Friday, October 21, 2016

The Sky Is Everywhere-Jandy Nelson-Passionate, Powerful and Packed with Emotion

... Here's a repost...
Let me just make it very clear that Jandy Nelson is my favourite author. I just can't get enough of her books, even though she so tragically only has two: I'll Give You The Sun and The Sky Is Everywhere. Now if you follow my account on Instagram, which I'm sure you all do ;) (@teenagereadsxo) then you'll definitely have realised just how much I love I'll Give You The Sun due to all the posts! It's certainly the most featured book on the account. 

Almost everyone I know is aware of my great interest for reading and so often ask me what my favourite book is, and I know I've probably said something very similar to this in one of my blog posts before but mentioned another book, but I'll Give You The Sun is hands down my favourite. Well at least it is for now anyway. So as soon as I put the book down, I went onto Goodreads (such a lifesaver!) in order to find another Jandy Nelson novel. To my utmost delight I discovered The Sky Is Everywhere.

Like I'll Give You The Sun, The Sky Is Everywhere has a very earthly and romantic title which leaves the reader already floating in the clouds. On reading the first sentence of the novel, one knows that they are going to be swept off their feet as Nelson takes them on a journey through romance, sorrow, discoveries, adventures and the importance of family, especially the power of siblings. What makes the books so compelling is the way in which Nelson seems to embody the characters, very successfully and effectively expressing each action and emotion felt by them. When books have unique characters with unusual and interesting personalities, it is then when I am left immensely intrigued and the novel invades my thoughts.

The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet."

The two books have similar themes. They both focus on the loss of a family member, the strong bond between siblings and how the best things come one's way when they are least expecting it. In The Sky Is The Everywhere, the protagonist Lennon Walker, has just lost her older sister and is on the slow and dark road to recovery. Her sister isn't the only one who has left a gaping whole in the family; their restless mother had abandoned the family years before and the girls never knew who their fathers were. Lennie won't talk about her emotions with her eccentric grandmother or her helplessly romantic uncle, Big. She has bottled her feelings away and seems to only relax and let loose in the company of the boy her sister has left behind.  Lennie feels that by just being alive she is preserving her sister's soul. Yet as Lennie slowly starts to forget the sound of her sister's voice and as the image of her sister's face slowly blurs in her mind, she can't help but feel like she is truly slipping away from her.  Toby, her sister's boyfriend is also grieving and every time Lennie looks at him she feels like he contains the missing pieces to her sister's soul, driving their relationship in a dangerous direction.

"Grief is a house where no one can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one
where the doors
no longer let you in
or out” 

After taking a break from school, Lennie finally returns in time for the last week of the year, completely conscious of the pity that fills the corridors every time she walks down one. She hasn't touched the clarinet since her sister's sudden death, too frightened of the sweet sound that comes out when she puts her mouth to the instrument. She knows that she is wasting her talent but by feeling any sort of happiness or joy Lennie believes that she is betraying her sister. Whenever Lennie feels happy, guilt conquers the feeling, leaving her limp with melancholy once more. However, every time Lennie lays eyes on the new boy in school, the darkness that settles around her seems to clear. Joe Fontaine is going to save her from the tenacious grip of misery, she is certain of it.

"Music: what life, what living itself sounds like.” 

As the summer holidays begin Lennie has prepared herself for the lonely days that will follow. Yet when Joe appears on her doorstep one morning baring croissants and carrying his guitar, she knows that her summer will take on another path. Joe's knocks on the front door every morning begin to take on the role of an alarm and his presence brings light into the whole house. Slowly, the whole family seems to be falling in love with the boy. Lennie can feel it too. But her situation and desire for Toby's company confuses things, leaving guilt, remorse and regret to consume her. Her complicated relationship with Toby is a threat to her pure relationship with Joe.

“There once was a girl who found herself dead.
She peered over the ledge of heaven
and saw that back on earth
her sister missed her too much,
was way too sad,
so she crossed some paths
that would not have crossed,
took some moments in her hand
shook them up
and spilled them like dice
over the living world.
It worked.
The boy with the guitar collided
with her sister.
"There you go, Len," she whispered. "The rest is up to you.” 

The only time Lennie opens up her mind is when she has a pen in her hand. When a memory of a conversation or event she had shared with her sister itches at her brain, Lennie scribbles down the past on anything within her reach, be it a tree trunk, bench, wrapper or shoe. This way Lennie feels like she is slowly losing the heavy baggage that is weighing her down.

What made me like the book was the way Nelson opens the mind of the characters to the reader, making it all so realistic and even more sensational. However, I have to say that I'll Give You The Sun was a better read as I felt a stronger connection with the protagonists and the characters were much more strange and extraordinary. I could feel the electricity and passion between each character in that novel, whereas I could do so less in this one.


Kiki (ps. Sorry for the strange difference in font, I don't know why it's like this)

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