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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (thoughts)

April 25, 2012

From the author’s website:
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 sister Bailey. But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, 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.

I’m going through a blogging dry spell at the moment, but that does not mean I’m going through a reading dry spell, or even a good book dry spell. It seems like I’m reading almost nothing but fantastic books but can’t find the right words to express how much I’m loving them.

So, let’s just start with this one.

When The Sky is Everywhere came out in 2010, the blogosphere was all in a frenzy over it. And when there is that much hype over a book, I tend to be reluctant to read it. I may run out and buy it (especially if it has such an amazing cover as this one does – so purdy!), but it will languish on my shelves for who knows how long. The Sky is Everywhere sat on my shelves for a solid year, and not even including it in two 24hr Readathon stacks could entice me to read it. But this past Sunday, the day after the most recent Readathon, I figured enough was enough. I was going to read this book.

And oh. Was it ever wonderful.

Let’s first talk about the writing. Jandy Nelson’s writing is lyrical and enveloping. It’s the kind of writing that pulls you in and lets  you sink into the story. Yes, there are poems strewn throughout the book, but, if you’re like me and very much not a poetry person, don’t let that keep you from reading this book. The poems add an extra layer to the story and help give even more insight into Lennie’s grief and her history with Bailey.

Apart from all the hype, one of the reasons I held off reading The Sky is Everywhere for so long was that I thought it would be really, very sad. It’s a book of grief, so it is heartbreaking, but it’s also funny and swoon worthy. Nelson handles the subject of grief extremely well, never being flippant about it or milking it for all the tears she could get.

Finally, the characters. This book is chalked full of wonderful. Lennie was a fantastic narrator, her internal monologue made me both giggle and cringe, but most of the time I just wanted to give her a big hug. Her family, Gran and Big, were awesomely quirky. As was her best friend, Sarah. Any bestie who can pull off goth-slash-anything looks is bound to be amazing. And then there were the two boys, one who delivered a plethora of tingly, fluttery, totally swoon worthy moments, and another who was straight up ‘fan me now’ lusty. My only two complaints are that a) I wish we had learned even more about Joe (whose eyelashes, by the way, made me think of youtuber Jimmy’s), and b) Joe’s infatuation with Lennie was almost a little too close to instalove for my comfort.

Bottom line? This is a book I would read again, which makes me extremely happy that I followed through on that whim to buy it last year.

My rating: 8.5/10

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2012 7:27 pm

    Yeah for good books! The same thing happens to me with reviews – the more I like the book, the harder it is to write a review.

  2. April 25, 2012 7:41 pm

    Reading your review really makes me want to read this book that I haven’t heard about. You’re right about books that cause a hype because I have Divergent on my shelves and although I’m dying to read it I can’t seem to pick it up. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who does this! Love you review.

  3. April 26, 2012 1:43 pm

    I am glad to hear you loved this one! Though I didn’t like it as much as you did, I still remember parts of it very clearly. I had been hesitant about it for the same reason as you (the hype!), but it ended up pleasantly surprising.

  4. April 27, 2012 10:51 am

    I listened to the audiobook version and I LOVED it!!! Bat, Bat, BAT!! LOL! Great review:)

  5. April 27, 2012 1:24 pm

    I definitely remember hearing all the fun and hype over this one a few years back — and like you, that fervor sometimes discourages me from picking up a book! I get nervous that I won’t appreciate it the way others do, or that my expectations will be too high. Glad to hear this one lives up to its reputation, though — the writing sounds wonderful!

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