The Sky Is Everywhere

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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 ...

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The Sky Is Everywhere

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nelson's first novel is tender, romantic, and loaded with passion."—The Horn Book

"The author brilliantly navigates Lennie's course between despair and hope, sorrow and humor... a gripping love triangle."—Shelf Awareness

"In this amazing tale of love and loss, Nelson introduces a cast of characters who make the reader laugh and cry."—NPR's The Roundtable

"Nearly everyone who's staggering through life in the wake of a loved one's death will recognize themselves in this brilliant, piercing story."—The Denver Post

* "This is distinguished by the dreamy California setting and poetic images that will draw readers into Lennie's world..."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A joy to read. You'll remember [it] long after you've turned the last page."—The Romantic Times

* "It's romantic without being gooey and tear-jerking without being campy—what more could a reader want?"—BCCB, starred review

* "This is a passionate, vulnerable, wonderfully complete and irresistible book."—VOYA, starred review

"[Nelson] writes with abandon... it's a headlong kind of book, preferably devoured at a single setting."—Los Angeles Times

"Brimming with humor and life, full of music and the poems Lennie drops all over town, The Sky is Everywhere explores betrayal and forgiveness through a vibrant cast of characters."—SLJ

"Those who think young adult books can't be as literary, rich, and mature as their adult counterparts will be disabused of that notion after reading The Sky is Everywhere... A finely-drawn portrait of grief and first love."—The Daily Beast

"A story of love, loss, and healing that will resonate with readers long after they've finished reading."—Booklist

"A story about love and loss... both heartfelt and literary."—Kirkus Reviews

"Sky is both a profound meditation on loss and grieving and an exhilarating and very sexy romance. The book deserves multiple readings simply to savor Nelson's luscious language..."—NPR (chosen by Gayle Forman as one of the top five teen reads of 2010)

"How grief and love run side by side is sensitively and intensely explored in this energetic, poetic, and warm-blooded novel."—The Guardian

"An addictive, romantic, heartbreaking, and wise tale of one girl's epic loss—and equally epic self-discovery. Seriously, stop reading this blurb; start reading this book!"—Gayle Forman, author of the New York Times Bestseller If I Stay

"Wow. I sobbed my eyes out and then laughed through the tears. I have not fallen in love with a story and its characters like this in a long time. Stunning, heartbreaking, hilarious. A story that shakes the earth."—An Na, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award and National Book Award Finalist

"Okay, I admit it. I have a huge crush on this book—it's beautiful, brilliant, passionate, funny, sexy, and deep. Come to think of it, I might even want to marry this book."—Sonya Sones, author of What My Mother Doesn't Know

"Full of heart, quirky charm, and beautiful writing, The Sky Is Everywhere simply shines."—Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist and author of The Secret Life of Prince Charming

"Jandy Nelson's story of grief somehow manages to be an enchantment, a celebration, a romance—without forsaking the rock-hard truths of loss."—Sara Zarr, National Book Award Finalist and author of Story of a Girl and Sweethearts

"The Sky Is Everywhere evokes the intensity of desire and agony of heartache with breathtaking clarity. This beautifully written story will leave an indelible impression upon your soul."—Susane Colasanti, author of When It Happens

A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Title

A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Translated into seventeen different languages

Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
It's romantic without being gooey and tear-jerking without being campy ... what more could a reader want?
The Horn Book
An intimate story about coping with loss, Nelson's first novel is tender, romantic, and loaded with passion.
Los Angeles Times
. . .unusually rich with both insight and breathless romance.
The Denver Post
. . .(a) brilliant piercing story.
Kirkus Reviews
Lennie, 17, has always been content with her role as the girl in the background, playing sidekick to her dramatic older sister, Bailey. After Bailey's sudden death, Lennie finds herself receiving a lot of attention from her peers and her family. Not one but two boys are interested in her: Toby, Bailey's boyfriend, and Joe, an artistic newcomer from France. Lennie loves them both for different reasons, but she almost destroys her relationship with Joe when he catches her kissing Toby. Romantics need not despair, for Joe is also the one who encourages her to rediscover her love of playing the clarinet, an activity that starts her on her path to becoming more independent. Lennie's losses are both heartfelt and appropriately literary and artsy, but her feelings and self-discovery often get buried in the many plotlines. Tied in with Bailey's death are the loss of Lennie's mother, her obsession with Wuthering Heights and her uncle's role as the town Casanova. This well-intentioned story about love and loss too often gets tangled in its own emo. (Fiction. YA)
Publishers Weekly
When Lennie's older sister dies suddenly, she is devastated, but she also starts realizing she no longer has to be the “companion pony” to the “thoroughbred” that was her dazzling sister. Living her own life proves difficult, however, both because it “doesn't seem right that anything good should come out of Bailey's death” and because of complications that arise when she falls in love with a talented musician in the school band. This honest, complex debut is distinguished by a dreamy California setting and poetic images that will draw readers into Lennie's world, particularly in the notes Lennie writes about life with her sister on bits of paper and even trees (“I button one of her frilly shirts/ over my own T-shirt./ ....I always feel better then,/ like she's holding me”). The author perhaps creates a few too many vibrant characters and plot points (Lennie also searches for her missing mom and discovers secrets Bailey was hiding). Even so, readers will be moved by Lennie's ability to admit to even some of her most unpleasant feelings and motivations, and her growing willingness to live “full blast.” Ages 14–up. (Mar.)
Horn Book
An intimate story-tender, romantic, and loaded with passion.
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
This novel begins with the tragic and sudden death of Bailey Walker, protagonist Lennie's older sister. Lennie has adored her big sister and feels completely at a loss without her. At a loss too is Toby, Bailey's boyfriend. Lennie and Toby embark on a very unhealthy relationship of passionate kisses and close intimacy as a way to keep Bailey's memory alive in their grief. They can rely on each other to understand their loss while it seems that the whole world is moving forward with life. Joe, a new student in school, is full of life and very interested in Lennie. But falling in love with Joe means letting go of grief and Lennie feels guilty doing so. Watching Lennie move between grief and life is her grandmother, Gram. The girls' mother has not been in their lives for years; it has been Gram who has raised Lennie and Bailey. As Lennie slowly begins to put Bailey's things away, she comes upon a secret that her sister never shared: Bailey had been trying to find their mother and Gram knows more about their mother than she is telling. Preoccupied with her own loss, Lennie realizes she has isolated herself from the people who love her most. Nelson's first novel is a rich story of loss and love, of family and friends, of moving forward while holding on to past memories. It is as rich and complex as real life, yet filled with eccentric, artistic characters. Young adults will certainly debate the decisions Lennie, and even Bailey, have made while being drawn into the quirky Walker family and their reactions to Bailey's death. The text does contain adult language and situations. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Barbara A. Ward
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker is content to remain in the shadow of her thespian older sister Bailey. But Bailey's unexpected death leaves Lennie lost and without purpose. Wrestling with several uncomfortable realizations concerning her assumptions about Bailey's ambitions, Lennie mourns, leaving messages in various places for her sister. Unexpectedly, Lennie and her sister's skater boyfriend Toby find solace in each other's company, and the encouragement of musician Joe helps Lennie return to her love for music. As Lennie learns more about her sibling and her family, she also discovers half-forgotten truths about herself. This beautifully written novel about loss, betrayal, healing, and whatever we leave behind is filled with romance, laughter, and beautifully written passages that will resonate long after the pages have been finished. In short, this book will break your heart and then piece it back together again, a testimony to the healing power of all kinds of love. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—When her older sister dies from an arrhythmia, 17-year-old Lennie finds that people are awkward around her, including her best friend. While dealing with her conflicted feelings toward her sister's boyfriend, her anguish over Bailey's unexpected death, and her sudden curiosity about sex, Lennie must also cope with her unresolved feelings about her mother, who left when Lennie was an infant. Debut author Nelson expertly and movingly chronicles the myriad, roller-coaster emotions that follow a tragedy, including Lennie's reluctance to box up her sister's belongings and her guilt over bursts of happiness. The portrayal of the teen's state of mind is believable, as are the romanticizing of her absent mother and the brief scenes of underage drinking and sexual exploration. Chapters are typically anchored by brief snippets of Lennie's writings. This is a heartfelt and appealing tale. Girls who gobble up romantic and/or weep-over fiction will undoubtedly flock to this realistic, sometimes funny, and heartbreaking story.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142417805
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 653
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give you the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Jandy has a BA from Cornell, an MFA in poetry from Brown, and another MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun.

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Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her houseplants has spots.

Gram has believed for most of my seventeen years that this particular houseplant, which is of the nondescript variety, reflects my emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. I’ve grown to believe it too.

