Attention: Do not read any further unless you have the embarrassing trait, like myself, of loving those cringy, cheesy, love filled, sappy YA romance books. The Sky is Everywhere made me feel some things – it has been a minute since I read something that made me feel bitter about being single and not head over heels in love with someone. It was depressing as crap, don’t get me wrong but the gross little teenage love parts were adorable and I read through the disgusting romance sap in two days.
The main character, Lennie, has not just a mother who walked out on her when she was young, but most recently, a dead sister. The book starts out by ripping the readers heart out, Lennie’s sister, Bailey, had heart failure while practicing for her part in the school play as Juliet. Lennie and Bailey are opposites; Bailey has always been the outgoing and carefree one, with the handsome and doting boyfriend, and end goal of going to Julliard. Lennie has always been so overwhelmed by her sisters light and talent, that she has purposefully dulled herself in order to let Bailey shine more. She quit her own clarinet lessons the second her music teacher so much as mentioned the word Julliard, because no way could she take away her sister’s dream or have one measly dream of her own.
With Bailey’s death comes Lennie’s downfall. I don’t know if the author tried to make Lennie the most dislikable character ever on purpose, but she sure succeeded if that’s what she was going for. Lennie is awful. My favorite line happens after she’s hanging out with her best friend, Sarah, after ignoring the girl’s existence for a solid month after her sister’s death. She literally says “…[I hear] a familiar voice, and I remember that Sarah exists.” Hahaha, I’m sorry but what? That’s literally her best friend. Throughout the book, Lennie clearly shows no respect for her friendship.
Not only this, but Lennie and Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend who Lennie discovers was not only Bailey’s fiance but her baby daddy too, hook up MULTIPLE times after Bailey’s death, all the while claiming it’s to help them continue to love Bailey. No offence, but um, bullshit. You don’t hook up with your sister’s fiance, a month after her death, just to feel closer to her. Maybe that’s just coming from someone who has never lost someone like this, but I just don’t see it happening. Also, Lennie is doing this while proclaiming to be madly in love with Joe Fontaine, a Paris boy who just moved to the area and is somehow hopelessly in love with Lennie, for reasons unknown to me. He comes and hangs out with her crazy family in the morning, bringing her croissants and bonding with her uncle, writes her songs to duet with her, and most importantly, tells her the last girl he gave his all to cheated on him with his roommate. And then Lennie goes and kisses Toby eventually leading to Joe walking in on them. This kid falls apart at the seams and the rest of the book is basically Lennie doing incredibly dumb things to make him forgive her, like chop off roses out of her Gram’s literal renowned garden, or writing him poems with the nice feminist line of “I belong to you.” …What? Are we in 1832? While she admits this poem was the worst idea in existence, he ends up forgiving her and the two fall hopelessly back in love again, the end.
This book might have been one of the cringiest books I have ever read, but I still definitely read through the whole entire thing, as well as oohed and aahed at all the cute, romantic stuff that Joe does for Lennie – she drops notes in random, public places talking about her private life and Joe picks every one he finds up and presents them in a box to her at the end like, I’m sorry to be that bitch, but that’s the cutest shit I have ever heard, and only slightly stalkerish. All in all, I will definitely keep this book and read it again when I’m in the mood to be depressed and bitter in love and and keep hoping I’ll find my own Joe Fontaine. Maybe I’ll drop some of my own letters in the woods, so keep an eye out.