The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
I know I’m late to the party with this one, but Wow. Just, WOW! This book blew me to space and back. Let’s forget the story for a second and talk about how beautiful the writing is. I read it twice in the space of three days (and maybe sent a thousand quotes to my sister via text message). I could not get enough of Jandy’s lyrical genius. It’s just…Wow! This book is a must read if you’re an avid YA reader.
So, the story. Main character Lennie has lost her sister and best friend, Bailey. This book is about the aftermath of Bailey’s sudden death, and how a wonderfully eccentric family deal with that loss. Lennie’s character is smart and sassy. Sometimes you want to shake her, but most of the time I found myself wanting to wrap her in a hug and tell her everything is going to be okay. Okay so maybe you’re thinking, this sounds like a really depressing read. And you’d be half right. There are some seriously intense, heart squeezing moments throughout, but then trotting right alongside those moments are some hilarious one liners that had me laughing out loud. I’ve never seen humor and misery entwine so seamlessly on the same page. You’re emotions will be in shreds by the time you’ve finished this book. But it’s a good feeling, one that stays with you for a long time.
There is a love triangle underpinning Lennie’s wrestle with grief. Bailey had a boyfriend, Toby, who is really struggling to cope with her death. He finds a somewhat inappropriate, but somehow necessary, kindred in Lennie. Their brief flirtation with a romance is a gale force clusterfuck of desperation, grief, longing and love (for Bailey, not for each other). Of course the guy Lennie really loves is the new boy in school, Joe. And Joe might return the feeling if Lennie can sort out her head and step away from Toby long enough to see that what she has with him is not healthy.
To wrap this up I want to share with you a passage from the book. It’s my favorite because it’s so true. This passage comes after weeks of Lennie avoiding talking about Bailey’s death. It’s delivered by her Gram when the pair finally sit down and share their sorrow. *Note* I’ve omitted a tiny detail because I don’t want to give anything away.
“I hate that everyone keeps telling me I carry Bailey in my heart. I want to holler at them: I don’t want her there. I want her in the kitchen with Lennie and me. I want her at the river with Toby […] I want her to be Juliet and Lady Macbeth, you stupid, stupid people. Bailey doesn’t want to be trapped in my heart or anyone else’s.” Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere.