Review: The Sky Is Everywhere

thesky  Title: The Sky Is Everywhere

  Author: Jandy Nelson

  Release Date: March 9, 2010

  Publisher: Dial

  Description: 288 pages, Young Adult Contemporary

synopsis

Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always happily been second fiddle to her charismatic older sister, Bailey. Then Bailey dies suddenly, and Lennie is left at sea without her anchor. Overcome by emotion, Lennie soon finds herself torn between two boys: Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby, and Joe, the charming and musically gifted new boy in town. While Toby can’t see her without seeing Bailey and Joe sees her only for herself, each offers Lennie something she desperately needs. But ultimately, it’s up to Lennie to find her own way toward what she really needs-without Bailey.
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A Beautiful Mess

Call me the ultimate black sheep. Despite countless recommendations, favorable mentions, and songs of utmost praise and accolade, I didn’t find myself  enjoying The Sky Is Everywhere from top to bottom. First and foremost, this book was a tale of melancholy and grief, heart ache and longing for loved ones lost, which was good, because I happen to hold in high esteem all the books that can manage to make me laugh, cry, feel something– and admittedly, I almost did both. What stopped me from getting there, however, was the fact that for the most part, Lennie’s character development was horrific, and Lennie herself was excessively vexatious. As a matter of fact, nothing else in this book seemed to have gone wrong for me– the pacing was sonorously up to snuff, the plot itself was climactic, the scenes were impassioned, the conclusion was breathtaking and the love interest was exquisitely angelic– the main character however, who played arguably the largest part in the book, failed me to a compromising degree. Nevertheless, the last few pages reclaimed my once adoration for the story, almost completely, but not quite. And because of the author’s sheer talent in terms of capturing hearts and touching souls through poetry and raw emotion, I decided to give this book a chance in my warring heart and decide that it wasn’t half-bad, either.

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Love In Poetry

As aforementioned, Lennie was annoying to the point of my utter exasperation– she was completely ruining my mojo.  She kept on doing mindless, imbecilic things regrettable in the long run, and didn’t even think for the most part that she deserved happiness and euphoria subsequential to her sister’s untimely death. What exactly was she expecting? An endless procession of mourners? The earth ceasing to spin around its own axis? Oh, please. It was pathetic. At some point, however, I felt like I was judging her too gratingly, because I did have next to no idea how it must have felt like to lose a sibling (and I will go bananas if anything bad happens to mine). Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but think that she could have at least tried to pursue happiness for herself, the way Bailey would’ve wanted, without anyone have to force feed her the goddamned idea, or at least without her feeling so utterly conscience-stricken (because guuurl, a certain Joe Fontaine fawning over you is not, repeat NOT to be taken for granted). Instead, she kept on tormenting herself and hurting the people around her, almost as if she were a walking, talking, whiplash of infernal grief and self-destruction. Despite this, I tried looking for a source of redemption– and I did find it, in the fact that she at least tried to steer herself in the right direction, and whether or not she managed to make up for her mistakes (read to find out!), I could have been content with the fact that she knew her actions were fallacious and didn’t just sit there regretting her own stupidity. And in terms of refusing to accept joy and love into her life, I think by the end of it, I began to understand the true extent of her loss, which could have been enough for an emotional breakdown. That being said, three freaking cheers for the compromise.

“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.”

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Towards The Crescendo

The romance in this book was staggering, although I didn’t come to recognize the beauty of it until things started to go downhill, and fast. Lennie’s stints with Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby, weren’t in the least romantic the way I saw it– they were pity parties, and they were wrong. However, I didn’t pin the blame on either one of them entirely, because after all, there was the matter of Bailey’s death to deal with, and I endeavored to cope with the fact that neither was entirely stable. Joe on the other hand, was utterly delectable, a musical genius, a gentle soul, and the perfect eye candy. Despite the fact that Lennie seemed to treat his feelings like trash at times, I did think that their relationship’s development was impeccable in its graduation and solidity, and the build up to their resolution was probably the best thing in the book next to the fact that Joe’s character made up for most of Lennie’s mistakes– and then some. What would the world be without some Fontaine spawn, eh? Thank god for French kids with guitars and good looks.

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The Music Of The Night

Although I did spend most of the book wanting to slap John Lennon silly (the character, not the namesake) I was happy enough for what went down during the last few pages, even it seemed as if the book was beyond help. The poems on the random scraps of paper (or any solid surface really), were eloquent and meaningful, capturing the essence of pain and desolation. Only when I read them did I truly feel as if Len were a living, breathing person, who had to adjust to a sisterless life and couldn’t do it without taking the road less traveled (a.k.a. the stumbling path). I think I could have enjoyed this book twice as much if I didn’t stand by my firm belief in fortitude and in moving on, but I did, and notwithstanding the fact that the book didn’t live up to its full potential in my eyes, I was happy enough to note that it was loved by many.

