The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
Published: March 2010, Walker Books Ltd
Acquired: Sent to me by Walker Books
Publisher’s summary: What’s wrong with me? What kind of girl wants to kiss every boy at a funeral, wants to maul a guy in a tree after making out with her (dead) sister’s boyfriend the previous night?
Speaking of which, what kind of girl makes out with her sister’s boyfriend, at all?
Lennie Walker – sisterless, lasagne maker, Heathcliff-obsessed and hopelessly in love...
What I liked: I’m going to have to keep this brief before this review turns into a complete gush-fest as I absolutely adored this book. I really did love it. For me, it’s the book of the year so far. Everything from the character names to the cover and every detail in between is breathtaking. I went on such a journey with Lennie as she discovered about grief, love and how to let go.
Lennie is a brilliant protagonist, gutsy enough that she doesn’t come across as a weak heroine who needs a strong male lead to full her through but she has a vulnerability that I couldn’t help but be touched by. There are so many dimensions to her character and each one is brought to life through Nelson’s exquisite way with words.
My Teaser Tuesday sentences received seventeen glowing comments within 24 hours of posting and I did genuinely pick two random sentences from the book – proof of how powerful Nelson’s writing is.
Lennie isn’t the only excellent character in The Sky is Everywhere. I was completely enchanted by Joe Fontaine (as I’m sure all readers were!) and Toby, Gram and Big are all memorable characters I won’t forget in a hurry.
There’s something so disarmingly honest about this book – I think it’s the fact Bailey is dead before the book even begins. There are no twists or turns here, everything’s laid out as it happens and we aren’t kept in the dark for a second. Nelson’s haunting prose and Lennie’s memories of Bailey reminded me of The Virgin Suicides, another book I count among my favourites.
The story and characters aside, I know it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover but the cover art of The Sky is Everywhere is so beautiful I have to mention it. Do pick up a copy of the hardback edition if you can – the design is stunning and the notebook marker was a brilliant little addition that shows just how much everybody involved cared about the book. An absolute gem.
What I didn’t like: For me this book is perfection – I genuinely have nothing bad to say, which is definitely a first.
First line: ‘Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her houseplants has spots.’
Final thoughts: If you read one book this year make it The Sky is Everywhere
Read if you liked...: The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky, The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides
Total: 18/20 *my highest rating to date*