Friday, July 6, 2012
Review: The Sky Is Everywhere
By Jandy Nelson, read by Julia Whelan
Published 2010 by Brilliance Audio
Lennie doesn't know how to be the star of her own life. For the first 17 years, she has lived as the "companion pony" to her brilliant and amazing sister, Bailey. Now, though, Bailey is dead and Lennie has to learn what it really means to be Lennie without Bailey. And when Lennie finds herself in the middle of a love triangle involving hot new-to-town Joe and Toby, Bailey's boyfriend, finding herself gets even more complicated.
This book has been on my radar because I don't think there is enough written about sibling loss, fiction or non-fiction. Having dealt with this particular brand of grief, I can tell you that it is unlike any other kind. Reading the synopsis of this book certainly brought it to my attention, but of course, I didn't have time to read it when it was new. I listened to the audiobook recently and was very much looking forward to it. However, after finishing it and reading some reviews, I'm a little sad I missed the print version - most of the reviews I've read have called it a gorgeous package and I can imagine it might be. However, listening instead of reading didn't dilute all the pleasure associated with this novel - this is still an absolutely gorgeous and engaging read. Nelson's prose is luminous and beautiful and basically every cheesy word I can think of. Her characters are also wonderful - realistic and raw, heartbreaking and joyful. The story is told in such a believable and interesting way - the inclusion of Lennie's notes is perfect, a perfect expression of her grief. And the love triangle is also a very realistic and beautifully rendered plot point - I found myself as confused as Lennie, trying to sort out her feelings as well as my own for both the boys that filled different parts of her broken soul. At times, Lennie frustrated me to no end, making choices that I didn't agree with and saying things that I didn't think she should say. But that is part of the beauty of this novel - I was right there in it, completely absorbed while I listened. I loved pretty much everything about this book - although, there were a number of times during the audio version when the narrator whispered and it was very difficult to hear. But, overall, this book is highly recommended, to all fans of contemporary realistic fiction and those looking for grief stories similar to their own.