Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Hungry: The Color Of Extraordinary

This month's Book Hungry read was The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I was late to the read this month.  In fact I only just finished it yesterday.  I still hope to have a meaningful discussion with my book club pals, but after I finished reading it I had to take some time and really think about this book and how it left me feeling.  Incredibly sad.

Normally for me it's pretty cut and dried.  I either like a book or I don't.  That didn't happen with this one.  After I finished it yesterday I dashed off a quick note to my book club sister's that I needed to sit on this one overnight, because I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it.

The Sky is Everywhere is the story of Lennie and told in her perspective.  Her sister Baily has just died unexpectedly from a heart arrhythmia, and this sudden and powerful shift in Lennie's life forces her front and center.  For a girl who has always played second chair, in the band and in her own life, she suddenly finds herself dealing with some pretty heavy stuff including an attraction to her dead sister's boyfriend that left me scratching my head.  Plus there is a new boy in town who never knew Bailey and gives Lennie reason to smile after the tragedy. 

Lennie's world is full of a supporting cast that had me smiling and facing some sorrow myself.  Her Uncle Big was quite charming.  Joe, the new boy, had a lyrical soul and seemed to be walking sunshine (we should all know someone like this).  But it was her Gram that came through the most for me.  There were a lot of similarities in how Lennie interacted with her Gram that reminded me of my own and had me riding on a wave of grief that was so strong at times I thought I might go under.  

The color of extraordinary were the words that Lennie chose to have inscribed on her sister's tombstone.  For me, these words describe Baily the way she will be remembered and Lennie, for the women she starts to become.  

Mainly, I think this book was a coming of age story of Lennie, who through her sister's death is forced to view the world through new eyes.  She didn't always like what she saw, especially in regard to herself, but she learned to face it standing on her own two feet.  

Okay folks, you know the drill.  I am giving away a copy of this one to one lucky blog commenter so leave me a note check back tomorrow for the winner.  I am not going to make you wait until next week.  Be prepared, this book will make you laugh, it will also make you cry. 


abby mumford said...

i think part of what makes this book so powerful is that the emotions (the love, but more so, the grief) are so tangible. you are a strong person to keep reading when overwhelmed with your own set of grief. i'm sorry for causing that!


p.s. you don't need to enter me because i actually already own this in both hardcover and paperback! but good luck to all else who enter!

Patty Blount said...

Excellent review, Kelly! I think Abby's right; the emotion in Jandy's writing just reaches into your chest and squeezes your heart.

Katie Mills said...

yeah, I guess a story like that would leave me with mixed feelings as well. I don't read a lot of dramatic YA for just this reason but it sounds like an engaging story that left its impression on you.

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. And since I've already read it, I'm opting out of the contest. Good luck to the others!