The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A tale of one girls struggle to come to terms with death, to find herself, and to feel happy in her own skin. All told through the medium of a love story.

The reason I decided to buy this book was because it was the only one I had ever come across on Amazon with all five star ratings. Immediately I was curious. I actually ended up buying it for a friend, because it sounded like her kinthe sky is everywhere by jandy nelsond of book. She soon informed me that it was amazing and that I should read it. So, around three years after the initial command, I’ve finally gotten around to it!

Whats wrong with me?
What kind of girl wants to kiss every boy at a funeral, wants to maul a guy in a tree after making out with her (dead) sister’s boyfriend the previous night?
Speaking of which, what kind of girl makes out with her sister’s boyfriend at all?

Lennie Walker – Sisterless, lasagna maker, Heathcliff – obsessed and hopelessly in love…

The Sky is Everywhere – it’s a clichéd storyline we’ve all probably encountered at some point over the years. It goes something like this: Girl loses sister. Girl is sad. Girl makes herself feel better by chasing after boys. Girl gets torn between Boy 1 who understands her grief (dead sisters boyfriend) and Boy 2 who makes her feel better.
If that sounds vaguely familiar then you’re probably wondering, why should I bother to read this book? What will I get out of it? Well, for all it’s clichéd plotlines, it’s a quirky novel with enthusiastic writing which makes it an overall very entertaining read.

The aspect of this book that I enjoyed the most was the structure of it. The lead character Lennie when feeling overwhelmed takes out her pen and finds something to scribble on; an abandoned coffee cup, a newspaper, a piece of sheet music, and then drops it in the hope that somewhere, somehow, people will find it and maybe they will understand the pain she is in. Her scribbles are always in the form of poetry, but not the fancy stuff – Nelson doesn’t try to be overly cleaver or complex with her poems; they’re raw and full of feeling and for that reason I really enjoyed them. (People who read this blog regularly will know that I’m not a big fan of poetry, so that’s saying something!) I also felt that it helped to put a more original spin on a worn out story.
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As I often do after finishing a book, I decided to investigate it further. Apparently the story began as a constant stream of poetry, but then later developed to prose. I’m glad the author decided to do this because I don’t think it would have been as effective otherwise.

The writing is funny and often made me laugh out loud. Jandy Nelson has a unique and quirky way of stating things that is very refreshing, things that I could never come up with. I’d quite like to live in her brain actually, it seems like it would be a fun place. I think she balances the delicate line between grief and the love story very well. If she wasn’t careful the book could have become too preachy or depressing, and if she had focused too much on the love story it would have become unrealistic so I applaud her for that. The writing has a philosophical feeling to it, but again it is not so evident that you begin to feel weighed down. I did feel in places that the author was trying too hard when attempting to be witty or trying too hard to sound how she thought astereotypical teenager would act, if that makes sense. But thankfully these scenes were few.

I loved the majority of the characterization. They, like her writing, were very quirky and easily loveable. I felt that they were all very thoroughly developed apart from maybe the exception of Sarah, who is sort of cast into the stereotypical blonde cheerleader role  standing in the way of the lead characters happiness.
Our lead gal Lennie is a literary lover and is obsessed with the book Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (and quite rightly so, what a great book!) and she’s also passionate about music. Lennie’s best friend is described as a beach blonde type who hides behind gothic clothes and makeup and has an obsession with feminism. Lennie’s Gram spends her free time obsessing over roses and painting enthusiastically entirely in the colour green. Her Uncle Big is the resident Lothario who often wanders around stoned and is convinced he can discover the key to bringing dead bugs back to life.
It was a slight let down though, that the author chose to play the male roles safe, I didn’t get as much individuality off them compared with her other characters and they were very much portrayed as the drop dead gorgeous I’m so perfect types, but that being said, they were utterly charming.

I would recommend this book to females aged 13 to 25 who enjoy lighthearted romance and pondering the meanings of life. It is a YA book so don’t expect in-depth life changing philosophy equivalent to that of Austen or Bronte, but you can look forward to exploring the brain of a confused, grief stricken teenager who is struggling like many of us, to understand her place in life.
I would also recommend The Sky is Everywhere to aspiring writers that are struggling to make their characters seem interesting and unique, because this book is how it should be done! 🙂

l’ll leave you with some cool quotes:

Big’s voice trumpets as if from stage or pulpit; his words carry weight, even pass the salt comes out of his mouth in a thou-shalt-Ten-Commandments kind of way.

