The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson appears to be your typical, love triangle ridden, young adult novel. In some ways, I suppose it is.
There’s an awkward, quirky girl with curly hair and a knack for the clarinet named Lennie
There’s a love triangle — complete with two swoon worthy boys who will make you a hopeless romantic:
- The lovely Joe Fontaine: a musical young man with a rambunctious family (of only brothers) who will make you absolutely love sick with how much he bats his eyelashes.
- Toby Shaw: a skater/cowboy who never noticed Lennie until his girlfriend, Lennie’s sister, the magical Bailey Walker, died suddenly.
But there’s also a very real storyline that revolves around Bailey’s death and how the characters live after her loss.
When Bailey died, Lennie didn’t just lose a sister, she lost her best friend. Bailey was known as a whirlwind kind of a girl who Lennie always felt overshadowed by.
Bailey was the star. She was an actress. She was Lennie’s sidekick. Together Lennie and Bailey kept up with their odd family — a family that consists of Gram and Uncle Big, two characters so loving and real that I sometimes feel I can claim them as my own.
There’s also, on occasion, a very significant houseplant that appears throughout the book and tends to mimic Lennie’s life events in different ways, usually with spots appearing on its leaves.
When the book begins, Lennie is going back to school…on the last day of the school year…for the first time since losing her sister. This is, of course, when she meets Joe, and finds herself instantly drawn to him.
Enter Toby, her sister’s fiancée, one of the only people who understands just how it feels to be left in the wake of Bailey’s death.
The love triangle that plays out is full of grief; it’s as emotional as it is beautiful.
The Sky is Everywhere is touching, raw and will pull at every single one of your heartstrings with its accurate portrayal of what grief feels like when you’re 100% immersed in it. It perfectly describes the moments that stem from feeling like you’ve lost everything that’s important.
The plot is so much more than the love triangle, it is intricate and powerful in ways that I cannot even attempt to describe.
This book understands you in ways that people sometimes just can’t.
While being so emotional and grief-ridden, this read is also quite hilarious. Lennie is always true to her awkward-self, to her coined phrases “WTF-asaurus,” and thoughts like “What’s your major, Lennie? Oh yeah: Dorkology,” that any girl who is even the tiniest bit awkward can relate to.
But then there are the serious quotes, the ones that will make you highlight as you read. The quotes that move you and understand you.
Beautiful, heart wrenching quotes on grief. Nelson nails it with these few:
“I’d need a new alphabet, one made of falling, of tectonic plates shifting, of the deep devouring dark.”
“Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.”
“I want to hurl a building at God.”
And then there are the beautiful, wonderful quotes about falling in love:
“And then he smiles, and in all the places around the globe where it’s night, day breaks.”
“Remember how it was when we kissed? Armfuls and armfuls of light thrown right at us.”
Bottom line: You need to read it. This book is one that you won’t regretting putting on your shelf.
Nelson’s newest books, also focus on grief. Taking a different turn in talking about 2 twins, Jude and Noah, after losing their mother and drifting apart. It’s just as fantastic as The Sky is Everywhere, and definitely a book you should pick up if you like this book. (And trust me, you will.)
P.S. Be sure to order your print copy here, because it’s the kind of book you will want to write in. A digital version of the book just doesn’t do Lennie’s musings and writings justice. Trust.
Let us know if you’ve picked up the book with #TDYReads.