Review Blog

Jun 23 2010

The sky is everywhere by Jandy Nelson

cover image

Walker, 2010. ISBN 9781406326307.
(Age: Teens) Recommended. The blue cloth type cover and the blue bookmark cleverly attached to the back cover give this a book a different feel. All the type is blue and at the commencement of each chapter is a colored photo of a poem written on a variety of bits of paper.
Lennie (short for Lennon, as in John Lennon) is grief stricken following the sudden death of her sister Bailey. Lennie's mother walked out sixteen years ago leaving her two young daughters in the care of their grandmother, Gram and her pot smoking, many times married, brother, Big. Gram loves painting and caring for the roses in her garden. A half finished portrait of her daughter dominates a wall in the house. Gram has always told her granddaughters that one day their mother will come back.
Ryan, Bailey's boyfriend, is also devastated following her death. Ryan spends time at the house and with Lennie. As the comfort and solace they provide each other becomes more intimate, Lennie feels confused about her feelings for Ryan. Lennie is also falling in love with Joe, the gorgeous new boy at school. One day Joe finds Lennie and Ryan kissing. Lennie is devastated and with the help of her friend Sarah commences a quest to win back Ryan's love and affection.
Joe's revelation that Bailey was pregnant at the time of her death and that they had planned to marry adds to Lennie's grief. Gram reveals some home truths about the disappearance of her mother all those years ago and Big gets married yet again. At the end of the story, Ryan reveals that the poems that are photographed at the beginning of each chapter have been collected by him coincidentally as he has been walking the streets. The poems have given Ryan an insight into how much Lennie is grieving for Bailey.
This is a story about love, grieving the sudden loss of a sibling, the loss felt after being abandoned by a parent and growing up.
If you need another teenage romance, set in northern California, at the kind of school that has 'optional morning meditation in the gym' (pg 17) then this title is for you.
Jenny Brisbane

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