The Sky Is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books, 2010
Lennon "Lennie" Walker's world is shattered when Bailey, her older sister, best friend, and heart, dies at the young age of 19. Lost in a maelstrom of grief, she, her Gram, and her Uncle Big stumble through the ensuing weeks in a fog. Always the lesser star of the two sisters, Lennie doesn't know what to do with herself without her sister, by whom she was always defined. All she can do is write down bits of poetry on whatever scraps of paper or writing surface she can find, and fall into a tumultuous and grief-fueled relationship with Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, to her own horror and confusion.
And then Joe Fontaine comes into her life. Exuberant, joyful, positive Joe, half French and gorgeous, musical virtuoso. All of a sudden Lennie glimpses what it might feel like to be happy again. But will her reckless actions with Toby and her overwhelming sadness destroy the incredible love she and Joe could have?
This book has been bouncing around the blogosphere for some time now, so I decided to find out what all the fuss is about. And yes, it is excellently written, beautiful poetic prose with heartrending description and simile. I especially loved the poems Lennie writes and leaves wherever she thinks of the words she needs to release. That said, I found it slightly unbelievable that all of her thoughts are that graceful and elegant.
I think my biggest problem was that EVERYONE kept talking about this book's amazingness. I think I prepared myself to dislike it from the start because of all this hype (see Jamie's post on The Perpetual Page-Turner about the Hype Monster). It just didn't hit me like it did everyone else, though I was struck much more often toward the end by Lennie's pain than in the beginning. If this book does anything, it will most likely make you at least feel.
I was most struck by Lennie's observation that she will never stop mourning for her dead sister. She might lose a little bit of Bailey, but she will always love her and will therefore always grieve.
It is an exquisitely written book and I'm glad I read it. I just think I was prepared to not like it as much as everyone else.
Disclosure: I got this book from my library.