Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere

Title: The Sky Is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Grief
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 2010
Pages: 288
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I can think about is sec. She is worried about me because one of her house-plants has spots.

Those are the first lines from this book. I think I fell in love with Lennie Walker on the first page. She’s grieving and confused but manages to keep a slightly sardonic tone throughout it all. Her sister – and best friend – Bailey dies without any warning and Lennie is left to try to move on without her. Her grandmother is slightly eccentric and her uncle perpetually stoned but somehow they are all trying to muddle though. When it seems like no one knows what she’s feeling, Lennie finds a kindred spirit in Toby – her sister’s boyfriend – and she knows it’s wrong but he understands what she’s feeling in a way that no one else seems to. If that wasn’t confusing enough, Lennie meets Joe, musical genius Joe… If ever Lennie needed her big sister it was now…

This book is beautiful. The writing and feeling that Jandy Nelson manages to infuse her words with is amazing to read. Lennie is a typical teenage girl who has somewhat extraordinary circumstances. Her mother dumped her sister and her on their grandmother’s doorstep when Lennie was a year old, her uncle, Big, is in love with falling in love and had been married – and divorced – numerous times. And her gram is a garden guru who goes around and prunes other people’s plants but refuses to let anyone touch her own. These are characters that I enjoyed reading about. They’re vibrant and three-dimensional in their imperfection. And that’s how I view Lennie too. She’s heartbroken and makes mistakes. Her behaviour regarding her romantic life may be somewhat unconventional and I can see why other readers may have a problem with it but to me, Lennie’s actions are what I would expect of someone who is human and hurting. Not always logical but what I admire about Lennie is that she does take responsibility for what she’s done.

One of my favourite things about this book was the character of Joe Fontaine. He’s so enthusiastic and in the moment that it’s hard not to fall a little in love with him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his happiness is palpable – as is his heartbreak. Nelson describes his smile as if the way it makes Lennie feel like it’s a physical sunbeam. It’s kind of incredible. He contrasts nicely against Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby – who is slightly damaged but well-meaning.

Another highlight of this book for me was the little notes and poems that Lennie writes. She leaves her mark wherever she goes leaving little notes and thoughts on leaves, flyers – anything she can get her hands and a pen on. I thought it was a beautiful way for her to be able to have a conversation with her sister when talking was no longer option. The is one that Lennie writes about grief being a house that really made me feel for Lennie. Her guerrilla poetry was a great way to give Lennie’s relationship with Bailey a voice without Bailey saying a word.

This book is definitely one I recommend for fans of heartfelt and touching young adult literature. It’s moving and beautiful with character that made me laugh and broke my heart. I loved reading it and it makes my list of top five YA books I’ve ever read. Five stars!

Thanks to The Reading Room for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository


Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Beginnings in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Favourite Beginnings or Endings in Books

When I saw this week’s topic, I thought that I’d do what I normally do when there’s a dual option. Pick five of each – five beginnings and five endings. The only problem was when I started choosing my favourite beginnings and I got waaayyy past five. Way past ten. But I have narrowed it down to my favourite ten beginnings. And just because I can, two of my favourite endings.

I’ve got a fairly terrible memory. It’s why I write everything down. I often forget character names as  soon as I’ve finished reading a book – it’s why for every book I read I have my own little cheat sheet with important details written down. So I don’t remember many quotes. And I don’t remember all that many beginnings. But the ones that I do remember are from books that have had some kind of profound impact one me.

BEGINNINGS: 

 

Pride and Prejudice The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
This is the book that started me seriously reading classic literature. Before that I was a contemporary girl all the way. I think it’s fantastic that the opening line really does encapsulate what the book means to me and is still relevant hundreds of years later.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsFar out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun
– 
Much like the first line, this book is just silly.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. RowlingMr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
– 
I don’t think I ever realized what an impact this series would have on my life when I first read these words. But now, 13 years after I read them for the first time I still adore Harry and his adventures as much as I did when I was 12.

Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #5) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Matilda

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen FieldingI will not drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week.
– 
Possibly my first array into chick-lit but not my last.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS LewisThere was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it
– 
Because sometimes in real life (as in fiction) names do play a part in how we see people.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?
– 
Exactly. A book without pictures? What’s the point? 😉

Matilda by Roald Dahl: It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he ors he is wonderful.

The Princess Bride The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1) The Sky Is Everywhere

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
– 
This is my favourite book in all the world, though I have read it a thousand times. Slight exaggeration, perhaps. But seriously.  I love this book. I like it’s humour and it’s bluntness. Life isn’t fair. I think it’s one of the first books that I’ve read where things don’t go the hero’s way just cause he’s handsome and has a good heart. Or that the heroine is called out on her shallow vapidness. And that, no matter who you are, sometimes life sucks. You can be young and in love and still captured by pirates. Or kidnapped by a giant… okay – so maybe it’s not so universally applicable. But it’s still fantastic and I love the opening line.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony SnicketIf you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
– 
It’s lines like that just make me want to read MORE!

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her house-plants has spots.
– 
Because a grandmother who thinks her granddaughter’s mental health is reflected in a plant is definitely someone I want to read more about.

Endings

 

Charlotte's Web Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
This book made me cry. I remember reading this line (actually I think I was so little it was my big brother reading it to me) and weeping.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.
– 
Okay, so maybe I’m no a Twilight fan. But I liked this line because I thought it perfectly summed up the entire four novels. For me, this series wasn’t about vampires or some evil Italian cult who wuss out of a final battle after all that build up (okay, maybe I’m still a little bitter about how things went down in book 4). It was about love. The kind of love that does best when it’s isolated and all-consuming. In a creepy obsessive way but it works for these two so who am I to judge. But yes. I do like this line because for me – it is Bella and Edward.

Those are my favourite beginnings and a few endings thrown in for good measure! Do you like any of my quotes listed? Have any betters ones? Please share! 😀 Hope you all have a fantastic week!

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Stacking the Shelves – Sunday 21st July 2013

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created and hosted by Tynga @ Tynga’s Reviews. It gives bloggers the chance to show their readers books they’ve bought, borrowed or received during the week.

I’ve had a great week book wise. Have a look at my acquisitions for this week:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – I got this book to review from The Reading Room and I’ve only just started it but I’m surprised by just how funny it is. It’s beautiful and fantastically eccentric. I’m really enjoying it.

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster (Harlequin) – This book is a new adult novel set in Byron Bay and Sydney. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the blurb is so enticing… “A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.”

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

I was lucky enough to win this dystopian pack from Date A Book. Siege by Sarah Mussi (great photo skillz there. I managed to cover up the authors name. It’s SARAH MUSSI!) and the Kirsten Dunst movie, Upside Down.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

And finally, If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This is one that I borrowed from my local library this week. They have a fantastic selection of books. I also picked up a couple of cookbooks! I’ve heard amazing things about If I Stay and am very eager to experience Gayle Forman’s writing for myself.

 

That’s the additions to my personal library for this week. 🙂 Feel free to leave me a comment telling me which books you got this week. Thanks 🙂