What I’m Reading (and a giveaway!): THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

Love and grief are companions through life, entwined as clearly as the sky is blue.

Summary from the inside jacket:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and 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 center 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, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon…but just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole world exploding.

Oh, this book. Where do I even begin?

I had a feeling, about three chapters in, that this book was going to become a favorite. And at that point, I wasn’t even hooked yet. I wasn’t tied to the characters. I wasn’t dying to know what would happen. I could just feel it. It was the words, the poetry hidden among each sentence. There were nearly a half dozen times in those first three chapters alone that I read a line so beautiful I wanted to tear it from the book, frame it on my wall, and quit writing altogether because never, ever would I write something so effortlessly flawless.

Lennie is grieving. Toby can fill the void of Lennie’s sister, help her handle the sorrow. Joe can take her away from it all. This is perhaps the most convincing love triangle I have ever read. And it’s not even a love triangle, really. There is just one girl, stuck in grief, feeling terrible at the fact that she can feel joy so soon after her sister’s passing, and in the wake of all that guilt she manages to make a giant mess and confusion of her feelings.

Grief was handled phenomenally in this novel. Friendship and family and first loves, too. I can barely even write a coherent review of this, which is probably proof that I have not let the effects of this story marinate long enough before sitting down to discuss them.

I can say only this: read this book. Even if you avoid books that are sad or deal with death, read this book. Because this book is uplifting, and hopeful and simply beautiful. I was seventeen again reading this book. I was Lennie even though I have never gone through anything even remotely close to her loss. I want to read this book again and I only just finished reading it. I want to read this book as clearly as the sky is everywhere, starting at my feet and spilling up, up, up into nothing but blue.

Jandy, if you read this, thank you so much for this incredible, amazing, moved-me-to-tears story.

And fellow blog readers, I loved this book so much, I want you to read it if you haven’t. So just leave a comment telling me when the sky is your favorite – is it at sunset? when it’s full of stars? when there’s not a cloud in sight? – and you could win a copy of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.

Contest is open until noon EST on Friday, June 3rd. US only (sorry, folks!). Random.org will pick one winner.

49 Responses
  1. I’ve been hearing amazing things about this book, and wanting to read it. Admittedly, I’m hesitant because I avoid death books. But I do love beautifully written novels, and I’d love to be entered into the contest (though, after this review, I am most definitely picking up a copy if I don’t win :)).

    The sky’s my favorite at sunset when the sun bleeds over the horizon, with just a hint of night approaching. It’s gorgeous.

    1. Erin

      Sunset is one of those things I always attempt to capture on camera and it never, EVER, lives up to the real thing.

      Thanks for entering, Emy. You will love this book and should read it (as you said) whether you win or not :)

  2. I aspire to write ONE sentence as beautiful and moving and glorious as I found the whole of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. LOVE it so much, and I’m thrilled to hear you did too!

    I don’t want to win a copy (I already own it) but I will say that I love the sky most when it is clear and warm and deeply blue. :)

    Erin, read JELLICOE ROAD soon. It is the one book I love as much as TSIE.

    1. Erin

      Oh, blue skies are so wonderful. They make you all warm and fuzzy inside.

      JELLICOE ROAD is also in my TBR pile. If it is anywhere near as good as TSIE, I’m bound to love it :)

  3. I don’t need to enter the contest because I have a copy, but I just had to say that I loved this book so much that the second I closed it I was compelled to write Jandy Nelson a gushing fangirl email. It’s just that kind of book!

    1. Erin

      Yes to the fangirling. I had the same reaction. This book was just so moving and I felt I was literally IN the story. Everything jumped off the page – characters, setting. Gosh. I want to live in this story!

  4. This book sounds amazing! I love any kind of sky. I live in prairie foothills where the sky is huge, and it’s like a canvas with a different piece of artwork on it every day and night. Stars are gorgeous. Sunsets are beautiful. Cloud-watching is delightful. Is that a cop out answer?

    1. Erin

      Not a cop out at all! There is so much to love about the sky, and I can imagine it puts on quite a show out in the prairie foothills where it is so massive!

  5. Alexis Salcido

    I love sunsets! They have to be my favorite. Haven’t read this yet, and would love to have a chance to! Thanks, Erin :)

  6. My favorite sky was when I was hiking through the high desert in New Mexico. We were in a shallow bowl so there was nothing on the horizon in any direction, and the sky was an almost uniform blueish gray (it was just after sunset) and it felt like we were in a little bubble–like the sky was so close you could walk over and touch it. It was a very strange feeling–but wonderfully strange.

