The Sky Is Everywhere

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The Sky is Everywhere
cover
The cover of The Sky is Everywhere.
Author Jandy Nelson
Illustrator Jennifer Kelly
Country United States
Language English
Genre Contemporary
Publisher Penguin Group
Publication date
2010
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 275 pp (first edition)
ISBN ISBN 978-0-8037-3495-1
LC Class PZ7.N433835Sk 2010
Text The Sky is Everywhere at Wikisource

Plot[edit]

Lennon Walker, referred to as Lennie or Len, is a high school student whose love for nature and band comforts her throughout the day. The loss of her sister, Bailey, by arrhythmia while she is rehearsing the lead in the play Romeo and Juliet, leads Lennie to question what she is to do without her best friend. Following Bailey's death, Lennie, Gram, and Uncle Big are stuck in a state depression that takes a while to overcome.

Lennie attempts to cope with her loss by leaving notes and poems throughout the town. Written on the notes and poems are often conversations Lennie had with Bailey before she died. In the midst of all this, Lennie begins an unplanned relationship with Toby, Bailey's boyfriend and fiance. Their relationship forms from a shared grief for the loved one they both lost. While their relationship is forming, a new boy in the town appears, Joe Fountaine, a half French, musically-talented, goregous, and positive friend who helps Lennie almost forget about her sister's death. They start to form a relationship while Lennie and Toby's relationship forms at the same time.

Joe visits Len every morning and brings the same thing, chocolate croissants. He starts to become friends with Gram and Uncle Big during his constant visits. Sometimes, Toby is there at the same time which creates for an awkward situation that Len is prepared for. It's because during Bailey's life, Lennie was always buried in a book. Now that Bailey died, Lennie is getting boy attention that she was never used to. During Len's time with Joe, she wouldn't make any contact with Toby because they both believed that their relationship was unhealthy and wrong.

One day, Toby visited Len because he was feeling bad and wanted to someone to talk to. To comfort him, Lennie kisses Toby on the lips. She feels Toby stiffens up and when she looks up, she sees Joe was watching her. Len brings Joe some of Gram's luscious roses to get him back, but doesn't succeed. Gram finds out that Lennie cut her roses and becomes furious. When Gram sees Lennie, she tells Len that she has become selfish. This makes Lennie realize she has to change because very often her grandmother praises instead of criticizing. Now that she's criticizing, Len realized she had made a horrible mistake to anger her grandmother that much.

To make it even, Lennie apologizes to her grandmother and gives her Len's copy of Wuthering Heights, Lennie's favorite book. Len tells Gram to chop it up with a pair of gardening shears so they'll be emotionally even. Before this happens, Len apologizes to her uncontrolably while crying to her Grandmother. After, Len tells Gram, "He [Joe] hates me." Gram reassures that Joe doesn't hate her, in fact, Joe is in love. Finally, Len is determined to write a letter expressing her feelings for Joe and she decides to leave the letter where she know Joe will look. Joe goes back to where he found the letter while Lennie is there crying and thinking she'll never get Joe back. Joe tells her that he forgives her and they are happy to have each other back.

The book ends with Uncle Big getting married to a woman named Dorothy and Len decides to visit Bailey's grave. Bailey's grave was near the river so she could hear and smell the water. It also had a cabinet, therefore, they could give Bailey things and they would be close to her. She puts in Bailey's grave the letters Gram had written to their mother and throws away the "Lennie plant" into the river. The "Lennie plant" is a plant that Gram had believed depicted how Lennie was feeling. Lennie walks away from the grave and river with a big smile.

Major Themes[edit]

Some major themes in The Sky is Everywhere are music, nature, death, and love. Music appears by Lennie's love for her clarinet & band class and Joe Fountaine's love for his trumpet & guitar. Nature is exemplified by the "Lennie plant," the forest, and Gram's flower garden.[1] Death being used by the death of Bailey and the death of Gram's many flowers which are all very important to the story. Love shared by Gram, Uncle Big & Lennie, Lennie & Toby, and Lennie & Joe. Love keeps the story going on, although the love might be between different people each time, it still keeps the story going on.

