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eleanorn

The Book Hammock (Eleanor)

I read a lot. I review 98% of what I read. I post my stuff on my blog. Oh... in between I try to live life.

The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson New books are added to my TBR list on a daily basis, as I’m sure the case with most of you guys. This is the #1 characteristic in a reading addict, imo. This means, of course, that many “must reads” are being pushed back. That was the case with The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandi Nelson. Needing a swift kick in the rear, I got a Goodreads invite from @jaimearkin (Fictionfare) and @carenl (The Fictionators) to a TSiE readalong, figured it’s the perfect chance to read it, and did.Oh boy, am I ever glad I did. It was sensational.Sometimes books just leave this long-lasting impact on a reader, and I’m pretty darn sure TSiE is one of those. Yes, you get the classic story with a tragedy sewn into the plot, the romance, the triangle, the conflict, the growing up, but while you get everything you expect from a young adult novel that’s wrapped around a tragedy, you get so much more. You get originality, lyrical expressions, innocence and so much aching sweetness.Lennon (Lennie) Walker lost her older sister, Bailey, when she died suddenly a month ago. The girls’ mother left when they were infants and they lived with their grandmother and uncle who raised them. Bailey’s death left Lennie in an emotional turmoil she can’t seem to shake or deal with. She feels like the only one to share her immense pain is Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend. She has always followed Bailey and lived in her shadow, letting her shine, but loving her the most. At times during the read I felt like she didn’t really realize that before Bailey’s death. It was most interesting and very emotional “watching” her recognize that.Upon her return to school, she finds out there’s a new student, Joe Fontaine. Joe hails from Paris with his brothers and parents, and is a happy-go-lucky walking and talking music. He’s absolutely freaking adorable, is what he is. Joe makes Lennie feel more than grief again. Of course he does it in a way that annoys the hell out of her in the beginning, but adorably annoying – as in make her family worship the ground I walk on and smile all the time, annoying.On the other hand there’s Toby who is also grief-stricken and feels so lost, it seems like Lennie is the only one he finds himself with. He shares his pain with Lennie and some secrets that have to do with Bailey, only to shake Lennie to her very core with the knowledge she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought.Wrapping them all is Gram (and Big, her uncle) in her special quirky personality. I loved Gram and her flowers. And the way Nelson incorporated the flowers into the story dealing with the struggles.I have to be honest, I was so confused with my own feelings for the first half of the story. Every emotion felt mixed up with the plot and I didn’t know who I want to root for: Toby, that swoony, heartbroken boyfriend of Lennie’s dead sister, or Joe, the über adorable new kid that’s so happy to love Lennie more and more with every new detail he finds out about her.The uniqueness of this story, to me anyway, is the poems and bits of conversation that are revealed throughout the book. I didn’t get their significance at first and enjoyed just getting glimpses into Bailey’s personality through them, but they have a punch. A beautiful, surprising and so special punch – that I’m sure every one of you will enjoy them, too. This is what I mean about originality.Then you have the beautiful lyrical writing. Some of the lines in this book felt like a sucker punch straight to the heart:Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away, it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.This is one of the lovely lines, but there are so many more of those, and I didn’t stop reading enough times to actually highlight them.The culmination of the story, when Lennie comes to terms with Bailey being gone forever, with finding her own voice, her own music and not follow behind anymore, and her old-new relationships with her friends and family, is very powerful and left me choked with tears.I’m fairly certain Jandy Nelson’s books, whenever more will come, just went in my “must be read immediately” list. I will also might go live with her since she lives in San Francisco, my favorite city. Ever.The review can also be found on my blog.