Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Sky is Everywhere: Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere: Jandy Nelson

Rating: 5/10. 2 Stars
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance
Publication Date:
March 9, 2010
Publisher: Dial
Page Count: 288
Hardcover Library Book
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

*I'm sorry this is going up today, because it was supposed to go u yesterday, but I had a major headache, so I didn't want to use my computer*

My Background: The first thing I want to say is that these are just my feelings, and this may be a great book for some people, but my feelings...well...just keep reading. I know not everyone will like a book, and that's perfectly fine, this time it is me. Sidenote: Emma @ Spun With Words is going to kill me because she loved this book, she has a fabulous blog by the way. If there were ever a book I had mixed feelings about, and if there were ever a book I changed my opinion of, it's this one. This review, although the format makes it a "Literacy Lover", with its 13 categories, it is more like a "Language of Love" review, although it is not necessarily love I'm giving it.

Plot 6/10:  I personally think that the idea of the plot was good, and could have made "The Sky is Everywhere" really enjoyable for me. The beginning of the story stars out with us, as the readers, knowing that Lennon or "Lennie" has just suffered the loss of her older sister Bailey, and because of that, she is now a somewhat sex-crazed teenager whose Grandmother thinks she's doing poorly because the "Lennie Plant" is getting white spots on it. Lennie ends up torn between Bailey's former boyfriend and fiance Toby Shaw, and the new French guy at school with glorious eyelashes (inside joke), and a talent for almost every musical instrument on the planet. 
The quote in the blurb, "one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it" basically sums up everything having to do with the story, period. 
The entire book, the entire story, the entire plot revolves around Lennie being torn between the two guys, and her feelings about them. 

I have already said it before that I'm pretty new and unaccustomed to pure contemporary romance. I usually read dystopia, historical fiction, fantasy, teen issues, you name a genre that has a solid plot, and some romance on the side. Having romance be the main course of a book make me somewhat frustrated, although this may the exact kind of "chick flick" book some people love. For example in "The Sky is Everywhere" Lennie's biggest problem is which guy to choose, in "The Hunger Games" Katnisses biggest problem is surviving a game she has a less than 5% chance of winning, and she has to pretend to be in love with someone to survive.

Characters 4/10: Lennon annoyed me a lot, mainly because of how weak she was. I know her sister died, and her mom was off in la-la-land that could have been a drug den, or the Colosseum in Rome. Plenty of characters have deep losses, some more even painful than death, and still they went on with their lives. In my mind, Lennie made the wrong choices, decisions, and had the wrong reactions to her sister's death. I know I probably wouldn't have reacted much better, but I'm used to characters in books behaving valiantly, and courageous to anything the world throws at them, and when they do break down, it's beautiful. I suppose actually that's what makes Lennie good, her old, poet soul, that she's raw and real. Still, Lennon pushed her friends away, ignored the feelings of her grandmother, and cheated on a guy that would have gone to the moon and back just to make her smile (cliche, I know, but the term goes right along with the plot). The last thing about her that really was the defining factor of my disliking her, and if this hadn't been a part of the book, I would have liked it better is that she was the companion pony. Without Bailey, Lennon didn't know who she was. She was a dependent on her, and thought she was plain Jane compared to colorful Bailey. The whole reason why my mom doesn't like Twilight is because she thinks that Bella lost all self-preservation, and strength by submitting herself to Edward. I feel that that is the situation Lennie goes through with Bailey, except it's been for her entire life, and she doesn't know any better. Lennon Walker was the little companion pony compared to the sleek racehorse known as Bailey Walker, and she didn't know how to stand on her own as an individual.

Although I am complaining a lot about Lennie, she does have some good qualities. She goes through a period of self-discovery, and molding herself into a person she would have become a long time ago if Bailey hadn't been around. The "Lennie Plant" wouldn't revive itself like it had so many times before, and her explanation of it actually made me smile. She said that it was because her old-self died, and with that made the plant die. Another huge part of her was that Lennie kept writing bits of writing and poetry on things as random as candy wrappers to Styrofoam cups that she found on the ground. 

The last thing about the characters in this book that agonized me was Joe Fontaine because he would not stop the perfect guy that never did anything wrong.  

Romance 7/10: I almost feel like I should have combined 'Romance' and 'Plot' because the plot was so fueled by romance. If the romance factor would have been taken away, the book would be about a girl getting over the death of her sister, and played the clarinet. This wouldn't have been a problem if the love triangle was unique. Instead it was 95% cliche plot line. There was the bad boy, darker sort of figure. Then the perfect golden boy without a care in the world, or a sliver of fault in his character. *Mini-spoiler alert* Of course Golden-Boy caught Lennie in the middle of a moment with Bad boy, yada yada yada, spends the rest of the book trying to get him back because they are soul mates and will never find another human being on the entire planet that will be the same.

Cover 2/10: In my "Love it, or Hate it" challenge for the "Last Minute Readathon" I already discussed my feelings so I am just copying and pasting. So my feelings about the version I was reading off of are in the 'Hate it' but I did love the other if that counts for anything.

Love it: I personally think this paints a perfect picture for the story. The sleeping figure of a girl on the wooden porch slats, with ivy streaming down from the ceiling. It sounds like a total cliche love story, but that was what I think fit the story, and in my mind it's visually beautiful. The girl could be sleeping, or crying, or even be dead, and all three of those would have fit the story. 

Hate it: A huge red heart in the middle of an ombre blue sky. How original *sarcastic expression and hand on hip*  I sort of understand the symbolism, how it is essentially a love story, then the sky because of the whole "The Sky is Everywhere" thing, but I think the designers could have been more original. I know that's just the certain cover, but I still think it could have been a lot better. 

Title: There actually is a quote about the sky being everywhere which is where the title cane from, and although I don't really understand it, it was a pretty good title for the sappy romance novel it is.
"The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet."
Writing Style 8/10: Even though I loved Lennie's voice, even if I didn't love what that voice was saying. There was some almost indescribable way that it flowed, and the word choice she used that I actually enjoyed. 

Feels 8/10: I did not like the feelings "The Sky is Everywhere" gave me, but it did give me feels, no matter what they were. I felt annoyed throughout most of the book, and agony when Golden Boy caught Lennie with Bad Boy because I was just starting to like her and Joe as a couple, but it was ruined (oops!). Everything else is explained in my thoughts about the romance, thoughts, and characters, but the reason "Feels" has such a high rating is because it did give me so many feelings, just not the "Oh my god, my life is over" ones.

Ending 5/10: The ending was just so aggravating, annoying, and agonizingly cliche and expected, but it was a happy one if that counts.

Quotes 8/10: There were actually some pretty good quotes in this book, mostly from Lennie's poetry, and the way her love (however cliche) was for Joe that makes you feel how every girl should.

Conclusion: This book certainly wasn't for me, but it would definitely be for any die-hard romance fans, so that is the target genre and type of people I would recommend the book to. 

This if my first controversial, negative review, and I hope I did it well enough for my first time.

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