Sunday, January 16, 2011

No Matter Where I Look, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE

We all have that list of books that we want to read, if we ever find the time.  Most call it, the TBR list/pile (To Be Read).  I do have that pile at home...well, it's really more of a mountain...okay, if I'm being completely honest, it's a whole mountain range.  Not the Rockies, or the Andes.  Think Himalayan.  Yes, that is my TBR pile. 

But, I have another, albeit, smaller pile.  I call this The Grudgingly Added to My TBR Pile list.  It is comprised mainly of books that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE just won't shut up about.  Examples: HUNGER GAMES, THE PASSAGE, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, IF I STAY, PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and well, anything by John Green.  These are books that I only added to my list after bowing to tremendous peer pressure.  **Warning, kids! Don't be a push-over like me! JUST SAY NO...well, to drugs and casual--unprotected--sex and well, BAD stuff.  Not books...NEVER books!  What are you thinking?!?**

Okay. So, all those books, I have to admit that I did love immensely.  And, if I hadn't been bullied into reading them, I would still be in the dark as to their sheer awesomesauciness.  Now, I have read another from my TGAtmTBRP list. 

On the surface, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson looks to be your typical tale of teen tragedy.  But, this is so much more than a portrait of grief, folks.  It's an exploration of roiling emotions, family dynamics, and love and loss.  It's a heartbreaking tale of remembrance of a fallen sister and the journey everyone takes in overcoming grief.  It's about love and all its many assets and flaws.

Summary:
Lennie's older sister, Bailey, was her best friend, the one she looked up.  The one she wanted to be like.  But now, Bailey is gone, victim of an undiagnosed heart defect.  Everyone is shattered.  Lennie retreats into herself.  Gram and Uncle Big don't know how to help her out of the despair she's mired herself in.  And Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, is the only one who Lennie feels a connection to anymore.  They are two halves of the same broken heart, a heart that wants nothing more than for Bailey to be back in all their lives. They find comfort in each other's company and soon that solace takes on a physical form that only adds to Lennie's guilt and heartbreak.

Enter Joe Fontaine, new kid and musical savant.  The two are instantly drawn to one another.  For Joe, Lennie is survivor who has seen more tragedy that he can comprehend, and he wants nothing more than to make her whole again.  For Lennie, Joe is the one person who will never see her as "Bailey's kid sister"...a sad fact that she simultaneously likes and loathes.

But even as her feelings toward Joe bloom like one of her grandmother's prized roses, Lennie still can't help but be drawn to Toby, her partner in grief.  A grief that she still is not ready to let go of yet.

Sprinkled through with poems Lennie writes on scraps of paper, to-go cups, tree branches, bathroom walls, and anything else she can find, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE not only tells the story of one girl's journey through grief, it's a study in the human condition and how even the smallest decision we make not only affects the course of our own lives, but that of others as well.  An achingly beautiful, poetic, tragic, and overall hopeful read.