Google+ Reading Teen: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Speak (March 22, 2011)
Author's Website:
Buy the book: Paperback, Hardcover

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.

This is definitely one of THOSE books.  The type that you can't wait to sit down and read.  The type where you're so wrapped up in it that you're actually laughing out loud, and then crying your eyes out.  The type of book that you find yourself so engrossed in the characters that you actually feel their pain and then want to slap them and scream at them for their mistakes.  This is THAT kind of book.

I probably would have never picked this book up if it hadn't been a request by a parent.  It just didn't seem like the type I would like.  But as soon as I said I was reading it (on Twitter), I was bombarded with Tweets of "I love that book," and "You are going to love it," etc.  It always surprises me when someone can write a book about death and despair and loneliness, yet somehow make it upbeat, funny, and sweet.  I felt that way about Fixing Delilah and felt it even more with this book.  I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud.  Lennie (named after John Lennon) is SUCH a fantastic character.  I loved her wit and charm.  The back and forth between her and Joe (horrible name) was just so adorable, I wanted to squeeze them!  I loved them so much, that at one point in time when Lennie was being a complete and total DOLT, I seriously considered throwing the book.  I was so angry.  It was a good thing she was a fictional character, because I'm pretty sure I would have tracked her down and throttled her.  It's very rare that I find myself that engrossed in a character.

There is one thing that REALLY bothered me about Lennie.  Anyone that read my "Sex in YA" post, will probably know where I'm headed, and this book had a lot to do with why I wrote what I did.   It drove me crazy how obsessed with having sex/losing her virginity she was.  This is something that I can't stand to see in a teen girl.  It just makes me so sad.  Sex is not just something you need to get over with so that you're not the last virgin in your class.  And I'm seeing in book after book that the main girl character is behaving this way.  It doesn't bother me so much that she has this feeling, because I'm sure there are girls out there that can relate, but what bothers me is that there's never anyone there to say to them that sex is not just a milestone, an accomplishment to check off your list of things to do.  All I can say is that it's really lucky for Lennie that she happened to find an awesome guy that she was falling in love with at this moment of sexual disregard, because otherwise things could have been very bad for her.  I also felt like it tainted her relationship with Joe.  It made her feelings for him seem less to me.  I just hate that I had to have this nagging uncomfortable feeling in my head the whole time I read it, because I really did love the story so much.

Ok, I'm stepping off my soapbox now.

Overall, I think this was a fantastically written book.  I can't believe it's the author's first.  The tone of the book reminded me somewhat of Fixing Delilah with the wit and charm of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.  From the musical aspect, if you liked Rival by Sarah Bennett Wealer you'll probably enjoy this book (or visa-versa).

The cover at the top is the new paperback cover that will be released March 22.  Once you read the book you'll understand the significance of the bed with the tree branches.  The cover here is the hardcover.  I think it's cute and eye-catching, but it doesn't speak to the story as much, in my opinion.  Although, just looking at them without knowing the story, I would prefer it.

I like that this book had two different book trailers.  I felt like it had two very different personalities, and the two trailers kind of encompass those two very different tones.  One upbeat and happy, and the other more sad and wondering how to go on after such a devastating tragedy.

Check them out!

Loved it!

  • Sexual Content:  Heavy
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Violence: None
  • Other Notables:  
    • Some underage drinking
    • Lennie's uncle Big smokes pot


  1. This is one of my favorite books ever. I just loved Lennie and her quirky family! You have a lot of good points about her being too desperate to have sex though. I know we briefly talked about it twitter last week, but I really think she fell into that trap where she associated physical intimacy with love. Like maybe if she wasn't so grief stricken, she would have made better decisions. I still really enjoyed reading it though! :)

  2. *Spoiler*

    Rachel- Yeah, I think you're right about the grief thing. It was like she was trying to fill the hole of losing her sister with sex. I guess I didn't feel like she ever realized that sex wasn't the answer. It's like she just transferred those feelings from Toby to Joe. Luckily, Joe is awesome, and a good match for her. I can't tell you how MAD I was at her after she and Joe really got together and she still went back and started making out with Toby when she found out about the pregnancy. I wanted to SCREAM!!! I don't know if I've ever been so mad at a MC before. haha.... Of course that just goes to show how much I loved the book, that I could get so emotionally invested.

    I loved this book so much!!

  3. I loved this book. At first I was thrown by Lennie and Toby but I understand that grief can really mess a person up. I totally agree that this book is so engrossing that you do fell like you should yell at the characters.

