Lennon (a.k.a Lennie) the main character of Jandy Nelson’s ‘The Sky Is Everywhere” is many things. She’s a clarinet player, a radical poetry writer and a lover of Wuthering Heights. She’s also grieving the death of her sister Bailey. Although Lennie and Bailey have grown up without a Mother figure in their life, that was ok. Their mum was off on an adventure, and besides, they had their eccentric Gram, their charismatic Uncle Big… and most importantly, they had each other. That is until Bailey suddenly dies while rehearsing for the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. How can you begin to understand the loss of your sister, your best friend, your roommate and confidant?
Lennie is a broken person without her sister. She always thought she was the sidekick to her sisters superhero, and was complacent walking in her shadow. Her and Bailey faced the world together and now she feels like she has nothing. This is reflected in her poetry –
“grief is a house where no one can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one”
She finds comfort in Bailey’s boyfriend Toby because she feels like he’s the only one who could possibly understand what she’s going through.
This is until the vibrant Joe Fontaine shows up. He’s a multi-talented musician who has joined Lennie’s music group and has a smile that could light up the entirety of New York City. Joe is the rainbow on a rainy day. Now I must say that what Joe and Lennie have is the definition of insta-love, which was kind of confusing but Joe was just so cute, I couldn’t be that mad. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say they fall madly for each other. But Lennie’s emotions are also ridiculously skewed because of what she’s going through. I love Lennie and Joe’s relationship nonetheless. I’d love to hear the beautiful music they would make together.
Now, onto the topic of grief. Damn, I need to stop reading books about grief for a while because I think it’s making me depressed and causing me to have an existential crisis. Now, as a nurse, I deal with grief everyday. I see people take their last breaths, I see families torn apart by death. Hell, sometimes I cry for days on end in secret when my patient’s have died. But mostly, I’m a professional and I can’t let myself dwell on people’s deaths or I’d drive myself mad with the misery. But when I read books like this… it brings it all back and hits me like a truck. Why do you do this to yourself Aurora!?
I really liked this book, though admittedly it wasn’t as good as Jandy Nelson’s other book “I’ll Give You The Sun” which I conveniently never wrote a review for. But for now, it’s time for myself and books about grief to take a break. I give this book 4/5.