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The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere (edition 2010)

by Jandy Nelson

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8509510,560 (4.2)24
Title:The Sky Is Everywhere
Authors:Jandy Nelson
Info:Dial (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:read 2010, young adult, fiction, library

Work details

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

  1. 01
    Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (kaledrina)
  2. 01
    Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: While this book isn't about grieving, it certainly is about music/singing. The musicians/singers will love this book.
  3. 01
    Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (weener)
    weener: Want a less overwritten book about grieving for a sibling? Try Broken Soup.

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Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
The Sky is Everywhere is so unique because it deals with something that most are predisposed to hate: love triangles.

I went in thinking that this book would have been tolerable at best ( despite all the positive reviews because I’m very pessimistic ), which led me to go in with very very low expectations.

In a way I’m glad for that! This book blew me away! Not only does it take love triangles and exemplifies perfectly how they should be dealt with, but it also does so with such beautiful prose and pacing that you are captivated from the very beginning.

This book starts off introducing us to Lennie and the fact that she has lost her sister unexpectedly. Her grief is what first draws her into love interest #1, Toby. Toby was his sister’s boyfriend, and is the only one who knows what kind of grief Lennie is going through. Love interest #2 appears in a completely serendipitous way; he’s the new boy in town. Joe Fontaine doesn’t see Lennie with pity, he makes her feel happy for the brief moments she doesn’t remember her sister. Throughout the book, Lennie tries to sort out her feelings for each boy, while dealing with her grief over loosing her closest sister.

I love the fact that her deliberation between each boy made her learn so much. Lennie was lost for a while, and yet each boy (one more than the other) helped her put the pieces back together.

This book also dealt with grief so realistically! Grief was a heavy theme here as well, and the way Jandy Nelson explored it really floored me. I willingly let my heart get broken and do not regret a single thing.

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is."

Between each chapter there is also a piece of poetry written by Lennie, which gives us a closer insight into her relationship with her sister. Lennie writes these poems anywhere and everywhere and scatters them around town. I loved that. This was easily one of my favorite parts of the book because it solidifies the sisterly relationship more.

I also love how there’s a big emphasis on “family” here. Lennie’s family is really important to the story, and they truly make it all the more interesting.

The romance is so sweet and heartbreaking and smile inducing all at once! It was so beautiful how it kept building up regardless of Lennie’s deliberation between Toby and Joe. Throughout the novel you could see the scales going more to someone else’s favor than the other and I just loved that even if Lennie couldn’t see it yet, we [the readers] could.

I could go on about this book, because it’s honestly and easily one of my all-time favorites but I’ll just end it by saying that you should definitely try this book. It’s really extraordinary ( )
  mariannelee_0902 | Jun 18, 2015 |
OMG it was soooooo perfect!

I love all the poems, how it told Bailey and Len's background as sisters! I just wish I knew what happened to Toby, that poor guy.

But! I love this book!!!!! ( )
  englisherna | Apr 8, 2015 |
Ok this book contains some of the most beautiful metaphors and writing I have ever read. Although I had trouble connecting to the main character, I really enjoyed immersing myself into this traumatic, deep and soul-sucking story.

We follow Lennie; 16-years-old, introverted, companion pony and recently wracked with grief over the death of her best friend, her sister. We all handle grief in different, sometimes un-characteristic ways and Lennie's just happens to be one of the latter; all she can think of is sexual interactions and kissing the opposite sex and this is exactly what lands her in trouble as if it wasn't hard enough. First she's making out with her dead-sister's boyfriend which is extremely closely followed by eating the face of the new boy in town. She needs to get a grip before she loses the "love of her life" whilst continuing to hold on to the only remaining essences of her sister.

There are a lot of aspects in this book that I would LOVE to delve into and discuss but this post would be super long so I'll try and summarise.
First of all, Jandy Nelson made the right choice with stepping into writing novels from her usual poetry only work. Damn can she write. Every page is full of beauty and it grips you, haunts you, soothes you and move you. It's a sure work of art.
I especially love the extra tidbits; the "found" poems written by the character which begin or follow a new chapter. It makes the story feel so real and binds you with emotion. The situation covered in the book is real enough and everyone can relate, in some way, to each character, at any age.

The characters I loved the most are Grams (because she's so real and I feel so sorry for her time and time again. This is the character that truly breaks my heart) and Big (because he is so awesomely eccentric, even when he's suffering, and always puts a smile on my face). I'm not saying that I hated the other characters, I just didn't really believe in them so much and who doesn't have a crazy uncle?!

The main drawback for me in this was Lennie. I understand that she's going to be in the pit of darkness and despair and make some questionable decisions and maybe act out, but I just don't believe (since the whole story pretty much envelopes you in the idea that her and her sister are so close) that she could be so stupid with Toby. She even said she never understood what her sister saw in him then 5 mins later she's eating his face and continues to do so even when she's supposedly in love. That's the other thing... falling in love after 3 days... I don't buy it... sorry. She comes off (to me) as extremely selfish, immature, self-indulgent and extremely hypocritical so I found it hard to really sympathise with her until maybe the end. The only situation she didn't have any control over was Bailey dying but the rest she brought upon herself. Yes, you can argue that it's the extent of the grief but it just didn't sit right with me. The way she treated other people grated so hard on me and then the way she would cry about it just... eugh.

