Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Lit Spotlight: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson-- a rave

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Somehow this book has been all over our blog this year, but it was without a proper review. This is a total mistake because it is a favorite not only among the librarians here, but among the girls who went to the BFYA panel as well.

The blurb on the back of the book tells us that Jandy Nelson is both a "published poet and a devout romantic," both of these qualities are key to what makes "The Sky is Everywhere" so special. The author seemed to choose each word carefully and put them together in a way that keeps the story flowing.

Lennie's sister shone; she was an actress who people just wanted to be around all the time. Now that Bailey is gone everyone is at a loss and no one is more lost than Lennie. She doesn't know how to do any of her normal things without having her sister there as a point of reference, her whole world seems off its balance. But the world is still spinning and Lennie just can't figure out how that could be possible. Her grief is so real you, the reader, feel it seeping in through your fingers.

One of the thing that sets this book apart is that Lennie doesn't magically heal or work everything out. Instead she has to go back to school and deal with her friends and her sister's friends and her family and everyone else, all while being in the middle of  her incredible storm of grief. But, still, this is not a depressing book. Her family and friends are there pulling for Lennie and so this is a book with a LOT of love.  Lennie also finds that two boys are pulling for her. One is Bailey's boyfriend, who knows exactly what she's going through because he is also drowning in sadness. The other is a new boy in town who seems determined to make Lennie play her clarinet again, even though that is really the last thing on her mind.

If you like Sarah Dessen or last year's Nina LaCour's Hold Still, or really are just in the mood for a great great book, you'll want to find out more about Lennie Walker by reading The Sky is Everywhere. One of my favorite pieces of feedback on this book came from one of our BFYA teens. She said that the book rang true for her because Lennie has to figure out that sometimes "The most important part of your life is you."  

Here's the trailer from the publishers:

Listen to Jandy Nelson read an excerpt on KQED's "Writer's Block":

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