I’d like to officially go on the record and say that although I have yet to keep my promise and post/review things regularly (but seriously, at this point, did anyone really believe that I would be proactive about this?), I have, in fact, been reading many books from my summer reading list. GET AT ME.
Moving on. I did finally pick up my copy of The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, sooooooo here are my thoughts.
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker was sucker punched by the unforeseen death of her older sister, Bailey. As she muddles through her fried, she inconveniently finds herself involved with two very different boys. One distracts her from the sadness while the other comfortingly keeps Bailey’s memory alive. All the while, Lennie struggles to figure out who she is without using her sister as a lifeline.
Based on other reviewers, I was fully prepared to ugly-cry throughout most of this book. This was not he case. The grief and humor balanced each other out quite nicely, much like Toby and Joe did for Lennie.
What I Didn’t Like:
1. The whole relationship with Toby. Let me clarify: the “romance” felt forced to me- and maybe that was Nelson’s intention, but it was verrrrry uncomfortable (which was also probably part of Nelson’s plan). Because of Toby’s close relationship with Bailey’s family, I can understand why he’d be feeling displaced and desperate to connect with anything/anyone to do with Bailey. Once it was clear that Toby and Lennie couldn’t keep their hands off of one another, I got super duper creeped out. Honestly, this was really the only element that bothered me, but since it was such a huge part of the plot, it kept me from truly loving the book.
What I liked:
1. Joe (for the most part). He provided me, as the reader, with a sense of relief. He was a distraction form the sadness for me as much as he was for Lennie. It wasn’t even so much the cute romance between him and Lennie that added to the story; he was a breath of fresh air for Lennie, Gram and Uncle Big because they were all trying to keep from drowning in Bailey’s ghost. My one issue with Joe was that he was a bit too stubborn and unforgiving for a while there. Although shouldn’t that make him more well-rounded of a character? Probs.
2. Lennie’s house. It sounds weird to like a physical object rater than a character or plot-line, but Lennie’s house gave me a better understanding of the family and the life they live- which seemed to be a very bohemian-y/care-free/in love with nature lifestyle. I got the sense that Gram tried to bring as much of the “outside” into the house.
3. “Road Reading.” The definition of which is: reading while walking (awesome). It’s an activity that Lennie and Bailey were famous for, as the neighbors knew to be on the look-out for the Walker sisters. Such a small and simple detail, yet a perfect way to define the closeness of the sisters. Plus, books, guys. BOOKS.
4. Lennie’s memories. What made this book so poignant were the memories and snippets of conversations between she and Bailey, that Lennie recalls throughout the book. However, it’s the way in which she records said memories; notes are hastily scribbled on whatever scrap paper she can find and then leaves them behind. It’s as if she’s slowly releasing her grief through these memories, and once they’re written down and out in the world, she can pluck them from the sky and remember.
Overall, I enjoyed The Sky Is Everywhere. It took me waaaay too long to finish it, which probably kept me from totally loving it, but I would still recommend this book.