  7. I’ve been dying to read this book. It’s sounds fantastic!

    I love the sky most when I can’t see it at all; when it’s covered with rain clouds rolling in over the hills and the green trees are bright against the gray.

    Thank you for doing this nice giveaway!

  8. I like the sky when it’s blue iwth big, whit pillows of clouds. I like the clouds to be moving because that means there’s a little breeze. Perfect!

  9. I love the sky just after sunset right before you could really call it dark, when the edge of the sky is orange-yellow, fading to blue, green and purple, then finally to black.

  10. This book has been on my to-read list for a while, but I haven’t bought it yet. I guess I want to be in the right mood to read something that everyone says is beautiful and sad. You know those times when you could go for a good cry?

    I most love the sky at dusk in the summer. Usually the orange and reds from sunset have dissipated and the sky is purple or very light cerulean, which has always been my favorite color in the crayon box. I love how everything is sort of dark–black trees against the lighter sky–but light enough to see the landscape from a distance. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of summer vacation as a kid, but I love that time of day.

  11. Sunrise on a summer morning. Night stars, but only if you’re in the country where the ozone is clear and you can see them all sprinkled against the deep blue velvet sky.

    I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, and you just made me want to read it NOW. Thanks :)

  12. This is such a hard question to answer! I love the sky at all times, however, if I had to pick one… hmm.

    I’ve always loved the way the sky looks about 20 minutes before it gets dark outside. It’s still light enough to see, yet the sky is just past sunset and it has this awesome light-meets-dark glow about it. Hard to describe, but it’s always been my favorite time of day!

  13. My favorite sky is when it’s that one time when the moon is supposed to eclipse the sun and the moon turns red in a dark sky that’s starting to lighten with the approaching dawn.

  14. Philip

    I love gray, cloudy skies in the winter against the barren trees. I can just stare out my window forever. It’s a good thing I live in the Midwest because I do love winter!

  15. I’ve heard such good things about this book, and it’s been my my to-read list for so long. I’m so excited that you’re having this giveaway.

    I love the sky most in mid-morning on a sunny day. The fog has burned off, and there’s the promise of brilliant sunshine to come.

  16. Laura

    i prefer sunset because of the colors the sky turn into, lovely and its not that hot and also cloudy it gives me something different from the clear skies im used to seeing

  17. It’s a toss-up between freezing winter nights when the stars look so close you can touch them, and the hot summer days where the sky seems to go on forever. =)

    Great review and great giveaway – thank you!

  18. I hadn’t even heard of this book until reading this post. Now I must read it.

    My favorite sky is during a summer thunderstorm at night. Mmmmm- the show made by the lightning is amazing, and the accompanying luscious cool breeze at the end of a hot day makes it a sensory delicacy.

  19. L.H. Dougherty

    Can I say a gray, cloudy, overcast sky is my favorite? Well, it is, so there. (-: Love it dark and stormy.

    Book sounds (and looks!) incredible.

  20. Tiff

    Oh I love so many skies! But I think my favorite has to be a sunset reflected off of Lake Erie – that may sound strange but the sunsets there are GORgeous and I can’t wait to watch some on the beach this summer! :)

  21. I used to work at a boy scout camp and after a full week of campers and stress, I looked forward SO much to Saturdays when even most of the staff was gone. An hour or so before sunset, I’d climb up to the top of the rappeling tower and stretch out on a blanket with my ipod and a book, and then I’d watch the sun set into the swim lake. It wasn’t just the sky that got painted in so many gorgeous ranges of color but also the water, all golds and pumpkins and lavenders and roses and sometimes- when the weather was really fine- brilliant scarlets, all streaked across this deep, dark water. It stretched across the lake and then this massive, glowing orange orb disappeared into the orange groves past the lake, and right at the fringes, where the lavender eased into indigo and midnight, you could see the stars against the color.
    I spent the whole week looking forward to Saturday nights.

  22. Essie

    I used to love the sky just as morning broke when I looked out the window after an all night writing session. It always seemed so sudden, it was dark and then suddenly light.

    After I got my first apartment, with a giant skylight and a porch that let you see for miles, I have to say my opinion changed. I love the middle of the night sky, when the moon just hangs and all you can see is tiny specks of starlight in every direction. I love it, I could just stare forever.

  23. Kathryn

    When I’m in northern Canada and the sky at night is so blue it’s almost black, but every single star in the sky is like its own sun, they twinkle so brightly.

  24. Beth G.

    I hadn’t heard of this book, though I know that it’s very hard to believe, and it looks wonderful!

