Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Genre: YA Fiction
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 300
Book Source: IBT

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.

Simply breathtaking!! I spent the entire book alternately crying and laughing, goofy smile on my face, tears in my eyes, sighing, giggling, savouring. The Sky Is Everywhere is exquisitely written; it's a book of contrasts exploring love and grief with raw honesty and lyrical beauty, despair and darkness, joy and sunshine, humour, passion, poignancy, I couldn't read it fast enough, I didn't want it to end. It's the first time a book has ever made me wish that I could write, wish that I could so eloquently express on paper exactly how I feel about the 'losses' in my life and how they've shaped who I am.

When I'm with him
there is someone with me
in my house of grief,
someone who knows the architecture as I do,
who can walk with me,
from room to sorrowful room,
making the whole rambling structure
of wind and emptiness
not quite as scary, as lonely
as it was before.

All the future we will not have rips and retches out of me into the garbage pail I am crouched over, until there's nothing left inside, nothing but me in this ghastly orange room. And that's when it hits ...
Without the harbor and mayhem of Toby's arms and the sublime distraction of Joe's, there's only me. Me, like a small seashell with the lonliness of the whole ocean roaring invisibly within.

This is no ordinary YA book, it's an 'ageless' read, that resonated deeply for me. I won't rehash what the story's about, (you can read the synopsis for that) I have too much to rave about as it is. I fell totally in love with all the characters. Lennie, her eccentric Gram with the aphrodisiacal roses, pot-smoking Uncle Big, her sister's boyfriend Toby and of course sweet Joe. In Lennie I recognised a kindred spirit as I'm sure many who have experienced life changing loss would identify. The sex-crazed side of things added a whole other dimension of confusion and guilt for Lennie but I confess it brought me lots of laughs.

"I thought maybe we could hang out," he says.
This is what I hear in my mind: boner, boner, erection, hard-on, woody, boner, boner, boner.

The Sky Is Everywhere is a beautiful five star read, a favourite for 2010 and one I know I'll re-read again and again, (something I rarely do.) It has earned a place on my bookshelf and captured a special place in my heart. Have I conveyed how much I loved this book? I truly hope so.

I'll be waiting with bated breath for more from Jandy Nelson. Visit Jandy's website to find out more about this talented author.


This month on The Eclectic Reader one lucky reader can win Linger OR Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage OR The Confessions of Catherine de Medici OR Eternal on the Water. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. It really is sounds beautiful. I love a book that can make me cry which means it really is a good book =)

  2. I dont like really sad books which make me cry but you have put her on par with very good authors. The Book must be good!

  3. Nice review.
    But I have realized that perhaps not my kind of YA

  4. Oh boy, I can't wait to get my hands on this one. It sounds wonderful and your review really shows your enthusiasm and how touching a read this was. I believe anyone who suffers grief will relate. Thanks for the quotes too.

  5. I adored this one as well. Such a beautiful novel.

  6. Wow Sheree...this book sounds like a real emotional rollercoaster. Is is not weird that I like emotional rollercoaster books? I think so. Ah well...there is someting to be said for a book that has you crying and laughing thoughout the is good for the soul, at times.

    I am putting this one on my tbr list.

  7. I love the grieving stories. I never tire of reading books about the Light in the Darkness and all that. I also never tire of reading reviews of this book, though it kills me. I need to read it.

  8. I've been meaning to read this. Hardcore. I've had it out of the library twice in the past couple of months, but it's a testament to the drowning feeling I have when I contemplate starting a book that I don't own/haven't been promising to read for forever...

    But, I've seen so many great reviews (including this one!) that I think I must make it a priority. Better go find some tissues, too...

  9. I felt exactly the same way when I read this book. I forced myself to put it down to get some sleep, but it was an incredible and moving story. I adored it and I love your review :D

  10. Wow. To go through that many emotions? How could I not add this on my list.

  11. This sounds fantastic. Are you still going to buy it? Then I can read it. Great review!

  12. Don't worry about rushing out to buy if for me to read LOL. I've ordered it from the library!

  13. WOW! Simply incredible, that's how I see it after I read your review on this book. I've meant to pick this one up for awhile now but was a bit hesitant because of its size (LOL, I've this awful habit that I rarely buy books that's less than 300 pages!). I guess I've to make an exception for this one!

  14. I never paid much attention to this book, but you've piqued my interest with this radiant review. I love YA novels that are ageless reads.


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