The Sky is Everywhere Review: A Strong and Considered Exploration of Grief

April 8, 2021 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

The Sky is Everywhere Review: A Strong and Considered Exploration of GriefThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published by Speak on March 22, 2011
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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Adrift after her sister Bailey's sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey's boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs... though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.
Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.
As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

TW: cheating in relationships

I’ve been putting off reading The Sky is Everywhere for years and years. I’ll Give You the Sun is one of my favourite books of all time and I just didn’t know if The Sky is Everywhere would live up to my (probably unreasonable) expectations. And I don’t think that it did… Not to say that I didn’t enjoy The Sky is Everywhere because I did end up giving it 4 stars, but I had extremely conflicted feelings about it.

The Sky is Everywhere follows Lennie Walker one month after her older sister, Bailey, passed away from heart arrhythmia, as she tries to cope with the loss. Her grief is explored through the plot and prose, as well as in the form of poems and excerpts that Lennie writes and leaves all over the town. As Lennie muddles around and tries to cope with her grief and trying to figure out where she belongs in the world without her sister, she starts a relationship with Bailey’s boyfriend/fiance, Toby, who is also trying to cope with his own grief. Meanwhile, Joe, the new boy at school who emits sunshine and rainbows, starts to bring Lennie out of her shell and distracts her from her grief, while bringing her love of music out of her. But as their relationship intensifies, Lennie feels as though Bailey is disappearing from her life… and being with Toby helps to bring her back.

Let’s cut to the chase. I hated that Lennie was with two different guys in the book and all the cheating that happened. I mean, she wasn’t really ever with Toby but she kept being readily available for making out and fooling around with him when they felt like they couldn’t cope with the loss of Bailey. And besides me feeling slightly grossed out, there’s probably nothing wrong with that… except Lennie was also seeing Joe at the same time. I just really disliked it being such a big part of the plot because I could’ve loved The Sky is Everywhere so much more.

And I have to say that the writing is beautiful and heartfelt and everything that I love about a great contemporary book. I enjoyed the exploration of grief and how much the book packs into its short 275 pages. And I also liked most of the characters, especially the side characters like Gram and Uncle Big. But I just never felt comfortable with the plot of the book and I never truly connected with Lennie because of her actions. I appreciated what her character was going through but I couldn’t relate to her. And I LOVED Joe so my heart really broke for him.

All in all, I did enjoy enough about the book to give it a 4 stars and I would still recommend it, as it’s a short read even if there are aspects of it that could put readers off. I really loved the writing style and the themes of grief, love and music that were explored and how these themes all worked together. However, if you’re looking for a contemporary YA novel that will knock your socks off, I’d recommend I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson’s second novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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2 responses to “The Sky is Everywhere Review: A Strong and Considered Exploration of Grief

  1. I enjoyed reading your review. It sounded really interesting up until the mention of cheating. Your description of the writing does make me curious about the author though. I may have to look into I’ll Give You the Sun.
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