Thursday, 12 March 2015
Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walker Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: January 22nd, 2015 (new edition)
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 suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two boys. 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...
When this book was first published, I didn't want to read it. I didn't want to read about a girl mourning her sister, about her grief and how she felt. Then suddenly I did. I read it quickly, completely dissolving into Jandy Nelson's beautiful words and quiet style of writing, revelling in the additional poetry included by the clever way of Lennie leaving them all over town. There is nothing this book won't make you feel, so do be prepared for that.
Lennie Walker is struggling to cope with the death of her older sister, Bailey, and she has no idea how to get round it or through it. Her remaining family tries to help, but they're all grieving themselves. So instead she turns to two very different boys - Toby, who was Bailey's boyfriend, and Joe, a new boy in town with the ability to light up a room. Suddenly grief isn't the end of all things, and instead it could be just the beginning.
Jandy Nelson has herself experienced loss and grief, and it really shows in her writing. Certain passages almost made me cry because they hit a nerve and touched on something I've been going through myself, and I could empathise with Lennie more than I'd ideally like. Every page is like reading poetry printed and bound into a novel, and there's no end to the raw outpouring of emotion that emanates from Lennie every time she thinks or speaks. She's truly lost, but willing to find her way again.
The Sky is Everywhere is one of the best books I've read on the subject of grief and loss, and I'd recommend it to anyone who's been through it themselves. Even if you haven't, it's a beautifully written, honest and realistic novel about life, love and living, and I can absolutely see why it's so well-revered by YA readers. I'm looking forward to reading Nelson's next book, I'll Give You the Sun, and I only hope it's half as good as this.