Mundie Moms

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson / Audiobook Review

By: Jandy Nelson
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Published by: Speak
Released on: March 22, 2011
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
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Rating: 2.5 stars - I know, I know so many people loved it.

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; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.


This is one of those books that languished on my TBR despite very favorable reviews from my bookwormish friends. I honestly don't know why. I've been happily focusing on contemporaries all year. My audible credits (and their fantastic Black Friday sale) called to me, and I purchased it on audio. This seems to be my go-to way of clearing my old TBRs lately.

I started the story, immediately switching the audio speed to 1.25x. I don't know what it is about narrators (especially for contemporary stories), but my ears are too impatient, and I listening at this speed seems to be a more natural fit for me. I met Lennie, who was completely overcome with grief over her sister's sudden death. But, she didn't know it. Conveniently, while she's struggling with the very concept of grief, a new band dude shows up.  Joe, a.k.a. New Band Dude, has all the trappings of talent, beauty and apparently blinky eyelashes.

What begins and what the story focuses (in my opinion too much) on is her developing relationship between her sister's old boyfriend (not to be judgy, but EEEEEWWWWW), Toby, and this Shiny, New Band Dude. I WAS SO BORED. SO DESPERATELY BORED that I almost didn't finish it. I get the grief. I really do. I get that when we're grieving, we may do things that we normally wouldn't. This goes doubly for teenagers because they are already struggling with fitting in to their environment and social norms. Lennie is one bundle of confused hormones. The story plods on with very little tension (except will she sleep with her sister's boyfriend) until a complication from her sister's past is revealed. Honestly, that's what finally hooked me. Sadly, this is well into the story probably close to halfway (I wasn't keeping close track because I was having an internal debate about not finishing it).

The twist made me interested enough to plod on. In the end, I'm glad I finished it. The story takes a lovely turn, forcing Lennie and her grandmother to discover each other through their common sorrow. The story behind Lennie's mother's absence also caught my attention. The entire last fourth of the book was really well told. You just have to slog through a fairly typical story of will-she-won't-she and decide if you're Team Dead Sister's BF or Team Shiny New Band Dude. But, the end is lovely, real and I am glad I read it.

You don't have to search far for more favorable reviews, the always lovely instagrammer, Ursula Uriate wrote: "My heart broke and got glued back together more than once and each time a little bit of each one of them got permanently stuck to my life. I cant stop thinking of Lennie and Bails, and Joe’s eyelashes, Toby’s scratched up arms and Big’s tree picnics, Gram’s garden and Sarah’s animal kind of Tourette Syndrome."  Andrea from Reading Lark  said: "Jandy Nelson did such an amazing job of shining a light onto this family's grief and how it effected their ties to each other."

I'm looking forward to reading Jandy's I'll Give You the Sun because her characters did break out of their initial, predictable stereotypes and the plot, ultimately, turned out to be deeper than the first part of the book made it seem.