Across the room from where I sit, Gram—all six feet and floral frock of her, looms over the black-spotted leaves.

“What do you mean it might not get better this time?” She’s asking this of Uncle Big: arborist, resident pothead, and mad scientist to boot. He knows something about everything, but he knows everything about plants.

To anyone else it might seem strange, even off the wall, that Gram, as she asks this, is staring at me, but it doesn’t to Uncle Big, because he’s staring at me as well.

“This time it has a very serious condition.” Big’s voice trumpets as if from stage or pulpit; his words carry weight, even pass the salt comes out of his mouth in a thou-shalt-Ten-Commandments kind of way.

Gram raises her hands to her face in distress, and I go back to scribbling a poem in the margin of Wuthering Heights. I’m huddled into a corner of the couch. I’ve no use for talking, would just as soon store paper clips in my mouth.

“But the plant’s always recovered before, Big, like when Lennie broke her arm, for instance.”

“That time the leaves had white spots.”

“Or just last fall when she auditioned for lead clarinet but had to be second chair again.”

“Brown spots.”

“Or when—”

“This time it’s different.”

I glance up. They’re still peering at me, a tall duet of sorrow and concern.

Gram is Clover’s Garden Guru. She has the most extraordinary flower garden in Northern California. Her roses burst with more color than a year of sunsets, and their fragrance is so intoxicating that town lore claims breathing in their scent can cause you to fall in love on the spot. But despite her nurturing and renowned green thumb, this plant seems to follow the trajectory of my life, independent of her efforts or its own vegetal sensibility.

I put my book and pen down on the table. Gram leans in close to the plant, whispers to it about the importance of joie de vivre, then lumbers over to the couch, sitting down next to me. Then Big joins us, plopping his enormous frame down beside Gram. We three, each with the same unruly hair that sits on our heads like a bustle of shiny black crows, stay like this, staring at nothing, for the rest of the afternoon.

This is us since my sister Bailey collapsed one month ago from a fatal arrhythmia while in rehearsal for a local production of Romeo & Juliet. It’s as if someone vacuumed up the horizon while we were looking the other way.

chapter 2

The morning of the day Bailey died,
she woke me up by putting her finger in my ear.
I hated when she did this.
She then started trying on shirts, asking me:
Which do you like better, the green or the blue?
The blue.
You didn’t even look up, Lennie.
Okay, the green. Really, I don’t care what shirt you wear . . .
Then I rolled over in bed and fell back asleep.
I found out later she wore the blue and those were the last words I ever spoke to her.

(Found written on a lollipop wrapper on the trail to the Rain River)

My first day back to school is just as I expect, the hall does a Red Sea part when I come in, conversations hush, eyes swim with nervous sympathy, and everyone stares as if I’m holding Bailey’s dead body in my arms, which I guess I am. Her death is all over me, I can feel it and everyone can see it, plain as a big black coat wrapped around me on a beautiful spring day. But what I don’t expect is the unprecedented hubbub over some new boy, Joe Fontaine, who arrived in my month-long absence. Everywhere I go it’s the same:

“Have you seen him yet?”

“He looks like a Gypsy.”

“Like a rock star.”“A pirate.”

“I hear he’s in a band called Dive.”

“That he’s a musical genius.”

“Someone told me he used to live in Paris.”

“That he played music on the streets.”

“Have you seen him yet?”

I have seen him, because when I return to my band seat, the one I’ve occupied for the last year, he’s in it. Even in the stun of grief, my eyes roam from the black boots, up the miles of legs covered in denim, over the endless torso, and finally settle on a face so animated I wonder if I’ve interrupted a conversation between him and my music stand.

“Hi,” he says, and jumps up. He’s treetop tall. “You must be Lennon.” He points to my name on the chair. “I heard about—I’m sorry.” I notice the way he holds his clarinet, not precious with it, tight fist around the neck, like a sword.

“Thank you,” I say, and every available inch of his face busts into a smile—whoa. Has he blown into our school on a gust of wind from another world? The guy looks unabashedly jack-o’-lantern happy, which couldn’t be more foreign to the sullen demeanor most of us strove to perfect. He has scores of messy brown curls that flop every which way and eyelashes so spider-leg long and thick that when he blinks he looks like he’s batting his bright green eyes right at you. His face is more open than an open book, like a wall of graffiti really. I realize I’m writing wow on my thigh with my finger, decide I better open my mouth and snap us out of this impromptu staring contest.