    My favorite sky is just before dark, after a storm. Like tonight, when all the horrible storms missed hitting us. A bit of the sunset shone through black clouds and made my overgrown green leafy backyard look as if it’d been sprinkled with gold dust. Beautiful.

  25. Utah has the most beautiful blue skies I have ever seen. There is nothing I love more than standing on top of a mountain surrounded by aspen trees and looking up to see white puffy clouds, deep blue sky in contrast with the white bark of the aspen. Oh now I can hear the sound of leaves rustling in the wind.

    Wow, I am all calm right now – thanks for taking me to my happy place! ;)
    kjovus at gmail dot com

  26. I have two favorite sky scenes. One is on a clear day in Salzburg, Austria the blue was so bright it didn’t look real. Another was when I visited Dublin, after a mid-afternoon rain the clouds parted right behind a large church steeple and a halo of sun with silver lined clouds appeared behind the cross, it was so beautiful.

    I’d love to win a copy of The sky is Everywhere.

  27. Deserae McGlothen

    I love the sky when rain clouds are threatening it. It makes me feel closest to God to SEE how helpless I am to His power and might. It’s weird. I never knew that until I just typed it, now, but it’s true— I think my favorite moments in life are the ones where I feel small and I realize how lucky I am to even BE here. I love falling in love, and I fall in love with Him every time these moments come upon me.

    Not to mention the fact that rain is just freaking awesome. It begets change and growth and new beginnings and the washing away of stale days and old problems… I love the rain, so I think the sky is most beautiful when I can see it coming.

    The sky is everywhere,
    ~Deserae McGlothen

  28. Madison Garber

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time now, so I’m so excited to hear that you’re giving one away!

    Sunrise. I love that quiet moment just before the sun comes over the horizon when the sky is bathed in an eerie blue. Everything seems to hold its breath until the first dazzling rays of the sun start to leak warm colors into the cool morning. The stars slowly disappear in the brilliant light of the waking sun. I think that I’ve always loved sunrises not just for the beauty that it creates in the sky, but for what it symbolizes to me. Hope and new beginnings.

  29. Alexandria Theodosopoulos

    Wow you really made me want to read this book! My favorite time of the sky would have to be just before sunset when there’s just a little light left in the sky. It just seems to peaceful :) Thanks for the giveway!

  30. I’m commenting purely because of your comment about sentences so amazing you want to hang them on the wall…it must be very powerful writing by Jandy.

    What a great review!

  31. Alie

    My favorite sky is right before a thunderstorm. You can see the clouds rolling in and feel the air changing around you. Just before the rain starts, there is that moment of anticipation lingering in the air. You can feel the turmoil about to begin but you also feel the remaining moments of stillness before the storm. I love knowing chaos is about to break out but will not last long. It always makes me remember the turmoil in life might look severe but will only last an afternoon.

  32. Tati

    Ooooo, I’ve heard amazing things about this book. :)

    My favorite kind of sky is when it’s right on the edge of twilight, the stars just starting to become visible but the sunlight still lingering in the air. ^^

  33. I’m not a person who deals with death very well so I’ve always steered clear of these types of books. Then I read Gayle Forman’s books If I Stay and Where She Went. And man am I glad that I did. I’ve been talking about them so much that I’ve actually been told about this book a few times. Guess I will have to just pick it up soon :) Have a great day!

  34. Miranda Hannah

    There is something special about the sky upside down. I was stretching in a field before soccer practice. I looked through my legs and realized how big and endless it looked. There were no clouds, the sky was a brilliant blue, and the trees across the field seemed to be trying their best to reach up as far as they could, but they still came far short of the sky. I think that is the sky at its greatest to me. (:

  35. Meg

    The sky at about 8am is my favorite. When it’s a light blue with either no clouds or scattered big fluffy ones and everything’s edges are just softer. That’s my favorite sky.

  36. I love any sky, threatening or inviting. It reassures me the world is as it should be and that I am part of something bigger than myself.

    Hope to read this book soon.

    Thanks, Cindy

  37. Andrea U

    Definitely sunrise. Everything seems so peaceful at sunrise. It’s the start of a new day with endless possibilities. Also… I rarely see the sunrise since I’m not typically an early riser.

  38. Winter skies around 4:30; there’s something a little … haunting? dramatic?… to those late afternoon gray-pink skies.

  39. Erin

    Oh my goodness! Thank you all for sharing your favorite skies! Mother Nature really is a the greatest artist.

    Closing comments now. Winner to be drawn/announced soon!

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