two guys, technically making it a love triangle, but it was just so obvious who she would choose and it didn't get so out of hand that that was what occupied most of her thoughts. Surprisingly, the almost-love-triangle was bearable, and did not make me want to rip the book in frustration.

However, although both guys were developed quite thoroughly, I can't bring myself to love either of them. To be honest, I found Joe a bit pretentious at times.

I loved the little snippets of notes scattered throughout the novel. Those, I think, were the most powerful and most effective way of displaying Lennie’s inner turmoil. They felt so raw, so real, and while not bits of literary masterpieces, still incredibly heartbreaking and touching.

Try not to well up in tears while reading this:
”There once was a girl who found herself dead.
She peered over the ledge of heaven
and saw that back on earth
her sister missed her too much,
was way too sad,
so she crossed some paths
that would not have crossed,
took some moments in her hand
shook them up
and spilled them like dice
over the living world.
It worked.
The boy with the guitar collided
with her sister.
“There you go, Len,” she whispered. “The rest is up to you.”

The writing itself was beautiful as well. This is Jandy Nelson’s debut novel, and boy, does she succeed in delivering.

I’m unable to pinpoint what exactly makes this book stand out and distinguishable from other coming-of-age novels, but believe me, you will be captivated and unable to put this book down.

With its perfectly imperfect characters, raw emotion, and a romance that is easy to root for, this book has effortlessly changed my opinion of the realistic fiction genre. I am blown away and utterly besotted with this emotionally powerful book and its author.


  1. Oh, I'm so excited to read this! I'll be reading it this month, and the person who recommended it to me said it's full of feels. It does sound like a beautiful book and I hope I like as much as you did!

    1. I hope you love it too! It really is life-changing.