Thursday, March 1, 2012

Justine's Thoughts: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere
By Jandy Nelson
Source: Won
Book Description:
Meet Lennie Walker -- sisterless, clarinet player, ustine maker, Heathcliff obsessed and hopelessly in love. . . .
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 epic mistakes and epic 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.

A quote:
I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me.

Expectations: There was wonderful talk about this novel, with bloggers sharing quotes and passages. It was the reason why it moved up my must-own list of books. So my total expectations were very high, but I was so satisfied that in the end, it definitely did not disappoint.

About Setting: I just wish I was in this novel, maybe living beside Lennie’s house or somewhere in this neighbourhood. The forest is nearby and there’s a trail that exists within (where some poems of Lennie are scattered about). The interesting thing is that there’s a bedroom in the middle of a forest! It’s so cool! It’s Lennie’s hiding spot and I’m wishing right now that I have one. But I don’t. The story as a whole takes place in a fictional city in California called Clover. Jandy Nelson talks about it in the end of the novel, naming elements in nature such as “roaring rivers, skscraping redwoods, thick old-growth forests”. It is meant to exist for the Walker family so Lennie can find a way to pull through and to truly find herself.

About Characters: It’s always difficult to relate to a person dealing with grief. With Lennie, I couldn’t understand why she was doing what she was doing. Why is she with Toby and fooling around when her heart belongs to someone else? Why does she think it’s reasonable to do that? I know it must be a way for Lennie to cope, as she herself explains her reasons, but to other characters it doesn’t seem fair or right. I tried putting myself in Lennie’s shoes and I found it so hard to choose between Toby and Joe (though I loved Joe a lot). Toby shares her grief and almost knows what she feels, while Joe is beyond awesome with his musical talent, a smile as bright as the sun, and a personality that brings a spark. The one thing I also picked up on is how Jandy Nelson depicted the love scenes, whether it was with Toby or Joe. It never seemed clichéd or cheesy to me. Maybe at one point when Lennie quoted Wuthering Heights, but that was funny and understanding beyond cheesy.

Other characters like Gram and Big and Sarah are sooo amazing. I seriously wish I know them in real life. Sarah is Lennie’s best friend who wears black, smokes cigarettes, and could maybe possibly be the best cheerleader...or maybe not.  Her personality is so fun, I love it. The characters -- all of them -- are simply the best.

About Plot: Jandy Nelson has an incredible, poetic prose! At first I had to adjust to it, of course like I do with almost every book. But when I was deep within the story, I fell in love with it. I loved the poems that Lennie wrote and the idea of them being scattered all around town is so brilliant. It’s what Jandy Nelson really wanted to include and I’m glad she did! It tied it all together in the end and made for a really good ending. Still, there were few missing pieces I was curious to know. I guess it was left on purpose for us to create our own endings.

Overall Rating: Y Y Y Y Y
Although I adore the cover of the paperback copy, I really really really wish I own the UK version! The poems aren’t in black and white (like the one in my paperback) but they’re in colour and they’re so authentic. I loved The Sky is Everywhere. It focuses on the sorrowful grief and aching love and follows the transformation for hope and renewal for life. It’s one of those books that you would want to read again and again.


Word on the street is... Selena Gomez will be playing Lennie in the movie. Wait, what? There's going to be a movie? Yeah, I didn't even know that either. Nor did I know that Selena Gomez will be playing Lennie. Not sure how I feel about that, to be quite honest!

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