“Everyone calls me Lennie,” I say. Not very original, but better than guh, which was the alternative, and it does the trick. He looks down at his feet for a second and I take a breath and regroup for Round Two.

“Been wondering about that actually, Lennon after John?” he asks, again holding my gaze—it’s entirely possible I’m going to faint. Or burst into flames.

I nod. “Mom was a hippie.” This is northern Northern California after all—the final frontier of freakerdom. Just in the eleventh grade we have a girl named Electricity, a guy named Magic Bus, and countless flowers: Tulip, Begonia, and Poppy—all parent-given-on-the-birth-certificate names. Tulip is a two-ton bruiser of a guy who would be the star of our football team if we were the kind of school that had a football team. We’re not. We’re the kind of school that has optional morning meditation in the gym.

“Yeah,” Joe says. “My mom too, and Dad, as well as aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins . . . welcome to Commune Fontaine.”

I laugh out loud. “Got the picture.”

But whoa again—should I be laughing so easily like this? And should it feel this good? Like slipping into cool river water.

I turn around, wondering if anyone is watching us, and see that Sarah has just walked—rather, exploded—into the music room. I’ve hardly seen her since the funeral, feel a pang of guilt.

“Lennieeeee!” She careens toward us in prime goth-gone-cowgirl form: vintage slinky black dress, shit-kicker cowboy boots, blond hair dyed so black it looks blue, all topped off with a honking Stetson. I note the breakneck pace of her approach, wonder for an instant if she’s going to actually jump into my arms right before she tries to, sending us both skidding into Joe, who somehow retains his balance, and ours, so we all don’t fly through the window.

This is Sarah, subdued.

“Nice,” I whisper in her ear as she hugs me like a bear even though she’s built like a bird. “Way to bowl down the gorgeous new boy.” She cracks up, and it feels both amazing and disconcerting to have someone in my arms shaking from laughter rather than heartbreak.

Sarah is the most enthusiastic cynical person on the planet. She’d be the perfect cheerleader if she weren’t so disgusted by the notion of school spirit. She’s a literature fanatic like me, but reads darker, read Sartre in tenth grade—Nausea—which is when she started wearing black (even at the beach), smoking cigarettes (even though she looks like the healthiest girl you’ve ever seen), and obsessing about her existential crisis (even as she partied to all hours of the night).

“Lennie, welcome back, dear,” another voice says. Mr. James—also known in my mind as Yoda for both outward appearance and inward musical mojo—has stood up at the piano and is looking over at me with the same expression of bottomless sadness I’ve gotten so used to seeing from adults. “We’re all so very sorry.”

“Thank you,” I say, for the hundredth time that day. Sarah and Joe are both looking at me too, Sarah with concern and Joe with a grin the size of the continental United States. Does he look at everyone like this, I wonder. Is he a wingnut? Well, whatever he is, or has, it’s catching. Before I know it, I’ve matched his continental U.S. and raised him Puerto Rico and Hawaii. I must look like The Merry Mourner. Sheesh. And that’s not all, because now I’m thinking what it might be like to kiss him, to really kiss him—uh-oh. This is a problem, an entirely new un-Lennie-like problem that began (WTF-edly?!) at the funeral: I was drowning in darkness and suddenly all these boys in the room were glowing. Guy friends of Bailey’s from work or college, most of whom I didn’t know, kept coming up to me saying how sorry they were, and I don’t know if it’s because they thought I looked like Bailey, or because they felt bad for me, but later on, I’d catch some of them staring at me in this charged, urgent way, and I’d find myself staring back at them, like I was someone else, thinking things I hardly ever had before, things I’m mortified to have been thinking in a church, let alone at my sister’s funeral.

This boy beaming before me, however, seems to glow in a class all his own. He must be from a very friendly part of the Milky Way, I’m thinking as I try to tone down this nutso smile on my face, but instead almost blurt out to Sarah, “He looks like Heathcliff,” because I just realized he does, well, except for the happy smiling part—but then all of a sudden the breath is kicked out of me and I’m shoved onto the cold hard concrete floor of my life now, because I remember I can’t run home after school and tell Bails about a new boy in band.

My sister dies over and over again, all day long.

“Len?” Sarah touches my shoulder. “You okay?”

I nod, willing away the runaway train of grief barreling straight for me.