Thence, if you can tolerate self-inflicted damage and are into books that feature family relationships, tragedy, and a struggle for peace of mind and a much deserved happy ending, hesitate not to pick this book up as I’m quite sure you’ll like it.

“I know the expression love bloomed is metaphorical, but in my heart in this moment, there is one bad-ass flower, captured in time-lapse photography, going from bud to wild radiant blossom in ten seconds flat.” 

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3 hearts

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “Review: The Sky Is Everywhere

  1. I’m one of those people who absolutely loved this book and it makes me sad that you didn’t get to enjoy this as much as I did, Jasmine! If I were being honest Joe Fontaine was a major part of why I loved this book so much because his chemistry was just explosive and amazing for me, but I also loved the way it elaborated on grief. Nelson’s writing was excellent and it captured the feelings so beautifully for me.

    I agree with you that Lennie did some questionable things but a part of me understood that part of her too. I’m not saying her actions were justified just because she was going through tough times but I feel that they were somewhat necessary for the story to move along and for there to be a chance for Lennie to redeem herself and realize some things, I guess.

    Don’t worry, I won’t be holding the lack of two more stars (or hearts) against you ahahahaha. Great review- love the thoroughness and insight! 😀

    • Well it makes me happy that you’re fine with that 😄 I already knew that you loved this one, and this was actually a book that I tried out partly based on your amazing review– even if I didn’t end up liking it as much as you did, I still think that when Nelson’s next book comes out, I’d want to give it a go 🙂 I don’t think I loved Joe as much as you did either, but I did nonetheless ❤ Maybe if I could just accept a bit better the fact that Lennie kept messing up, my opinions would have been much the same! You're right about them being necessary, but I guess I was just hoping for her to at least get one thing right before messing another one up. At one point, she just made all the wrong decisions. I'm glad that she got to progress though! That's some major redemption right there 🙂

      • That was a fast reply! You’re still awake too? Someone’s a night owl! Haha, or a really really early morning person.

        Haha well I’m glad my review partly convinced you to give this a try! And ahhh, I really wish Nelson would write another book! 😦

      • Yep, I am a night owl in the very sense of the word! I don’t usually stay up this late, but rain kinda unnerves me in the mornings 😮 yep it really did 😉 and I know she’s writing a new one, something about twins Noah and Jude? My copy had a question and answer portion at the back 😄

  2. Ack, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, Jasmine!!
    When the protagonist is horrid, it’s always so difficult to get into the book; I know I always feel like throttling an annoying protagonist. Sure, I understand grief, but there’s a point in time when grieving just oversteps into weakness. Some actions can be justified, some can’t be.
    But fantastic, thoughtful review, as always, Jasmine! ❤

    • HAHA I did enjoy it, but not as much as I thought I would– just the last few pages actually! 😄 And yeahhh it’s the protagonist that’s my main beef. Their actions have to be justified for me to get into the book itself. And I think you’re right about grief overstepping into weakness! One has to show strength right? Also because that’s what their dearly departed would want for them too 🙂 But I guess it was okay for her to be sad, I just thought she should have stopped tormenting herself at one point. And thank you Emilyyy! Thanks for stopping by 😉

  3. I was really hoping you would love this one as much as I do. 😦 I have read and reread this book so many times because I love how it makes me feel such a wide range of emotions. Plus, Joe Fontaine makes things considerably better.

    For me, Lennie’s regrettable actions were a part of her grieving, so I didn’t really begrudge her those. In my head, I would be screaming for her to stop, but I ultimately sympathized with her.

    I really love this insightful review, even though I hoped you could have enjoyed it more. 🙂

    • Awww you know I really wanted to love this book too! I just KNEW I’d be the black sheep, because everybody seemed to love it. But I’m glad I didn’t hate it either, I just had an issue with the protagonist 😄 Maybe the problem is me, since everyone else seems fine with Lennie, but I do think that she should have been a more rational person. I’m just not sure if it was humanly possible to be as stable as I wanted her to be in the face of her sister’s death, but when I read it, I believed that the happiness was entirely up for grabs and she didn’t take it. Her sadness was just overwhelming D: I heartily approve of Joe Fontaine though, and the fact that this book DID give me a lot feels 🙂 And thank you Arial, glad you liked the review despite how different our opinions are 😀

  4. I tried reading this book last year after hearing all the good stuff everyone had to say about it. Unfortunately, I kind of had to give up after a few pages. I dont know why, I just couldn’t get into it. And judging by what you said in the end, I should enjoy this book, because I really like books that deal with family and overcoming personal issues. Maybe I should give this a try again sometime…

    I like how well thought out your review is, Jasmine 🙂

    • Aww thank you very much Fahima! ❤ I'm glad you like this review, even if you probably liked the book less then I did 😄 But anyway, I do think that the ending to this was somehow worth it, and if you do give this one a shot, I hope that you appreciate the book better than I do 😉

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