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.
Teenager Lennie Walker has always been close to her older sister Bailey. When Bailey suddenly passes away, Lennie is devastated and doesn’t know what to do. With just her grandmother and uncle, and no actual parents, Lennie turns to Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend. Both Lennie and Toby are struck with grief and find comfort in each other. Although it is wrong, a romance soon blossoms between them. They are aware of what they are doing, but grief can make you become irrational. Fortunately, new boy Joe shows up at the right moment, and Lennie realises who she really likes.
The Sky Is Everywhere is a beautiful novel, full of emotion and heart-warming moments. It deals with grief, love and death. While these topics are common in YA fiction, Jandy Nelson portrays them in a way that really makes you feel for the characters. I could really connect with Lennie, which is surprising as I wasn’t really keen on the protagonists Jude and Noah in Jandy’s other book, I’ll Give You the Sun. While I was shocked that Lennie could betray her sister so easily, I did understand how she was feeling. The romance between Lennie and Toby didn’t feel as real as that between Lennie and Joe, and I’m glad it didn’t last.
In my copy of the book, there are letters and poems at the beginning of each chapter (I have included some examples above). These are written by Lennie and addressed to Bailey. I thought they were really sweet and a nice addition to the story. I also loved the writing in The Sky Is Everywhere – it’s so poignant and poetic. Since I was disappointed with I’ll Give You the Sun, I didn’t have very high expectations for The Sky Is Everywhere. However, this book surprised me, and I found myself really enjoying it. I cried several times.
- “My sister will die over and over for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving for 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.”
- “I look into his sorrowless eyes and a door in my heart blows open. And when we kiss, I see that on the other side of that door is the sky.”
- “The dusty sky pours through the window, framing Toby. Joe and I stop a few paces in front of him, all of us now caught in the uncertainty between day and night. The music continues its fiery revolution all around us and there is a girl inside of me that wants to give in to the fanatical beat – she wants to dance wild and free all around the thumping room, but unfortunately that girl’s in me, not me. Me would like an invisibility cloak to get the hell out of this mess.”
- “And it’s just dawned on me that I might be the author of my own story, but so is everyone else the author of their own stories, and sometimes, like now, there’s no overlap.”
- “A flock of hysterically happy birds buts out of my chest and into the world.”