Someone behind us starts playing “Approaching Shark,” aka the Jaws theme song. I turn to see Rachel Brazile gliding toward us, hear her mutter, “Very funny,” to Luke Jacobus, the saxophonist responsible for the accompaniment. He’s just one of many band-kill Rachel’s left in her wake, guys duped by the fact that all that haughty horror is stuffed into a spectacular body, and then further deceived by big brown fawn eyes and Rapunzel hair. Sarah and I are convinced God was in an ironic mood when he made her.

“See you’ve met The Maestro,” she says to me, casually touching Joe’s back as she slips into her chair—first chair clarinet—where I should be sitting.

She opens her case, starts putting together her instrument. “Joe studied at a conservatory in Fronce. Did he tell you?” Of course she doesn’t say France so it rhymes with dance like a normal English-speaking human being. I can feel Sarah bristling beside me. She has zero tolerance for Rachel ever since she got first chair over me, but Sarah doesn’t know what really happened—no one does.

Rachel’s tightening the ligature on her mouthpiece like she’s trying to asphyxiate her clarinet. “Joe was a fabulous second in your absence,” she says, drawing out the word fabulous from here to the Eiffel Tower.

I don’t fire-breathe at her: “Glad everything worked out for you, Rachel.” I don’t say a word, just wish I could curl into a ball and roll away. Sarah, on the other hand, looks like she wishes there were a battle-ax handy.

The room has become a clamor of random notes and scales. “Finish up tuning, I want to start at the bell today,” Mr. James calls from the piano. “And take out your pencils, I’ve made some changes to the arrangement.”

“I better go beat on something,” Sarah says, throwing Rachel a disgusted look, then huffs off to beat on her timpani.

Rachel shrugs, smiles at Joe—no not smiles: twinkles—oh brother. “Well, it’s true,” she says to him. “You were—I mean, are—fabulous.”

“Not so.” He bends down to pack up his clarinet. “I’m a hack, was just keeping the seat warm. Now I can go back to where I belong.” He points his clarinet at the horn section.

“You’re just being modest,” Rachel says, tossing fairy-tale locks over the back of her chair. “You have so many colors on your tonal palette.”

I look at Joe expecting to see some evidence of an inward groan at these imbecilic words, but see evidence of something else instead. He smiles at Rachel on a geographical scale too. I feel my neck go hot.

“You know I’ll miss you,” she says, pouting.

“We’ll meet again,” Joe replies, adding an eye-bat to his repertoire. “Like next period, in history.”

I’ve disappeared, which is good really, because suddenly I don’t have a clue what to do with my face or body or smashed-up heart. I take my seat, noting that this grinning, eye-batting fool from Fronce looks nothing like Heathcliff. I was mistaken.

I open my clarinet case, put my reed in my mouth to moisten it and instead bite it in two.

At 4:48 p.m. on a Friday in April,
my sister was rehearsing the role of Juliet and less than one minute later she was dead.
To my astonishment, time didn’t stop with her heart.
People went to school, to work, to restaurants;
they crushed crackers into their clam chowder,
fretted over exams,
sang in their cars with the windows up.
For days and days, the rain beat its fists on the roof of our house—
evidence of the terrible mistake
God had made.
Each morning, when I woke
I listened for the tireless pounding,
looked at the drear through the window and was relieved that at least the sun had the decency to stay the hell away from us.

(Found on a piece of staff paper, spiked on a low branch, Flying Man’s Gulch)

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 164 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 165 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Breathtakingly Good!

    This book is breathtakingly good.

    Jandy Nelson's first novel is a tender, beautifully written book about grief, love, family, and self-realization. Lennie is just 17 when her beloved older sister Bailey dies abruptly and the after affects of the loss are almost catastrophic. Once a talented clarinet player, Lennie stops playing and begins to hide from everything she once knew. The sadness that comes through in the words of this book was almost overwhelming. At times I didn't think I could finish The Sky Is Everywhere because the thought of dealing with a similar loss was just too much.

    There is more to the story than just grief, though. Lennie has to begin dealing with being the main player in the story of her own life..something she is not used to. She becomes close to two boys and both affect her in different ways. One is a comfort to the life she remembers, when her sister was still alive, and the other breaths a new life into her and inspires her to live, love, and revisit music.

    This book reads like poetry and I absolutely can not wait until Jandy Nelson writes something else. A fantastic first novel and I hope other readers enjoy it as much as I did.

