Cover Illustrator : Sophie Heywood
Setting: 2010s, California
Rated : 8 Stars
Gran is worried about me. It's not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn't contacted me in sixteen years or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her houseplants has spots.
–Jandy Nelson - The Sky is Everywhere - c.2010,2015
Lennie is seventeen. Her mother went “exploring” when she was a baby, she lives with the Gran and her uncle Big, and until recently her older sister. But Bailey died suddenly, and now Lennie doesn’t have a sister any more. They were so close, they shared a room, they were always together, chatting sharing their lives with one another. But now Lennie is alone. Bailey left her and she doesn’t know how to live any more.
Another great book from Jandy Nelson. On the surface it covers the same themes as I’ll give you the sun, you know, death, family, secrets, love, teenagers. In this book it is a bereaved sister learning how to live rather than twins trying to figure out how to survive without their mother. Lennie has always looked up to her sister, she compares Bailey to a racehorse while seeing herself as the companion pony, and she is happy to be in Bailey’s shadow. But now that Bailey isn’t there anymore what is Lennie supposed to do?
And why is she suddenly thinking about sex all the time? Boys were never that important to her, suddenly they seem to be everywhere. Surely she should be grieving and not falling in love, or is it just lust?
I really enjoyed this book, Lennie is such a great character, her voice is wonderful. You really get a sense of who she is as a person. But also the mistakes she is making. I mean, she is only 17 and her only sister has just died, you can forgive her a lot. And I do. But the lack of awareness of all those around her. So true, not only of teenagers, but of people who have lost someone so close, often you forget that other people are missing them too, they were important to a whole heap of people not just you. How do you balance your own need to grieve with the need to live a full life of your own?
I also loved Gran, she was such a great character. A rock of support in many ways, but also a woman with a past of her own. A woman who has lost, in some ways, her only daughter and has now lost a grand-daughter. How is she supposed to stay strong for Lennie?
And at the same time as all of this Lennie is also dealing with the whole issue of growing up, of meeting boys, of sex and relationships and intimacy. Its such an emotional time, and for that to be compounded by grief, well, is it any wonder that Lennie is having problems?
Other reviews : The Book Smugglers