Jandy Nelson’s book, The Sky is Everywhere, is filled with everything a Young Adult reader craves. There’s romance and heartbreak, laughter and (lots of) tears and there’s a big, mind-blowing, life-altering question: What do you do and who do you turn to when your one sturdy and reliable rock is lost forever?
Lennie Walker always admired her older sister, Bailey. She never minded basking in her radiant glow. She liked it, as a matter of fact. And when her sister suddenly dies, not only is Lennie faced with the crumbling mess that is her whole being, but she also faces a choice: be with the boy who lives with her in her overwhelming house of grief, or be with the boy who helps her glide away from her sadness.
To be honest, I am a sucker for books like this one. Where the heroine faces the biggest challenge of her life, seemingly all alone, when suddenly, a boy (or two, in this case) appears out of the blue to rescue her. You know those books?
However, if you lack my degree of lame-ness and don’t really enjoy those kinds of books, please DO NOT write off this book. While this novel may follow a story line similar to the one I just described, it has much more depth and substance to it. Nelson’s style and the way she conducts herself through her characters is completely distinctive and refreshing. Lennie thinks and acts in ways that are so natural and reflexive that you feel like you know her, like you have known her your entire life. Nelson brings her to life so accurately that you almost fall in love with her character. You believe in her. You want her to be happy. To succeed.
Not that she doesn’t have her faults, because, after all, a character cannot be dynamic if she lacks some not-so-good attributes. Lennie is indecisive and closed off and manages to drive away the people who care for her most. But that’s what this story is all about.
Let me rephrase that. This story is all about Lennie’s journey, and which paths she chooses to take. She faces the ultimate belly-gnawing, hole-in-your-very-being feeling that accompanies the death of the person closest to you. She completely loses her way and has to find her way back. But what is just purely awesome is that she is not alone. She finds her way back to the surface with the help of two different boys, her grandmother, her uncle, her best friend and her absent mother. She faces crazy hard choices and has to deal the circumstances of falling in love, all the while being unsure and confused and just sad. It’s not just about her trying to choose which boy to be with, it is about Lennie, making choices and discovering herself, and her grief, and how to deal with simply living.
The Sky is Everywhere is comprised of encompassing vulnerability, grief that makes you question your own happiness (in the best way possible) and romance that makes you believe in love again.
From one young adult to another, this is one of the greatest YA novels that I have read in a while. I literally could not put it down (I even slept with it when I finished reading because I wasn’t quite emotionally ready for it to end. Is that weird? That’s really weird, isn’t it? Ah, well.) I am thrilled about reading Nelson’s book, excited for more to come from her (?) and so jazzed to tell others about it.
Ok, to finish up… PLEASE go read The Sky is Everywhere. IT IS SO MARVELOUS EXCEPTIONAL SPLENDID SUPERB…I could go on for many more synonyms of great but this is where I leave you. Catch you fellow readers on the flip side.
Till we meet again…
8 out of 10