“I grin groggily up at him with his enormous handlebar mustache poised over his lips like a grand Declaration of Weird”

“As I walk through the redwood trees, my sneakers sopping up days of rain, I wonder  why bereaved people even bother with mourning clothes, when grief itself provides such an unmistakable wardrobe.”

Writing Style: 4/5
Originality: 2/5
Entertainment: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes.

Overall 4/5

Image Source:
Book Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/10231501-the-sky-is-everywhere

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20 thoughts on “The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Review 4/5

  1. This sounds like a fun book! Enthusiasm for whatever it is that’s being written can do a lot to make up for some cliches in plot, so it makes sense that that would make the book more fun to read. I’m not entirely sure I’ll pick this up yet (currently reading seven different books right now WHY?) but this sounds like something to keep in the back of my head for fun reading. Really nice review!

    • Thank you! I’m glad the review sparked your attention. 🙂

      Seven different books, I must say that is pretty impressive! I often have several going at once but not to that extent, hehe.

      I think you will find it a light read compared to your usual stuff e.g. King but I think you would really enjoy the poetry aspect of it and also the writing style! If you decide to pick it up I will be interested to see what you think. 🙂

      • Yeah, I need to get a handle on the number of books I’m reading. I’ve finished quite a few, though, and am taking the others slow because of school.

        Hey, I enjoy a light read as much as anyone else now and again. Romance isn’t really my thing, but I’m willing to check it out 🙂 And poetry used to this effect sounds really interesting.

      • Ahhh well that’s good to know! I must admit I’m pretty impressed by the amount of heavy going books you read back to back. It’s good to know you’re not invincible! 😛
        I find myself craving light relief a lot more lately because school is stressful, and lightweight books are much easier to pick up and put down, which unfortunately I have to do a lot lately…

    • Haha, well there’s always a first for everything! 🙂 Although I would say it is quite rare…

      I just popped back to Amazon to have a look and it hasn’t got all five stars anymore, but it’s still pretty impressive, there’s only one two star review and three four star reviews out of thirty-seven!

      I personally didn’t think it was worth five stars but it’s a really innovative and unique novel so I can understand why it’s gotten such positive reviews!

      Also thanks for the compliment. 🙂

    • I love the book cover too! Teehee, there’s just something about that kind of typography that looks like really cool scribbled handwriting that I love, and the book was full of it. 🙂

      Haha, never too old 😉 I more gave it that rating because it’s a YA book so that’s seen as the typical audience range, but anyone who loves YA and the ‘coming of age’ issues they deal with I’m sure will love it!

      Give it a go, I dare ya 😉

    • Yeah, I think it was definitely the best aspect of the book and it really helps it stand out from the crowd.
      I’m glad to have sparked your interest. 🙂
      Thanks for commenting!

    • What?? My ally in the world of prose thinks it sounds interesting because of the poetry!?! This is quite the plot twist!
      Just kidding haha. Yeah I really liked the symbolism of the whole thing, dropping parts of your life story all over the town.

      I think in this case, yes, the romance would definitely drive you insane, it’s ‘cutsie’ in this one, all rainbows and roses etc.

    • Haha yeah Amazon likes to do that, it’s like a dog with a bone, once it decides that you would like a book based on previous searches it just keeps pestering you!

      No problem, I think you should, I’m sure you would like it 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, always great to hear from you!

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing this. What piqued my interest is the poetry-writing-on-random-things stuff 🙂 I’ll take note of this book and save it for later — probably when I need a good laugh.

    • No problem! 🙂 Yeah, after noticing the five star rating, and then seeing the cool poetry aspect I was sold.
      Cool, I’m glad to have piqued your interest. If you decide to get it I hope you enjoy it.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  3. Fantastic review as always! I loved this book because despite of its somewhat lack of originality, it still managed to pull at my heartstrings and make me tear up over the characters.

    • Thanks Thomas! 🙂
      That’s exactly what I thought, I must admit I did have a few tears in my eyes at points too! Lovely, loveable characters, I’m going to miss them.

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