Details & Summary
The Sky is Everywhere is a beautifully written book. Jandy Nelson has mastered the art of description, making the reader lose himself in her world, and her prose flows throughout the story despite it being really emotional for the majority of the book. While I enjoyed reading this book, ultimately there were a few problems that kept me from loving it and gushing about it to everyone I know.
The concept of The Sky is Everywhere is one that appeals to a lot of young readers. Main character Lennie Walker, a clarinet player who’s obsessed with Wuthering Heights, grieves her sister Bailey who died a couple of months before the story takes off. Her grief takes her on a personal journey, which includes figuring out and navigating her feelings for two boys.
Let’s talk about the grief part first. In general, I think Jandy Nelson did a good job here. As I got to know Lennie, I understood just how much she adored and looked up to her sister, which made losing her unbearable. And I really liked how grief affects the supporting characters such as Grams (whom I loved) and Big.
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.
What I didn’t like were the so-called poems between chapters. I understood their significance but none of them really grabbed my attention. They didn’t feel like poems to me, just scraps of memories.
As I said, her grief also includes dealing with two boys.
Boy #1 is Joe Fontaine. He’s just moved into town but has taken it by storm with his good looks – which includes long, batting eyelashes – and his excellent guitar skills that make all the girls swoon. While Lennie avoids him at first, it doesn’t take much more than a couple of croissants – did I mention he’s French? – and a few stops at her house for them to fall in love.
In the space of a handful of days, they kiss and they’re suddenly head over heels in love. That’s insta-love for you right there.
‘Oh, God,’ he whispers, reaching his hand behind my neck and bringing my lips to his. ‘Let’s let the whole fucking world explode this time.’
And we do.
And even though Joe is perfect and “the one”, of course there’s Boy #2 who complicates things. Look, I get that love triangles “spice up” your story, but her dead sister’s boyfriend? Really? I’m sorry but no matter how much she hated herself or ashamed she was, I couldn’t find it in my heart to understand, let alone sympathise.
There’s a lot more to say about how the entire love triangle played out, but I don’t want to give any spoilers so I won’t discuss it any further. But it’s safe to say I wasn’t a fan of the outcome or the end of the book, which felt unrealistic to me. The whole romance and love triangle aspect felt unrealistic, to be honest.
And there were other things, too. No matter how much I loved Grams and Big, they didn’t feel like real people but simply “different” and “quirky” characters used to make the story more interesting.
Jandy Nelson is undoubtedly a good writer who scored with a concept that appeals to many readers. And while The Sky is Everywhere has a lot of good qualities such as beautiful and emotional prose, solid characters, and a good representation of grief, the book’s insta-love levels were too high for me to consider this to be a great book.