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Monday, 26 April 2010

Review: The Sky is Everywhere By Jandy Nelson

Synopsis: From Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker 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 centre 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, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding...

Although I found the start a little odd and couldn't really relate to the female protagonist, Lennon, well at first this soon disappeared as the story progressed.
Written in first person narrative from Lennon's point of view, a musically gifted 17 year old, who was happy to stay in the background of her own life. The story deals with how Lennon not only copes with the loss of her older sister, Bailey, but amid the grief finds first love, deepens family relationships, takes charge of her own life and uncovers some skeletons in the closet along the way.
Beautifully written, I found myself drawn into Lennon's life and truly relating to her feelings. The 1st person narrative is interspersed with a 3rd person narrator finding pieces of poetry in random places and on very strange things. The poetry really added to the depth of the emotion conveyed, the 3rd person narrator takes on a whole new meaning at the end of the book *no spoilers* but it made me think of how karma works and that everything happens for a reason. It all ties together beautifully.
The music and literature references were almost lyrical, you could really feel the passion for music coming from the pages. The musical interpretation of feelings was a truly amazing analogue, personally I equate certain songs to specific events and feelings. I still can't listen to The Rose by Bette Midler without crying (it was played at my mothers funeral).
But what if music is what escapes when a heart breaks
Very powerful emotions are emanated within the prose. From the disconnected feeling of not understanding how the world keeps going on as normal when your own life has been torn into pieces and nothing feels normal. To the all consuming passion of first love, although in this case it is tainted by grief and loss.
Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath
I adored Lennon's quirky family even if I couldn't relate to them. They really epitomise the saying of being comfortable in your own skin, and their personalities added a lighter feel to the story balancing the strong emotions. With such kooky relatives it is easy to see how Lennon was able to blend into the background for so long.
The only thing I didn't like was the relationship between Lennon and Toby (Baileys boyfriend), I know grief causes you to do strange things but I just couldn't get to grips with there relationships and actions. Some of it is later explained but I still did not enjoy that aspect of the story.
The references to the magic of nature, especially the roses, brought to mind Wings by Aprilynne Pike and The Splendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore who both use nature as a magical entity in it's own right.

A terrific and emotional read. Be warned you will need tissues as it is a tear-jerker. 

The BookDepository


  1. Hi. I only skimmed your review because I'm reading this at the moment. (thanks again for that!)

  2. This sounds so beautiful. I'm not always great at reading tear-jerkers but I'm starting to get a little stronger at it, and I'm thinking this will be umissable so I need to be brave! Thanks for a lovely review.


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