    The Sky Is Everywhere


    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This Book is Perfection

    When Lennie's sister Bailey dies, she doesn't know how to go on. How do you live when someone so important to you is gone? Nelson took the difficult subject of grief and all the emotion that accompanies it and turned it into a story that will leave you reeling. Grief can be a difficult subject for any author to tackle, but Nelson takes the feeling of isolation, of sheer loneliness and despair and makes it palpable.
    Telepathically, I tell her I'm sorry. I tell her I just can't confide in her right now, tell her the three feet between us feels like three light-years to me and I don't know how to bridge it.
    Telepathically, she tells me back that I'm breaking her broken heart.
    The honesty of each and every character explodes off the page and the heartbreak will tear you in two.

    The grief instantly pulled me in. That's the thing that held me to Lennie, to Gram, to Big, and to Toby. It was the grief that hung over each of them like a cloud. Nelson takes this tortuous grief and transforms it into a despairing, realistic, and breathtaking story that will charm your soul and leave a mark on your heart.
    To my astonishment, time didn't stop with her heart.For days and days, the rain beat its fists on the roof of our house - evidence of the terrible mistake God had made.
    I was instantly attached to each of the characters and mourned Bailey as if she were my own sister/granddaughter/niece/girlfriend. Even without ever truly experiencing the Bailey that Lennie remembers, I felt her in each and every sentence, in each and every moment. The love story that just happens to unfold among the grief will have you clinging to life, to the life that Lennie wants, but feels she doesn't deserve.
    I don't believe time heals. I don't want it to. If I heal, doesn't that mean I've accepted the world without her?
    Toby, Bailey's boyfriend, broke my heart again and again. I wanted to reach through the pages and hold him and I understood the connection that Lennie develops with him. It's almost natural. Their love for the same girl pushes them together. On the flip side, Joe, the soulful, charming, and always smiling new boy, will make you yearn for the happiness and joy he radiates. Without ever knowing Bailey, he anchors Lennie to the world she lives in now. He is the sun on a cloudy day and his smile will warm you from the inside out.

    Somehow, Nelson takes a story of infinite, unending grief, and transforms it into a story of living, loving, and remembering. I read it into the wee hours of the morning and forced myself to put it down to sleep. It is absolutely addicting and unforgettable. The hilarity surprised me, yet seemed right. The notes that don the beginning of many chapters are a quirk that feels just so Lennie. My favorite being one that begins:
    Grief is a house
    where the chairs
    have forgotten how to hold us
    the mirrors how to reflect us
    the walls how to contain us...
    There are no negative thoughts that come to mind with this story and I couldn't imagine it any other way. The Sky is Everywhere is imbued with love and loss and will make you roll with laughter, cry out with despair, and smile so much it hurts.

    Opening line: Gram is worried about me.

    Favorite line(s): My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath.

    This book is perfection and I do not say that lightly.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love, Love, Love this book soo much<3

    I don't know what to say...this book is simply amazing. I laid in my bed after finishing this book and I could not stop thinking about it! I felt the characters feelings and emotions. This book is a must read! You wouldn't be sorry.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2011


    I would only recommend this book to young ADULTS. I guess the book was well written but 1)had WAY too much sexual content 2)dissed God way too often(and too much) 3)cussed A TON. The book and it's emotions were well written and described, but it probably could have been better without-some of the things I listed. Like I said, hmmm...

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    J-14 magazine said

    Selena Gomez has supposedly bought the rights to turn this into a movie. She will play leannie and be the producer of the film. I'd see it.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved this book!

    I truly learned a life lesson in this book. It's such an amazing, beautifully written book! I recommend this book to anyone who wants a romantic and life learning experience (in a book) haha :)Hope you all read it!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Beautiful Book

    I was lucky enough to read this book before it's released. This is a wonderful YA debut. While there were times when I wanted to slap Lennie for her stupid decisions, I couldn't help but grow to love her by the end of the book. I mean her sister's dead, but she's fooling around with her sister's boyfriend. As bad as that sounds, there was a reason to it. I was completely a Lennie-Joe shipper throughout this book because I liked where this relationship was going. Forget the blurb on the back of this book because it is so much more than Lennie just juggling with two boys. It talks about her mother who has gone missing for a reason she doesn't know why. Loss, grief, love, and hope--they are all present in this wonderful novel along with many surprises, wove together in a beautiful, poetic, and heartbreaking way.

