The Sky is Everywhere tells the story of Lennie Walker, someone who is struggling to live in a world where her sister no longer lives; struggling to work out who she really is without her sister, Bailey. Amidst all her grief, all the darkness, something happens that she never expected to: she falls in love.
Jandy Nelson has woven together a truly beautiful and devastatingly sad story. The writing is often bewitching, containing heart wrenching lines such as: “My sister dies over and over again, all day long.” It is that terrible realisation every time you want to share something that has happened in your life, with that one person you run to first with news and realise all over again that they’re gone. There’s so much that Bailey will never get to experience, which is entwined with the earth-shattering awareness that Bailey no longer has a future while Lennie does.
“Besides me, step for step, breath for breath, is the unbearable fact that I have a future and Bailey doesn’t. This is when I know it. My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her.”
Lennie never expected to suddenly start noticing the opposite sex, while going through the worst time of her life – apparently teenage hormones and grief are not a good mix. I’ll admit I found the sudden boy obsession a little annoying – but only slightly – but hey, she is a teenager, although not all teenage girls become boy obsessed, and grief does strange things to a person. So, in enters Joe Fontaine, a light in the darkness.
I liked Joe; it’s kind of difficult to not like him. I have a small issue though: I found that he fit the stereotype of many other male love interests. He – like many others – is drop-dead gorgeous. He can’t just have a great smile, but along with the always smiling is the amazing eye lashes that people would die for, and the great head of dark curls – even adults would flirt with him (although this was a little funny as it was Grams doing the flirting).
The relationship that developed between Lennie and Joe was sweet and I found myself liking them both – even though Lennie made some bad decisions, but I’ll forgive her for those. Love can happen at the most unexpected time.
It is a beautifully crafted piece of work – you really can tell that Nelson is a poet. Achingly sad and beautiful all at the same time, sweeping you up in the story. I look forward to reading more from Jandy Nelson.