|The Sky is Everywhere|
Author: Jandy Nelson
Release Date: 22 March 2011
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 book made my heart ache a little. I almost don't know how to review it; there don't seem to be words satisfying enough to describe how I felt upon finishing it. Safe to say, Nelson's writing style is so enchantingly lyrical and breathtaking, I couldn't stand it at times. And just a little disclaimer for those of you who haven't read the book yet: Tears will be shed. Especially if you're a big ol' hopeless romantic at heart, as I am.
There are many different ways to mourn a lost one. Shortly following her older sister's death, Lennie undergoes a sexual awakening that is as surprising as it is sudden. Indeed, her feelings toward the opposite sex are so shocking because she has always been one to follow in her sister's shadow, making all her emotions and desires pre-death to be expressed in a muted fashion, and she therefore didn't quite live up to her full potential. Post-death, she attempts to bury her anguish and depression by pouring her heart out to two boys. While Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, helps Lennie remember Bailey in her glory, new boy Joe blows into town and alleviates Lennie's pain simply by being the happy ball of sunshine that he is. And while both of them help shoulder her crushing pain somewhat, it is only through self-reflection and contemplation that Lennie can truly learn to heal.
I'm sure that doesn't cover it all, but all I know is, my mind was going in all directions while reading this book. There were times I felt so strongly for Lennie's suffering, and other times when I had this huge grin on my face for the comical way in which she expressed her inner turmoil and confusion. Most of us have lost a dearly beloved, and I think Nelson truly managed to capture the core emotions we ourselves feel in our journey to recovery. Her words will stay with me, long past the last page.