    One aspect I really enjoyed from this book were the short poems Lennie wrote. Each time I saw them, I saw more of Lennie's world and life with her sister. If you have have a warmer heart than me, they might even be sad enough to make you shed some tears.

    The title for this novel and the pacing fit the book perfectly. Jandy Nelson is a wonderful author, and if her debut is this amazing, I can't wait for what she has in stores for us next. This book comes out March 2010. Everyone should think about purchasing this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012


    This book was amazing. I could not put it down! I highly recomend this book to teens! LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!! Worth the buy and was sohappy my friend read it to recomend it to me!!!!!!!! Read it!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    This book is Exceptional! I have read it about 8 times and stil

    This book is Exceptional! I have read it about 8 times and still can't
    get enough of it. It was so powerful and very moving. I would recommend
    it to all teens. The book is deep and an amazing well written book.
    It's one of my favorite books. Thanks

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    A Book That is Unforgettable

    To tell the truth, this is the best book I have ever read or come across. I always felt like I could relate to Lennie. This is because we are so alike. She is a bookworm, band geek, 2nd clarinet chair, and has an older sister, just like me. The whole entire story I felt like I was living it, like I was one of the people in the community that had an inside look to the truth of Lennie's life that all started to fall apart slowly once her mom just dissapeared. This book does not, at any time, feel fake. In fact, it is just like the opposite. Like you are actually Lennie, and you are going through this horrible situation she is in. Jandy Nelson does not hold back and it makes this book really shine, and it shows because of how high the rating is, how I could not put this book down, and finished it in one day never getting up off of the couch for the 3 hours it took me to read this. I must say, this is the book I have cried the most in because the emotion is so raw and real. To me, there are no flaws in this book. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is wrong with this book, I will continue to love this book like Lennie continues to love and grieve her late older sister, Bailey. The romance in this book transcends others I have read. This is an amazing book, and I highly recommend this to anyone, an only child, one with eight siblings, a seventy year old. Anyone could fall in this book. I cannot wait for Nelson's next book! This book is the best I have ever read and you should start reading it right now. I bet you will fall in love with this book just like I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    I Also Recommend:



    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I heart "The Sky is Everywhere". I give it 6 Stars

    The Poetry: Jandy Nelson has a poetic feel to her writing that had me swept-up in the moment from page one. I can’t even begin to give her the appropriate amount of commendation with my own mediocre words. I have started this review several times and always erase it because nothing I write seems suitable in comparison. When you get this book, turn it over and read the blurbs on the back. The one that sums it up best is “...I have a crush on this book” and I do. Her words made me wish I was a more sensitive soul. When I finished, I wanted to be young and artsy and tragic. I wanted to have owned a copy of it from when I was in high school; a dog-eared copy with phrases underlined and notes in the margin. I wished I were the words on each page. On this review I really feel that I have to just sum it up by saying: READ IT! I know I usually write and write and write, but I can’t find the vocabulary to express my thoughts on this one.You know when you just love something so much you can’t put it into words, that’s is so just exactly how I feel about The Sky is Everywhere. This book IS a feeling! I mean, try describing a feeling ... It’s hard right!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    The Sky is Everywhere is one intense book! I was so caught up in what was happening to Lennie, our heroine, that I had to put the book down a few times and take a break. I was almost tempted to read the ending to put an end to all the suspense - and I never do that!

    Our story opens up one month after the death of Bailey, Lennie's older sister. She's still reeling from Bailey's sudden death and isolating herself from friends and family. Lennie is also trying to deal with the fact that ever since Bailey passed, she's been one huge ball of raging hormones - noticing guys when they've never even been a blip on her radar before. One guy that totally rocks her world is Parisian transplant, Joe Fontaine, musician extraordinaire. The other guy, unfortunately, is Bailey's boyfriend, Toby. Joe brightens up Lennie's life but Toby keeps her memories of Bailey alive. He gets her in a way no one else does.

    Lennie was such an amazing character for someone so young. What got me was her relationship with her sister. Imagine a race horse - there's a companion pony leading that race horse to the starting gate. Lennie thinks of herself as that companion pony to the star. She's trying to find her way without her sister to lead the way. Their relationship also had an effect on Lennie's musical aspirations. Lennie gave up her dream of going to Juilliard because Bailey, an aspiring actress, didn't get accepted to that prestigious school. As you can see, Bailey had a very important impact on Lennie's life.

