The sudden loss of someone you are close with can take a tremendous toll on you, in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, we are taken through the journey of seventeen year old Lennie who has just lost her sister. I liked the realisticness of this book, while it is fiction it deals with a real problem so I believe there’s importance in reading something like this. I understand that the author chose to make the main character distance herself from most people more, as happens when real tragedies hit, but I do think he could’ve turned away from desperately looking for a relationship. But, I guess that’s what sells books.
The complex relationship Lennie develops with music is important to the story. I see it as a representation almost of her mental state. She’s happy and feels fulfilled before the death, working so hard for first chair and so on. It’s healthy competition, and also a release. But she completely throws it away out of grief. She is not herself and isn’t really trying to cope yet, until Joe tries to bring a little of herself back by inviting her to play. Of course Bailey’s ex Toby gets in the way of this a bit, but once Lennie is done playing games and done with letting grief fuel her decisions, she makes effort again for Joe. This effort is something she hasn’t had in a long time, the gain of motivation and want to play music again aid her in her recovery. If it weren’t for Joe and the bond music builds between people, both between two and between music and oneself, she would have had a longer road to recovery for sure.
I think the inclusion of a relationship, or just incidents, occurring between Toby and Lennie were unneeded. It was a little borderline inappropriate considering he is older, and was going to have a child with her sister. That is definitely an attention grabber though. The author used this to his advantage, using controversy to keep the reader interested and wanting to see what will happen next.
The subtle use of foreshadowing in her leaving her poetry around the town is also a cute detail in this story. It helps move the plot along by giving Joe a reason to forgive her, and having him gain a deeper understanding of her feelings and character development without direct dialogue between the two.
“It’s such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what’s lost, but to be enchanted by what was”(pg 275). The author as in most grief stories did choose to give Lennie closure when she finds her sister’s ring at he grave. I think that special moment was well written because it points out how much she is still suffering, but she at least understands the concept that she needs to put in a lot of work to be okay instead of throwing everything, like music and her clarinet, away. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone currently struggling with a loss to be honest, but it has a story line driven by multiple elements that make it an entertaining read with an actual purpose. The message is positive, and is good to reflect on.