January 11, 2014

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

by Jandy Nelson
published March 2010 by Dial (imprint of Penguin)
Young Adult/Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
a standalone
288 pages


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.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

“The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” 

In Jamie's annual end of year book survey there was this question: What book you don't believe you waited until this year to write? THAT IS exactly my reaction after I read this debut piece from Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere. Now that the book has been published for almost 4 years (I knowww, so late to the partayyy), I don't really hear much about it on the blogosphere, but everytime I stumbled upon a review or anything where the subject talked about The Sky is Everywhere, all I hear is good things, only the good things. So why did I wait that long?! Silly me.

Also, I want to try something new today! Inspired by Jana's review writing style, I'm gonna write about the book in points. So, The Sky is Everywhere:
  • The name of our main character in the book is Lennie, short for Lennon Walker, and I have this like/dislike relationship with her. Lennie had been living under her sister's shadow all her life, but now that she had no sister anymore, she didn't know what to do or how to act. 'Like being a companion pony next to a race horse,' She said. You know that eventhough having insecurities is normal for teenagers, I don't really like reading about it. Lennie refused to be 'on the spotlight', confused when people actually pay attention to her, didn't want to compete first chair in band for the clarinets, and I just wanted to say 'Eyyyy, just give it a shot!'. Aside from that, I love this girl's personality! Lennie loves to wrote poems on various surfaces (novel margins, under a rock, on a tree's skin, in a piece a paper slipped below a pot... She's creative at this) then scattered it in random places, she can play music, she also reads literatures (and has a HUGE fondness of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights). In short, LENNIE = A CUTE DORK.
  • The book talks about grief, though not in a gloomy way that reminds you of If I Stay (did you find If I Stay gloomy?) or any other books similar to If I Stay. Grief and death were the big talks of The Sky is Everywhere, mostly about how the people in the book deal with this sudden occurence of Bailey's death. I don't always agree with the way Lennie treat her grief (I hate it, even!) I want to whack Lennie's head everytime she fell into the same hole again and again with Toby (I mean, the things they did, ugh, wtf?! How could you do that guys?!) but I'm glad that at the end, she learned from it.

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” 

  • Joe Fontaine! Oooooh, this guy. We cannot talk about this book without mentioning my first 2014 book boyfriend (YES, that's right). Joe was the new guy in town, he's from Paris, he shares Lennie's passion for music (Joe plays guitar). And he has this magical eyelashes that bat! LOL. He doesn't blink, said Lennie, he bat. Bat. Bat. Bat. For some unknown reasons Joe reminds me so much of Levi from Fangirl (can't these guys be more different?!), but to me Joe is SOOO MUCH BETTER. He's everything that Levi lacks of (Sorry, Rainbow, I still like him though!). I love Joe. Joe is sweet, charming, blends well with Lennie's family (an ability to be close to the girl's family is important!), he managed to FOUND ALL THE POEMS THAT LENNIE WROTE, and he's an amazing player. Lennie wrote a piece about him once (or twice, I can't really remember)
When he plays

all the flowers swap colors

and years and decades and centuries

of rain pour back into the sky”

My reaction:

Aaaaaaawwwwwe <3
  • Now that there's no more of her sister, Lennie only has two figures that she can call 'family': a grandma and an uncle. Lennie's mother ran off when the children were still little kids and never come back even once. There was never a mention of Lennie's father. But I love the Walker's family dynamic, however dysfunctional and unconventional they are. They grieve in different ways, but I can feel that those two people really love Lennie & her sister Bailey. I adore their ability to have fun and their sense of humour, too!
  • There were a lot of (sarcastic) humours thrown in almost every part of The Sky is Everywhere, and I loved it! Lots of LOL moments. I think Jandy Nelson wrote a perfect portion for the humour, romance, and grief. And I got ALL THE FEELS. The sad when Lennie remembered her sister (and missing mother!), the warm-fuzzy feelings everytime Joe Fontaine was near, and laughed along with her and her family on fun times. Feel is important, guys.

In conclusion, I LOVE The Sky is Everywhere! Some might found the book as 'not their cup of coffee', but whatever. It's an amazing debut that I cannot believe I put off until some days ago to read it! Death, grief, love, music, family are some big themes in the book and it blends perfectly, making the book such a fun piece of writing to read. If the synopsis reminds you of Before I Die, or maybe 13 Reasons Why (I know, I'm confusing that way), don't let it get to you! I love the way Jandy Nelson writes and I WILL make myself read her upcoming works in the future (I'll Give You the Sun is set to be published this September, guys)

Lots of other readers have talked about The Sky is Everywhere too...Two of them: The Book Smugglers | The Starry Eyed Revue

Tell me: Have you read the book? What do you think? If you haven't, well, read it! I promise it's a good book. By the way, I'm getting better at updating, yeah? This is the 4th post in a month, yay! I hope it's not only because I'm on my semester break and have nothing to do at hand, hehehe. As always, have fun and read some more! :)


  1. I also experienced a like/dislike relationship with her :/ Good review.

    1. But overall, did you enjoy the book?
      Thank you! :)

  2. First, let me say that I ADORE the new layout-It's clean, simple and pretty! :)

    For some reason I haven't picked up The Sky is Everywhere too, although I keep hearing good things about it constantly! I have a feeling that when I finally do read it I'll LOVE it. Especially since Joe sounds pretty amazing. ;)

    Lovely review, Tirta!

    1. Maybe it's because some of the books with 'big hype' have disappointed me lately, so I kept putting this one off. But oh boy, I was so wrong! I really enjoyed Jandy Nelson's work, Nuz, I hope when the time comes that you read the book you will find it lovely too.
      Thank you so, so much <3

  3. Well I don't think I liked this book as much as you did, though for the EXACT same reasons that somehow you didn't like parts of it either XD Lennie's personality was just such a hit and miss for me! I didn't like her constantly grieving and being so pessimistic, and the things she did with Toby, I found quite unforgivable, like 'Really? Impulses first before ACTUALLY giving it thought? Oh come on you guys!' Yeah, I pretty much rolled my eyes at every scene they shared XD Apart from that, it was pretty good, especially the ending, and the fact that Joe Fontaine was AWESOMAZING. So yeah! great review, Tirta :D


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