The Sky Is Everywhere

 
Mature read has teen finding her way after her sister dies.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

There's a good message in this book about taking control of your own life. At the end, Lennie has to decide what she really wants -- and this means taking her music seriously again, and revealing her most vulnerable feelings to Joe.

Positive role models

Readers may be inspired by the characters' attempts to move ahead, even after a big loss. They are both emotional and honest with one another. Even better,  they forgive their weaknesses as well. 

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Lennie hooks up several times with her dead sister's fiance -- he even puts his hands under her shirt and down her pants. Later, she and Joe kiss on a bed, and talk about having sex. She confesses that she is a virgin, but he is not.

Language

Pretty adult language throughout, but the characters don't swear at each other or in anger.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lennie's uncle smokes marijuana and Lennie and Joe get drunk on a bottle of expensive wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a pretty mature book: Not only are the characters coping with the loss of someone they love, but there is plenty of sexy material as well. Lennie hooks up several times with her dead sister's fiance -- he even puts his hands under her shirt and down her pants. Later, she and Joe kiss on a bed, and talk about having sex. She confesses that she is a virgin, but he is not. The language can be rough, and there is pot smoking and teen drinking. There is a good message in this book about taking control of your own life. At the end, Lennie has to decide what she really wants -- and this means taking her music seriously again, and revealing her most vulnerable feelings to Joe.

What's the story?

Lennie is extremely close to her older sister, so after Bailey dies, she is a "shell-less turtle... demented and devastated in equal measure, an unfreakingbelievable mess of a girl." She misses Bailey terribly, but living without a shell -- and out of her sister's shadow -- opens up new possibilities for her, too. She even begins a complicated romance with a new boy at school, a talented musician who is hiding pain of his own.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There are probably too many wacky characters and twists in this plot, but Lennie's authentic voice keeps the story grounded. As she struggles both with losing her sister and falling in love for the first time, her narration remains honest and poetic: "I've always been into the Big bang theory of passion, but as something theoretical... something  that I might secretly want bad but can't imagine ever happening to me".

She doesn't always head down the right path (after her sister dies, for example, she hooks up with her grief-stricken boyfriend several times, then doesn't come clean to her new love); even then readers will understand her motivations and find it easy to root for her. The little poems and stories she writes and secretly scatters around her town not only fill in some of the narrative, but they give readers a peek into her sensitive soul.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about books and movies about loss. Can you think of other media that deal with getting over a loved-one's death? Do you think it's helpful for someone who has been through a death to read a book like this? Do books and movies ever realistically portray the emotions that you go through when someone you love dies? 

  • Families can talk also talk about wacky families. Lennie's grandmother paints green women with no faces, her uncle is constantly getting married and divorced, and Lennie and her sister used to lay down in the middle of the road and read. Can you think of other books about eccentric families? What is it that we find appealing about this kind of family? Do you know any other families like this? How do these kind of families make you feel about your own?

Book details

Author:Jandy Nelson
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:March 9, 2010
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Read aloud:14
Read alone:14

This review of The Sky Is Everywhere was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byRomancefanatic28 August 19, 2010
age 12+
 

Read it as a tween and wished I had read it later

I love this book, it has changed how i think of things and a lot of my perspective on life. Ever since I read it, I have taken seriously some things that I hadn't before, and Baily had been my kind-of literary role model, next to don quixote, etc.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bykasi71712 July 20, 2012
age 15+
 

Good Read...

I would recommend this book to be for a more mature audience due to the fact that there is some sexy material, like when Toby and Lennie hook up and when her and Joe are on the bed kissing and talking about sex. The language has some cussing but it's not every 5 sentences. There is mention about drugs with her friend Sarah
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bycommonsense13 March 3, 2015
age 13+
 

Raw Story of Loss and Life

Great story--definitely worth your time if you're either 13+ or a mature reader. The characters aren't bad examples, they just like to live on the edge (: It mentions smoking, but it's the main character's uncle who's much older.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass