Sep 18, 2012

(YA) The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson + Recipe

          Today's feature is the contemporary YA novel, The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson. Jandy is a poet, novelist, and literary agent. The Sky is Everywhere is her first book and has won several awards. It's even in the process of being made into a movie starring Selena Gomez!
(From Goodreads)
          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.

         The Sky is Everywhere is very well written, and full of beautiful metaphors and imagery. It is first person with poignant poetry by Lennie, the main character, littered throughout. The main theme of grief from the death of a sibling seems thoroughly explored. The family dynamics are interesting and the characters are engaging. I felt that the story teeters, and perhaps tots off, on being too heavy with issues though; parental abandonment (from childhood), death (the book starts off with this), low self-esteem (preexisting), first love (during the book), sex (throughout with no consequences or weight).
          Also, I was disappointed in Lennie because I wanted her to be her own person, discovering who she is in light of the main tragedy of the story, independent of boys. One of the boy interactions is understandable and intriguing and moves the grief theme along but I think Lennie could have been developed a lot more as a character. She could have been a stronger female lead for girl readers to look up to in the end. But this is me speaking from my own experiences and grown-up perspective. I can see the ending as being very much desired by teen girls. It is an interesting mash-up of intense grief and intense romance (as most teen romances are--and that is not a poke, just a truth).
        The Sky is Everywhere is impressively written and can be a spring board for critical thinking and lively discussions.
 Food from The Sky is Everywhere:
          Lennie doesn't know much about her mother, but through an unsent letter she finds out that her mother used to make pesto with walnuts instead of pine nuts. Lennie's grandmother spruced up the recipe and substituted in pecans. The ingredients are listed in the book.
Pecan Pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 tsp salt
Blend the basil, pecans, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt together in a food processor until the mixture becomes a slightly chunky paste.

Or try this Four Herb Pecan Pesto recipe.

You can serve pesto in various ways--two ideas are with pita wedges or on pasta.
 Places to visit Jandy:
* Website
* Twitter
* Facebook
* The Sky is Everywhere website


So, what do you think, oh Lovely Reader?

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