Style[edit]

The style of The Sky is Everywhere interesting and unique. It's receives its uniqueness because the character Bailey dies while rehearsing Juliet in the play Romeo and Juliet, much like Juliet dies in the play.[2] Although it has some sort of foreshadowing there, it's also interesting how the author portrays the character Lennie's emotions. As member believeinmexoxo of TeenInk says, "she doesn't just write it [a poem/note] on a piece of paper and tuck it away for her own sake, she writes it on the bark of trees and on the inside of Bailey's closet."[3] Lennie's character isn't just like the "normal" teenage girl and write in a diary, she writes on whatever she can get her hands on. Whether that be a lollipop wrapper, a paper cup, a napkin, a tree, or on her recently deceased sister's closet, she'll write on it and leave it there. The tone of The Sky is Everywhere is described as "at times, skittish and witty" and that "there is an often poignant dissection of grief, of guilt, and their effect on the maturing young as they struggle to accommodate themselves. . ." as stated by Robert Dunbar.[4]

Background[edit]

Author Jandy Nelson's writing routine from day to day was that she'd, "write in the mornings, early, usually from 5 am to 9 am and then whenever I could throughout the day (sometimes on napkins in restaurants, scraps of paper in the car, like Lennie actually, except I keep all scribbles) and I'd write again at night, and all day weekends."[5] Nelson also says that sometimes she'd be writing so much, her writing would last for sixteen hours or more. She said she had a feeling of "urgency, of needing to get the story out."

Nelson's reasoning for writing this novel is because like the main character Lennie lost her older sister Bailey, which was a very important person to her. Nelson also lost someone very close to her, her mother. She wants the reader to be able to relate with those who had lost a very close loved one. Nelson also wanted to write a story where happiness and sorrow were quick to follow each other.[5]

All of the characters Nelson created, however, are not real. She said none of the characters she used were real people, the characters were just a "mish-mash of many people you know, including yourself." [5]

Publication History[edit]

The Sky is Everywhere is Jandy Nelson's first novel and it has been translated into thirteen languages including English, Spanish, and many others.[6]

Reception[edit]

The Sky is Everywhere received an extensive amount of positive reviews. Shauna Yusko of Booklist praised the book saying, "Readers will identify with her and root for her to finally make the first steps toward healing."[2] Likewise, News designer Judy Smith said that The Sky is Everywhere was, "written for a young adult audience, [but] will be enjoyed by anyone fascinated with the randomness of life."[7] Believeinmexoxo, member of TeenInk said, "this book is a dramatic masterpiece."[3] Vanessa Lewis, co-founder of a children's bookshop, said that The Sky is Everywhere had a gorgeous cover, was an "exploration of grief, love, and life," and was hard to put down.[8] Robert Johnson of VOYA readers said that, "The feelings associated with a sibling's death are expressed accurately, changing from sadness to incredulity to laughing and crying at the same time."[1] Karen Cruze said that The Sky is Everywhere will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Calleti.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "VOYA reviewers agree!". Voice of Youth Advocates 33 (3): 242. August 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Yusko, Shauna (January 2010). "The Sky is Everywhere". Booklist 106 (9-10): 70. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b May 2013 "The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson". 
  4. ^ Dunbar, Robert (2010). "Nelson, Jandy: The Sky is Everywhere". School Librarian 58 (2): 118. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Interview- Jandy Nelson [The Sky is Everywhere]". Persnickety Snark. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jandy Nelson". Wikipedia. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Smith, Judy (10 May 2010). "The Browser". Star Tribune. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Vanessa (June 2010). "Vanessa Lewis". The Bookseller (.5438): 11. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Cruze, Karen (June 2010). "The Sky is Everywhere". Booklist 106 (19-20): 116. Retrieved 17 May 2013.