  4. Wow maybe I am just totally screwed up then. I knew what her and Toby had wasn't meant to be, and completely wrong. But for some reason I wanted them to be together so bad. I liked that they made each other happy and had a connection that only they could share. I really connected with Toby for some reason and the ending only made it harder for me because it verified what I had been wanting all along was unrealistic. This was the first book I ever gave a six star rating. I just completely fell in love with it. It also saddened me that I wasn't happy with how things were left with Toby, what of him you know? I mean this might not mean much but for me it meant something. I wanted his story to have a happy ending too you know. I felt he was cheated of that whilst she got all the perks. It's been a while since I read this book and I still feel that way :(

    I can see what you mean with her wanting that physical contact. She at the very beginning explains this feeling and not quite understanding it herself. The only thing I can think of is that grief makes anyone act a little crazy. She's so overwhelmed that understandably she wants comfort. She seems to think that she can only get that comfort through sex. It was unnerving and I was frustrated with her at times especially when she saw her virginity as a burden that she couldn't wait to get rid of because it made me sad that she thought so less of herself in the sense that she obviously didn't have much confidence or self appreciation.

    There is not really a role model for her growing up though, apart from her sister who dies. No one to really tell her to love herself. Or that your virginity is not something you should be quick to throw away. There didn't really seem to be a person to tell her those things. Add self esteem which was obviously lacking regardless of her having this fabricated confidence that she showed to the outside world. Had she confidence and believed in herself like she comes across in the book she wouldn't have felt the need to get rid of her virginity just to fit in and be like all the other girls.

    I think perhaps Jandy didn't show that vulnerable side of her, instead things were focused too much on her "stupid mistakes" and not enough on why she made them. On why she wanted to loose her virginity so bad. Had this been done we probably wouldn't have wanted to throttle the girl at times. It could have gone quite disastrous really if you think about it. Luckily enough this is one of those rare cases that the author completely won us over, and not only that, but made us fall completely in love with the MC and her story on top of it all!

    Like you in the end I loved her just the same and found it hard to stay angry at her for long because she is just so damn lovable. As you may have noticed I tend to ramble and ramble when I am passionate about something. In this case, this book. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! :)

    Here's my review of the book. Reviewed it some time back, let's compare thoughts! :)

  5. Wow, Aly!! How do you really feel?? haha!!

    I can understand why you felt that way about Toby. It's the same reason that Lennie felt the way she did. There was a lot of passion between them, and it was all wrapped up in Bailey. I think, though, that if they stayed together, they would be stuck. They would never be able to move on. Their relationship would always be about loss, and loneliness, and missing Bailey. It was never just about who they really were. In fact, they hardly knew anything about each other.

    But her relationship with Joe was based on their mutual interests and their love for each other's personality. Although, if she really loved Joe, I don't know how she did what she did.....but I guess that all goes back to the grief thing. But after what his ex did to could she??? Ugh. Drove me crazy! haha

    I read your review, and I loved it! I can't believe I didn't write anything about the notes she left around. That was one of my favorite things. I just LOVED it! And I loved that he found them! It was just so sweet and romantic! Ahhh....sigh!

  6. I'm really glad you liked it!!! I wouldn't have usually picked it up either, but now that I know you like it, i'm even more intrigued! Thanks for the great review!! :D I'll be sure to read it soon

  7. Great review! Thanks for this and all your other awesomeness :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  8. A book about grief that's upbeat? Interesting.
    Going on my TBR pile :)

  9. Wow! This book sounds amazing! I think I'll have to pick it up when the paperback comes out next week. Thanks for the great review!

  10. This IS, indeed, one of those books! Joe is such an awesome character. I love it when he bats his lashes. Adorable! *snickers* I like that green cover better. The one I have is the blue hardcover (not the one with the red heart). I also have Fixing Delilah on my shelf. I feel like reading it after you mentioned it. Thanks for sharing!

    Chel @ The Procrastinator's Corner

  11. This sounds amazing, absolutely amazing. I have to get this asap!
    Brilliant review!

  12. I wouldn't give anything for this book without your review. I don't know, maybe it's because I don't like the hardcover's cover...

  13. I read it! Lol I know I'm late, some books come out late here in the UK and then remain in my TBR pile for a few months :S

    I totally agree with your review, this book was pretty amazing :D
    The funny thing is Lennie makes herself out to be the most boring person in the world and yet it's her who makes us laugh and cry. Everytime I felt like I was reading some normal YA book grief would be brought in so strongly that it left me gasping.
    I never thought she and Toby could be a couple because he was still completely in love with Bailey, having that loss between them wouldn't have kept them together for long.
    I loved loved LOVED the fact that she wrote parts of her life in random places. And how she would trace words on her leg when she couldn't speak. All those peices finding their way to Joe just screamed out "SOULMATES" to me :)

    Love Jandy Nelson for writing this book the way she did, absolutely brilliant!!

  14. Sheepa!!


    Yes! The writing. I'm so mad I didn't mention that in the review!! It was one of my favorite things!! I'm glad you loved it too. That makes me happy!!

  15. @Andye
    I'm glad I read your review first :D

    Btw any idea on what it was that her sister actually died from? I read an "uncorrected copy" (I think it's like an ARC?) so I don't know if I missed something - all I remember is that she collapsed whilst playing Juliet on stage. I don't think Lennie ever said outright what killed her sister, did she?

  16. I can't remember.....I'll have to look. A friend of mine has my copy, so I'll look when I get it back. This is making me want to read it again!


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