1 June 2010

Review: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson ***** + GIVEAWAY (UK only)!

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two.
Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it.
But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding ...
That's the one word I would use to describe this book, but if I had to elaborate, I'd also say this book was BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, HEARTBREAKING, INCREDIBLE, EXQUISITE, OUTSTANDING etc. I'm sure you get the picture, but I just can't praise this book enough - it completely blew me out of the window. Just wow.

I've heard great things about this book, but I was still unprepared for how astounding it really was. The characters are quite kooky and I was wondering for a bit where the story was going at first, but the writing is just so magnificent that I'd follow the story absolutely anywhere - but luckily, the plot soon turned out to be fantastic too.

The story is narrated by Lennie Walker, a girl who's just suffered the devastating loss of her 19-year-old sister Bailey, who was also her best friend. The two girls were abandoned by their mother when they were still very little and so they lived with their Gram and Uncle Big. After Bailey's sudden heart failure, the whole household have problems coping with her death, including her boyfriend Toby, who seems to be the only one who understands Lennie's pain ... Then Lennie meets Joe and falls in love for the first time (even though Bailey's death is always at the back of her mind). Just as she thinks she couldn't be happier, their budding relationship ends in a single moment and Lennie's already complicated life gets even worse ...

Yes, love is one of the main subjects in this novel and music plays a very important role too, but another perhaps even more prominent topic is grief - one of the touchiest subjects out there, yet it's dealt with beautifully. Not just Lennie's, everyone else's grief is tangible too and it just broke my heart. It felt so real, so poignant - and I blame it all on Nelson's masterful writing. It really shows that the author is a poet at heart as reading this novel was like poetry in prose.
The language is beautiful and vivid and just WOW - honestly, whatever I say won't do it justice. I can easily say this is one of the books with the best writing ever - it's right up there with Wintergirls, Speak, We Need to Talk about Kevin, The Time Traveler's Wife etc. Those are the kind of books where reading every single page or every single sentence has me gasping and wowing just because the words there so beautifully put together. I love love love it when authors show me that they really can write, that they master the words and not just tell the story - it doesn't happen often, maybe once or twice per year, but I'm just so happy when it does!

On top of a bittersweet story and outstanding writing, the book also features a fantastic set of characters, who really jump of their page with the kick of the aforementioed writing and plot. I loved Lennie, Gram, Big, Joe, Toby, Sarah - they were each very unique and yet what they all had in common was heartbreak of one sort or another. Their pain devastated me as well and I felt as if I was right there, experiencing it with them.

The only thing I'm not ecstatic about regarding this book is the UK cover - I've seen many, many people describe it as beautiful, and while I certainly can't call it ugly or wrong, I still think it's a bit boring and just a tad too blue to my liking (I just don't like the colour as such). It fits the novel though so I suppose it's alright.

But nonetheless, this book is a work of art in many ways. Firstly, the words, the characters and the story were amazing, and secondly, this book features pictures of handwritten notes and poems about Bailey that Lennie wrote on pieces of paper, on takeaway cups, on shoes, trees etc. - it was quite a unique thing and I loved it. You could get a taste of it in the excerpt that I posted the other day and here's another example on the right (click to enlarge) - awesome, isn't it?

I also loved that they used blue font instead of the usual black - I may not be a fan of the colour blue generally, but I think it looks great with the font.

To sum up, this is definitely the best book I've read in 2010 so far and one of my new all-time favourites. All the praise in the world can't do it justice though - it's the type of a book you have to experience for yourself and I strongly recommend that you read it - you'll thank me later. ;)

overall rating:
plot: 5/5 | writing: 10/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 3/5

To celebrate the UK release of the book (it comes out on June 7th!), the lovely people at Walker Books have allowed me to host an awesome giveaway where one lucky winner will not only win a copy of this amazing book, but also an awesome T-shirt and some lovely post-its (see picture on the right).

To enter, all you have to do is fill out this form.

Please note that this giveaway is open to UK residents only and it ends on June 6th! Good luck!
If you don't win, you can always get a copy on Amazon, Book Depository etc. :)


You can chill with our source of life insurance & chopard watches. Out store contains different kinds of patek philippe watches & sector watches, all are shifted to upper luminox watches of the building.


Mollie said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I loved it as well!

Claire xx said...

Great review - will definately be adding this to my "to be read"!

Cassidy said...

Aww, too bad I don't live in UK. Sounds like a awesome book to read.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Your review is wonderful and I loved reading it! Thank you.

This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! I loved reading it. Too bad I'm not a UK resident, hehe.

Mizz Ali said...

sounds like a GREAT book! *sigh* wish there could be some more international contests!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

YAH a UK contest for the UK girls :)
(not an entry)

Kitchen Benchtops said...

The Sky Is Everywhere book is a powerful read that I highly recommend. I really can't express how much I loved this book.

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