Soft candlelight, long walks on the beach, smooth jazz, dead sisters… Ah, the stuff of romance.
What's that? Dead sisters doesn't make you want to make-out? Well then you're probably not Lennie, the main character in The Sky is Everywhere. Because after her sister Bailey dies, in addition to a Mount Everest sized helping of grief, Lennie also finds herself swooning over pretty much every boy she sees.
Written by Jandy Nelson in 2010, The Sky is Everywhere isn't just about Lennie and her libido, though—it's about grappling with loss, too, and more than anything, it's about daring to become your own person. See, much as Lennie adores her dead sister, Bailey, she's also spent her entire life playing second fiddle to Bailey's star. And now that Bailey's out of the picture, well, Lennie has no choice but to take a long hard look at herself and figure out just who she really wants to be.
Steaming romance and major self-exploration aside, there's another thing that make this story about surviving a tragedy not-so-token: This story isn't told just in prose—it's also peppered with Lennie's poetry. The poetry packs an extra punch, helping readers feel the depths of Lennie's pain alongside her, as well as the boundlessness of her joy.
Think you know romance, grief, and self-exploration? You probably do. But you also probably haven't encountered them in the combination Nelson's thrown them into, so grab a copy of The Sky is Everywhere and get reading.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but if you live long enough, chances are really good that someone very close to you is going to die.
Sorry to go all truth bomb on you in your learning guide. But hear us out.
There's a reason why so many books, movies, and television shows feature grief: Death affects all of us. More than that, though, it makes us think about life's Big Questions: What does it all mean? What kind of higher power/world lets terrible things happen? How can we live a meaningful life? These are tough ones to answer, but on the flip side, grappling with them can give our lives a whole lot more purpose and meaning.
And now for some good news: You don't have to wait for someone you super love to die in order to think about this stuff. Instead, you can read The Sky is Everywhere and accompany Lennie on her journey through the land of Big Questions. As she makes her way, you can contemplate just what life is all about alongside her, no major personal loss required.
All Things Jandy
Here's the author's website. It's very colorful.
NPR Street Cred
The Sky is Everywhere made NPR's Best Teen Reads of 2010. Check it out.
Unfortunately for the world, Clover, California is not a real town. Here's a list of actual small towns and neighborhoods in and around San Francisco.
The Sky is Enormous
Or at least as big as a movie theater screen. With death and romance, this book just itches for an onscreen adaptation.
Nelson chats about her writing process.
Nelson talks about the book and the differences between agent-ing and writing fiction.
Broken Heart Trailer
The book's publishing house, Penguin, made a promotional trailer for The Sky is Everywhere. Do you think it fits the book?
Here's the UK book trailer for The Sky is Everywhere. That's quite a difference. Which one do you like better?
Here's the announcement about the upcoming movie. Check out how they describe Lennie.
Words on a Tree
The hardcover British edition of The Sky is Everywhere included photography of Lennie's poetry on various objects.
Quote Made Gorgeous
Typography of a quote from the book