    The secondary characters were interesting as well. There's Lennie's absent mother, she plays a big role in Lennie's life even though she isn't there. There's Joe and Toby. Then there's Gram and Uncle Big. Gram has a way with flowers and Big is the town Lothario. A richer cast of characters you won't find in another young adult novel. I loved everyone.

    Music also plays an important role in Lennie's story. She plays the clarinet, she's 2nd seat in band. She's allowed a less talented girl to get first seat. And her connection with Joe is also through music.

    Another thing I really loved was Lennie's writing. She writes her thoughts and poems on little scraps of paper and leaves them around town, she doesn't actually commit anything to a notebook. She lets her words loose into the world, and those words were powerful.

    The Sky is Everywhere is an intense and enjoyable debut novel. I highly recommend it. A

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    In a Word, Poetic

    I did highly enjoy this book, mostly because of the writing itself. If you love poetry, then I would recommend this for you. At times I was caught so off guard by a sentence or a line, and I would actually sit there, rereading it, thinking about it, for several minutes. The story itself may have been a bit cliché - family member dies, main character is depressed, main character finds way to deal with depression, main character meets boy, etc., etc. - but the wording is lovely, and the emotions come through well. A satisfying read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

    Lennie and Bailey are sisters, best friends, everything to each other. Their mother took off when they were just babies, which Gram has always attributed to the "restless gene" that runs in the family.

    When Bailey, vivacious and fiery Bailey, dies of a heart arrhythmia while rehearsing for Romeo & Juliet, Lennie is utterly lost. Without Bailey's guidance, smothering affection, and her untameable spirit, Lennie doesn't know what to do. She has always stood at the sidelines, content to catch just a few rays of Bailey's endless radiance.

    Though Lennie can't help but wallow in her grief, the rest of the world carries on, and ultimately, so must she. On her first day back to school she meets the most enchanting boy on earth - fabulously multi-talented musician, Joey Fontaine. Complicating the situation is Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, who turns to Lennie for comfort. In sharing their despair, seeds of attraction manifest and Lennie must struggle to sort through a tumult of emotions roaring inside her.

    Forced to come out of her shell, Lennie starts to see how absolutely beautiful yet wondrously confusing life can be. In her contemplation of life and death, Lennie must completely reconsider what it means to truly live.

    For the first time in her life, Lennie is all alone - center stage. Whether she is ready or not, it is time for her solo.

    Jandy Nelson's debut novel is a heart-wrenching tale of love and forgiveness that will make you laugh and cry all in the same sentence. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE ties themes of wanderlust, betrayal, and forgiveness in a love story more complex than most young adult authors dare to concoct.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2015

    Loved it!

    Having experienced the sudden tragic loss of someone so close to me it felt as tho part of my soul was lost forever I can say this book is a piece of art. I have kept it long afterreading it. It has been highlighted, pages turned down to bookmark passages. I NEVER do that! It spoke the pain of my soul, the longing, the tears. The realization that your time with them is through and u can never get it back. Don't pass this one up even if u don't understand all of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2015

    Promising debut

    Beautiful character development and enthralling story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2014


    Wow! Wow! Wow! What a fantastic author/writer. Beautiful story that captured my heart. Not just for young adults that's for sure since I'm not young in age.

    Jandy I have read both of your books. Please keep up the creative, lovely, and fantastic work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    This book is rich with beautiful language, extraordinary passion

    This book is rich with beautiful language, extraordinary passion, and self-discovery through loss and love. And I don't just mean romantic-love -- I mean family-love, and self-love. I loved every minute of every page.

    Please ignore reviews that say this book was "too sexual for teens," or "disses God." To dismiss this book based on someone else's opinion is a great injustice to the author, and you might find that you have your own opinions. For me, personally, I thought the references to sex (just to clarify, there is NO graphic sex in this book), kissing scenes, intimate/romantic moments, etc. were beautifully written and added a compelling element to the story overall. And the references to God (again, there is NO blatant ridicule of a Christian God or any other religious deity/practice) were reflective of Lennie trying to make sense of a world without Bailey. 

     This book is eloquent, passionate, and incredibly deep. I loved the aspects of incorporating music, Wuthering Heights, the aphrodisiac roses, etc. I loved the characters. I loved the story's arc and conclusion. It was brilliant. This story is absolutely and utterly brilliant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2014

    Beautifully written.

    This book impressed me so much. The writing was raw and emotional and was a great read. I would recommend this book to anybody.

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