The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

What is life without Bailey? That's the question that Lennie keeps asking herself. Now that her sister is dead, how can life keep going?

A freak heart problem caused her sister to drop dead at 18, leaving Lennie, Gram, and Big (Lennie's uncle) all alone. Also in the "left behind" category is Toby, Bailey's boyfriend. He spends a good amount of time over at the house, and it seems like he's the only one that understands what Lennie is going through. Her best friend Sarah doesn't get it, none of the kids as school know what to say, and she doesn't want to talk about it anyway.

One of the ways she deals with it, is by writing poems to Bailey on any scrap she can find: used coffee cups, backs of receipts, the bottom of her shoe, branches of trees...peppered throughout the text are excerpts of her poetry; remembered conversations with her sister, observations on her thoughts, or questions she'll never get to ask again.

Lennie refuses to pack up any of Bailey's things. As they shared a bedroom, she likes being surrounded by the feel of her sister, the smell of her clothes, her perfume, her clutter...she even refuses to do the laundry. In an attempt to bring her out of her shell, Gram invites Toby over. The two of them collide in their grief...their proximity enough to resurrect Bailey for a few minutes, and at the time it feels so right...but afterwards, she can't believe her own actions.

Finally back at school, all the buzz is about the new boy, Joe Fontaine - hottie horn player, and general musical genius - definitely swoon worthy. Sarah is all over Lennie to hang out, to talk, to gush about boys, and Lennie just can't handle it. She starts eating lunch in a tree outside the school, only to be found by none other than Mr. Fontaine himself, who asks her to play a duet! Lennie turns him down, retreats to The Sanctum (her room), and tries to find Bailey in the emptiness.

Her grief is overwhelming, and it seems she may never find a way out. When school lets out for the summer, she begins her routine of jobs, but continues to hide out at home. Every morning, Joe comes by and joins Gram, Big, and Lennie for breakfast...something that wins over them all, and even entices her to play with him: he on guitar, she on clarinet. A budding romance is definitely blossoming...but is she allowed to be be happy in a world without Bailey? And can she stop herself from self-destructing?

So powerful and touching, with elements of whimsy and heart-wrenching truth that anyone who has dealt with loss will understand. Who knew there were love stories that even overcome heart-break?
"When I'm with him,
there is someone with me
in my house of grief,
someone who knows
its architecture as I do,
who can walk with me,
from room to sorrowful room,
making the whole rambling structure
of wind and emptiness
not quite as scary, as lonely
as it was before," (Nelson pg. 80, 2010).
*Library Link*
If you liked this, check out:
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Nelson, Jandy. (2010). The Sky is Everywhere. New York, NY: Dial Books.


  1. WOW! Simply incredible, that's how I see it after I read your review on this book. I've meant to pick this one up for awhile now but was a bit hesitant because of its size (LOL, I've this awful habit that I rarely buy books that's less than 300 pages!). I guess I've to make an exception for this one!

    1. I really loved this book. I highly recommend it, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I fear I suffer from the same issue: short books are over too soon :)