Lennie Walker’s a junior and she’s used to doing everything with her older, and much cooler sister. But that all changes when she dies suddenly, leaving Lennie to learn to live without her.
Bailey isn’t the only person that Lennie has ever lost. She doesn’t know who her father is, since her mother abandoned her and Bailey when they were little, leaving them in the care of their Gram.
Filled with heart-breaking poems that Lennie writes everywhere, The Sky is Everywhere explores the journey that Lennie goes on to try and figure out who she is, as she struggles between loving Toby, her sister’s fiancé, who is just as broken hearted as she, or Joe, the new kid in town who helps her feel alive again.
The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful, heart-breaking, and superbly written story. Nelson’s writing is so evocative that simple phrases made my heartstrings tug as I imagined the loss that Lennie was experiencing. There were humorous bits and poignant bits, which kept my attention engaged and made me want to give Lennie a big hug.
The flavour of loss in the book was spot-on. I’ve never experienced loss like Lennie’s before (thank God), but Nelson’s writing pulled me into the story so that I could and hear and feel what Lennie was feeling, as she struggled to figure out who she was, in the absence of the one person who she defined herself against. Bailey is described as being the bolder, louder, charismatic sister, while Lennie is the quieter and shyer one. The growing-up process that Lennie goes through, amidst desire, heartbreak and grief, is a profound journey, and I really enjoyed going on it with her.
The characters are all well-rounded and extremely loveable; I especially enjoyed reading about Lennie’s Gram, a force unto herself, and her uncle Big. Each and every character had depth to their character, and there were no flat characters. The setting of Clover, California is a character unto itself, and I swear I felt like I was sitting on Lennie’s war, sun-dappled porch as I read her story.
My absolute favourite part of the story. though, has to be the poems that prefaced each chapters, and sometimes closed certain chapters. They’re things that Lennie writes everywhere: on fences, on the bottom of her shoe, on receipts, on tree branches, in restaurant bathrooms, and everywhere else. They were poignant and sometimes even made my eyes water as I read about Lennie’s relationship between Bailey, and her attempts to move on with life. The writing, obviously, just took my breath away, and it makes sense that Nelson started it as long verse poem.
The only thing that slightly bugged me was Lennie’s obsession with kissing and boys the second her sister dies. It was just a bit weird, how lust was suddenly switched on inside of her after Bailey’s death, so I just had a bit of trouble understanding the more sensual scenes.
But other than that, I couldn’t stop reading this, and know that I’ll probably reread sometime soon.
So for that: 4.5/5.
Thanks for reading,