Forget Me Not MemeSteph, the book blogger running The Thoughts of a Book Junky, created the meme Forget Me Not where slightly older books can be shared and discussed. Kind of spotlighted in a way. For today I'm featuring the best book in existence: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay wrote, "An addictive, romantic, heartbreaking, and wise tale of one girl's epic loss--and equally epic self-discovery. Seriously, stop reading this blurb; start reading this book" (from jacket flap).
Persnickety Snark and The Book Girl Reviews share my stance on this book so check out their reviews if you can't take my word for it as far as how absolutely amazing and beautiful this book is.
T h e S k y i s Ev e r y w h e r e by Jandy NelsonSynopsis- "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.
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Publisher: Dial Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Warning: Few sexual references/content.
Go Buy It: Amazon★Barnes&Noble
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable."
Quick Thinking: The Sky is Everywhere is a breathtaking novel which spins a tale of enduring loss and grief as well stumbling upon self-discovery. This meaningful novel touches a monumental pain that stems from the grief the Walker family faces, such beautiful characters inside and out, an absorbing, character-driven plot/story, and a remarkable ending that leaves The Reader way beyond satiated. Reading as Lennie uncovers her true self while trying to move on from her sister's death makes for an unforgettable, simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming story behind a girl's fight to stay true to herself despite all that has occurred.
My Thoughts In-Depth: *Warning: May not be spoiler-free.* This book is drenched in sheer brilliance! Re-reading it after one year of putting this book down didn't take away from its raw and painful and bittersweet beauty. I can sit here and read it again and again, never ceasing to rejoice in the heroine's dark and irrational thoughts and feelings, the powerful events and dialogue lingering behind the light and simplistic writing within its pages. Placing a rating on a novel like The Sky is Everywhere does not effectively express the magnificence of it, hence the lack of an average rating.
I couldn't help but fall in love with Lennie any more than Joe Fontaine could. She's a beautiful person, filled with such limitless depth, causing her every thought and all her words to pull at The Reader, to allow The Reader to become so absolutely invested in her. I came to known Lennie like a close friend, someone I've talked to for quite a length of time, someone who's shared parts of herself with me to give me insight into her inner self. I couldn't hate her. There was no room for annoyance or disappointment when it came to Lennie. The Reader was forced to accept her because she simply was. She's this girl struggling to deal with not only the weight of her sister's death, but two guys that bring her feelings on two opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Lennie and I, by the end of our journey together, walked out as best friends.
Toby, Bailey's ex-boyfriend, is the darker edge of the span of feelings in the novel. With Toby, it wasn't only flash and heat and desire. Bailey's heart was split into two halves which were predominantly preoccupied by the two most important people in her life--Toby and Lennie--and by acting on this desire for each other it seemed like they were bringing these two halves of Bailey together to try and bring back the whole person. And that's powerful in itself. It wasn't as though Lennie was a horrible person, and same goes for Toby, in fact quite the opposite, but in their eyes it seemed as if they were the only two people who understood how the other was feeling.
Joe, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. He's not just this totally sexy, enthusiastic guy whom every girl wants (most especially ME), but he has such a capacity for life and openness. He cares. He plays music with sweet fervor. He's got depth to match Lennie's. He's perfect for her, in a nutshell. And as soon as they meet, it's instant attraction which leads to a rapid love and romance. Joe gave her joy and happiness, light and laughter, again after bearing so much irrepressible grief. And him being so obviously into her was wonderful. Joe Fontaine remains one of my top ten favorite fictional guys ever.
I loved the array of side characters as well! I absolutely adored Uncle Big, Gram, and Sarah, Lennie's best friend. Uncle Big is a hulking man with a booming voice, who likes to hunt down dead insects to try and revive them with weird attempts at necromancy. Gram paints her canvases in only the color green, no other color, at all. Sarah dresses like goth-ish, some sort of dark, stereotypical vampire, who smokes and reads classical literature. All extraordinary people to fall in love with over the course of 276-paged reading journey.
Random, but I wanted to bruise Rachel's fawn brown eyes and loosen a few of her pearly whites. Can't stand the girl, Lennie's nemesis.
ANYWAY, the plot thickens as Lennie finds herself more and more caught between these two compelling boys. It's completely absorbing; there isn't ever really a dull moment.
In the words of Joe, the ending was fuc**** incroyable, an explosion of love, self-discovery, moving on, and new-found determination to live life erupts within the last pages, succeeding in captivating The Reader until the very last word of the last page. I wouldn't trade a second of the time I spent re-reading this book to read another. The Sky is Everywhere is, without a doubt, my all time favorite novel.
Loved These Scenes/Quotes:
"'Can I?' he says, reaching for the rubber band on my ponytail.
I nod. Very slowly, he slides it off, the whole time holding my eyes in his. I'm hypnotized. It's like he's unbuttoning my shirt. When he's done, I shake my head a little and my hair springs into its habitual frenzy.
'Wow,' he says softly. 'I've wanted to do that...' I can hear our breathing" (93).
"Who knew all this time I was one kiss away from being Cathy and Juliet and Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Chatterley?
Years ago, I was crashed in Gram's garden and Big asked me what I was doing. I told him I was looking up at the sky. He said, 'That's a misconception, Lennie, the sky is everywhere. It begins at your feet.'
Kissing Joe, I believe this...'That was--" I can hardly form words.
'Incredible,' he interrupts, 'Fuc**** incroyable'" (118).
"'First time,' he says, 'For me.'
'I thought in France--"
'He shakes his head. 'No way, nothing like this.' He touches my cheek in that tender way that he does that makes me believe in God and Buddha...and Mary...'No one's like you, for me,' he whispers" (269).
"I'm the only person in the small hilltop cemetery and I'm glad. I drop my backpack and sit down beside the gravestone, rest my head against it, wrap my hands and arms around it like I'm playing a cello...I run my fingers across my sister's name, her nineteen years, then across the words I wrote on a piece of paper months ago and handed to Gram in the funeral parlor: The Color of Extraordinary...Beautiful!
I try to fend off the oceanic sadness, but I can't. It's such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what's lost, but to be enchanted by what was.
I miss you, I tell her, I can't stand that you're going to miss so much.
I don't know how the heart withstands it" (274-275).
Thanks for reading!