Author: Jandy Nelson
Publish Date: 9 March 2010
Genre: Realism, romance
Audience: Young adult
I picked up ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ because it was listed on the summer Zoella book club, and I had heard numerous good things about this book and author in general. I’m not going to lie, I was expecting to be disappointed because the blurb sounded like a fairly typical young adult novel, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated.
The story follows Lennie, a teenage girl dealing with the death of her sister, the mystery of her missing mother, and her feelings for the new boy in town Joe. Despite the somewhat cliché premise, most of the plot happenings were realistic and accurately reflected the feelings of the average teenager; the dialogue was authentic, as were Lennie’s relationships and interactions with her family members and friend Sarah. Nailing realism is something which recent YA seems to be heavily lacking in, so it was refreshing to read a novel which was a convincing portrayal, and yet still had a cheesy side to it reflected through Lennie and Joe’s relationship. In particular, the guilt Lennie feels about indulging in love whilst her sister is so recently deceased is an interesting but genuine aspect of dealing with grief which I felt was handled beautifully.
Therefore, there are lots of different components to ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ in the form of the main themes love, loss and mystery. Each one stood out individually at different moments in the novel, but they were all subtlety intertwined to form the bigger picture. In addition, all story points were satisfyingly wrapped up at the end, again in their own independent ways; whilst the loss and the mystery were left in open but raw and realistic states, the love was gloriously cheesy, providing a content contrast to the other goings-on.
Nelson’s writing style is something which really carried this novel forward, turning a story which has considerably little development into an addictive page-turner. In addition to the stunning metaphors which featured throughout, there were often interjections of your typical teenage slang – this contrast in speech is something which resonates with me completely! Each character was fully fleshed out with their own backgrounds, and I felt suitably connected to every single one. The chapter breaks of Lennie’s poems were also outstanding, adding a whole new depth of emotion to the novel, even if their meaning did culminate in a rather cheesy ending!
I did feel that the ending was fairly predictable and completely cliché of romantic young adult novels, as was the whole scenario featuring Lennie and Joe – especially the rapid pace at which their relationship progressed. However, as stated before, it did provide a contrast to the harsh reality of the other plot lines which was much needed! My main reason for not awarding ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ five stars was because it did not feel like a story which will stay for me for a while; perhaps this was due to the slow plot development.
In summary, I was thoroughly addicted to ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ due to its intriguing themes, connectable characters, and beautiful writing. Whilst there were some prominent predictable and cliché moments, it did prove to be a real page turner and I would highly recommend this novel for anybody looking for some heart-warming YA.