A few months ago, I fell in love with I’ll Give You The Sun, and I knew I wanted, needed to read more of Jandy Nelson’s books. The Sky is Everywhere was up next, and, I think I fell in love. AGAIN. Filled with raw emotions, relatable characters, this book took me on an emotional journey I’m not ready to forget. And I don’t want to forget, either.
“Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.”
The Sky is Everywhere deals with the aftermath of the sudden death of Lennie’s sister, Bailey. She was the outgoing, pretty, talented one, while Lennie always felt on the side, worthless. Yet they were inseparable, and even with her gone, we could still feel that deep, heartbreaking connection she and Bailey had. Caught between her own emotions, struggling to keep afloat, holding on to Bailey’s boyfriend Toby for comfort, finding new strength and unexpected sunshine in Joe, the new boy in town…Lennie is on her own grief journey, towards happiness, towards better days or at least, days where the ache won’t be as strong as it is right now. This is what astonished me, in that book. This book should be called, My Feelings Are Everywhere, seriously. It’s one of those stories that took my heart, shook it all around, made me aching for less, while wanting more. I wouldn’t stop thinking about it, couldn’t stop reading it, all the while every two sentences I felt like closing the book because it was too much. The ache, aching is such a strong feeling, and a hard one to capture in simple words. Yet Jandy Nelson completely amazed me once again with her talent. I felt the struggle, I felt the pain, I felt the gaping hole inside of my chest for a missing sister. Maybe it’s because I have a sibling I’m very close to, too, but I can say for sure that this book is filled with raw emotions. There’s something about the writing, the story, the whole thing that tugged into my heart telling me I needed more, I wanted more. I felt like crying every two pages. I felt like I was choking on my own feelings, because there are so many beautiful passages in which I could imagine awful things and just relate to the deepness of it all. Strange thing is, when it all ended, I wanted more. I + just thinking about it.
A LOVE TRIANGLE? WAIT! DON’T RUN AWAY JUST YET.
“And then he smiles, and in all the places around the globe where it’s night, day breaks.”
There’s something that got me, when I first read the synopsis of the book. In such a tragic story, who has time for one of the most ANNOYING TROPE OF EVER, the love triangle? Yet it seems like, in this story, there was time. If I cringed while reading the synopsis, and frowned more than once during the story, I could understand. Because, if you ask me, it wasn’t so much a love triangle as Lennie trying to balance between who she is, and who she wants to be. Past and present, memories and the road ahead. Feelings were only, if you ask me, involved on one side of the love triangle, so really, it’s a love story with its share of complications, but not a love triangle. And it’s not really a love story, actually. Before everything, it’s Lennie’s story. The disappearance of a loved one can result in a lot of actions, sometimes weird, sometimes you can’t even imagine. Boys, sexuality and this thing they are calling love-triangle but that isn’t really one, was Lennie’s way of coping with everything. And, if it took me a few pages and a few eyebrows raised to warm up to the character, I completely fell in love with her by the end of the book. Because we’re alike in many ways, maybe, but because I could relate, too. I just felt close to her. And aren’t the books where you feel close to the characters, the best kind of books?
FAMILY, GRIEF AND JUST STOP MAKING MY HEART BLEED
“Dreams change, yes, that makes sense, but I didn’t know dreams could hide inside a person.”
Moreover, each of the characters has its own background and stories, and they felt real, three-dimensional, pieces of a perfect 3D-puzzle I could see in my mind as I read. You know each of them has their own stories, between the uncle who loves to get married all the time, the absentee mother Lennie and Bailey used to make up stories for, the amazing yet kind of weird grandma…you know they’re all there, coping with what happened, and you can feel it hanging in the air. It’s heavy, it’s emotional, it’s just, pure Jandy Nelson art. You know, when you read her books, that you’re living the story, and experiencing everything. That’s because of the characters, the gorgeous, poetic without ever being too much writing… and because of the way that the author and the book manages to be an art-piece itself. There are notes, scattered around the book, in between chapters, with pieces of writing, of Lennie and Bailey’s stories, dialogues, thoughts, everything. It makes the story even stronger, and the book even more beautiful, inside, and out.
Raw emotions, strong relationships, and writing that feels like dreaming: Jandy Nelson certainly knows how to make me fall in love with a book, and is going way, way up on my favorites’ shelf. If you’re looking to give your heart a ride on a rollercoaster of feelings, then The Sky is Everywhere is for you. It is, indeed, everywhere, and printed on your heart forever.
Final rating: 5 drops, and it’s a hurricane!
Did you read The Sky Is Everywhere? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? Did you feel like crying every two pages, or am I just an emotional marshmallow? Do you want to read it?
Do you cry easily while reading books? Share your thoughts in comments!
Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere, Published by Dial Books, March 9th 2010.
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.