Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

January 2, 2012

Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy NelsonThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published by Walker on 9th March 2010
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Pages: 320
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.
Whenever I look on a lot of people’s ‘Favourite Ever YA Contemp’ lists, this book is pretty much always there, so I needed very little encouragement to pick this one up and read it. This was such a quick read, yet there was an incredibly amount of emotion lying on these pages. I can’t even begin to summarise the story, the one I pinched from Goodreads will have to suffice.
What worked for me: The characters in this book were absolutely incredible. I felt something for every single one of them. My heart ached for Lennie, Gram, Big and Toby. The loss that they were going through was awful, and Nelson cleverly portrayed this through her words. I wanted to climb into the pages of my book and knock some sense into Lennie when she was with Toby, however strong her feelings were for him. I loved the introduction of Joe’s character and how he helped pull not only Lennie from her grief, but Big and Gram as well. All of these characters were diverse and full of depth, and Bailey’s death was pretty much always at the forefront of their minds, which I thought was extremely important. The closure Lennie received at the end of the book was well-written, it wasn’t as simple as ‘oh I’ve fallen in love and now I’m happy’ it was a long, eye-opening process that was dealt with magnificently by Nelson. I also loved Lennie’s memories that she’d written on literally anything she could and just dropped in the most random of places. I felt they really helped me get to know not only Lennie, but Bailey as well, and I loved how they were brought into the main part of Lennie’s story, and that they were also mentioned throughout the book as Lennie wrote some of them.
What didn’t work for me: I loved pretty much everything to do with this book. There was not a single thing that didn’t really work for me, perhaps I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of Sarah in the book, then again, perhaps not.

The Sky is Everywhere is a phenomenal book that deserves every single spot on people’s favourite YA contemps. It has definitely gained a spot onto mine.