I did like Toby and I did believe in him making the mistake because he lost a lot more in the sense he lost the future he'd dreamed of and planned for. I believed him and really felt for him but still, I was screaming at him half the time too but I could forgive him more that Lennie.

Joe is great, everyone loves Joe. Falling in love so quickly though? Even after all he's been through... I don't know...

Overall I would give 3 1/2 stars to this book because I was so captivated by the words and imagery, some of the characters and the extra poems but I just wasn't as emotionally crippled as I would expect from a book dealing with such a traumatic and serious theme. ( )
  Amberlouichu | Feb 24, 2015 |
Lennie, 17, lost her older sister four weeks ago, when Bailey died unexpectedly from a heart arrhythmia. The girls were especially close because their mother had abandoned them when Lennie was one, and they were raised by their grandmother and uncle. But their relationship was never equal; Bailey was the lead star, the race horse, and Lennie played the “companion pony,” “the side-kick sister, tucked into a corner of her shadow.” Lennie thought she was happy that way.

Now that a month has passed, it is time for Lennie to return to school. She hasn't been in touch with her friends; she has withdrawn from everyone, communicating only with her dead sister by leaving small notes and poems all around for Bailey perhaps to see from Heaven. But unexpectedly upon returning to school, hormones kick in for Lennie, and they do so with a vengeance. Lennie finds herself dealing with two attractions at once: her sister’s boyfriend Toby, and a new guy in school, Joe, who not only plays music with abandon and passion and courage, but has a personality to match, and a smile as big as the sun.

When Toby and Lennie are together, they feel like she somehow they are getting Bailey back. Lennie reflects:

"Bailey loved both Toby and so much - he and I almost make up her whole heart, and maybe that’s it, what we were trying to do by being together, maybe we were trying to put her heart back together again.”

Then there’s Joe, who makes Lennie feel joy, and like she wants to be alive. But this feels like a betrayal to Bailey:

"I don’t believe time heals. I don’t want it to. If I heal, doesn’t that mean I’ve accepted the world without her?”

Lennie, her family, and Toby, have to learn how to grieve and how to heal, and Joe has to decide if he can accept their choices.

Evaluation: Though the plot sounds like a very ordinary coming-of-age story, in fact this book is extraordinarily well done. It is full of poetry and music, passion and compassion, and endearing episodes of teenage angst and humor. This author is terrific, and the writing is exceptional. It is not a depressing book; rather, it is an exuberantly told story of self-discovery, renewal, and an affirmation of life. ( )
  nbmars | Feb 20, 2015 |
Lennie's older sister Bailey died suddenly at age 19, leaving a grief-stricken younger sister, grandmother, uncle, and boyfriend behind. Unable to cope, Lennie takes to scribbling poems and memories on scraps of paper or trash and burying them around town or in the garden or woods, and she and Bailey's boyfriend Toby turn to each other for comfort. Though she knows it's wrong, Lennie also thinks that Toby is the only other person who understands her grief.

Though Bailey's death was devastating, it has also broken Lennie open to be herself in the world, not just Bailey's shadow. A new boy in school, Joe, falls in love with the new Lennie - crazy sad, musical, beautiful - and Lennie is torn between Toby and Joe.

Set in the same Northern California setting as I'll Give You the Sun, The Sky is Everywhere also shares its offbeat culture, unusual family arrangements, honoring of art and music, and closeness with the natural world. And, of course, there are some pretty top-notch kissing scenes. Ultimately, Lennie faces the question of how to build her own identity, even as she manages (or, sometimes, doesn't manage) her grief.


What are we going to do with all this love? (Lennie and Toby, 31)

Grief is a house that disappears / each time someone knocks at the door / or rings the bell (fragment of Lennie's poem, 73)

When I'm with him, / there is someone with me / in my house of grief, / someone who knows / its architecture as I do... (Lennie's poem, 80)

But what if music is what escapes when a heart breaks? (86)

I told him I was looking at the sky. He said, "That's a misconception, Lennie, the sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet." (Uncle Big, 117)

How can the cost of this change in me be so great? It doesn't seem right that anything good should come out of Bailey's death. (144-145)

We can't keep wrapping our arms around a ghost. (148)

I heard this expression once: Each time someone dies, a library burns. I'm watching it burn right to the ground. (152)

How will I survive this missing? How do others do it? (168)

This is our story to tell. ...I've never once thought about the interpretative, the storytelling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever. (185)

...missing her, missing the girl I used to be around her, missing who we all used to be. We will never be those people again. She took them all with her. (208)

I try to fend off the oceanic sadness, but I can't. It's such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what's lost, but to be enchanted by what was. (275) ( )
  JennyArch | Jan 5, 2015 |
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For my mother.
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Gram is worried about me. Its not because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasnt contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all i think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her houseplants has spots.
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Haiku summary
To wake or sleep look
or listen still just me no
goodbye just blue sky

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In the months after her sister dies, seventeen-year-old Lennie falls into a love triangle and discovers the strength to follow her dream of becoming a musician.

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