Saturday, December 6, 2014

What we're reading: Jandy Nelson!

I love this author. She has written two books, and I want her to have written a dozen or 30, just so I can keep reading her.

The emotions are profound without being trite. The story is fresh even though you think you've heard it all before. The relationships are incandescent. The language is poetic, but not high-flown--it's visceral, colorful, precise. The humor is infectious, the love is first-time, the heartbreak is, well, heartbreaking.

To try to describe the books is to take all the color and life out of them, so it's hard to write something that will make people want to read them, but here goes:

The Sky Is Everywhere is about a 17-year-old girl named Lennie, who has spent her life mostly contentedly in the shadow of her beloved older sister, Bailey. But then Bailey unexpectedly dies, and Lennie is left grieving, along with her grandmother and uncle, and Bailey's boyfriend Toby. She meets Joe, the new guy at school, who catapults her into Wuthering Heights-style love...but she's also having a confusing new interaction with Toby, who seems to be the only one with her in her grief about Bailey.

Yes, it's a love triangle. Yes, I agree, I hate those. But I didn't hate this one. Yes, it's a book about losing someone to death. Yes, those can be overdramatic and schmaltzy, I know. But not this one.

Book blurbs on the cover say "for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block." While I am a big fan of all of those writers, and while I can see why someone might make that leap, I feel like Jandy Nelson is out there by herself. You could equally as well say, If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, because of the tragic death/love story, you'd like this; or, If you liked the French boyfriend in Anna and the French Kiss, then read The Sky Is Everywhere. While I think both of those statements are probably true, I feel like it takes away from this book to try to pigeonhole it.

So let me just say, Read this book!

(And then read her other book, I'll Give You the Sun. See review below.)

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