Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
Last weekend was my wedding anniversary – six years has truly flown by! But in the spirit of all things love-related, I thought my selection this week would be one of the most heart-rendingly romantic novels I’ve read, which also happens to be one of my favourite books generally: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
Ostensibly a book for younger adults, it’s definitely one that defies its intended audience age group. The story follows Lennie, a poetry-writing, clarinet-playing introvert whose world has fallen apart after the sudden death of her older sister, Bailey. Having been left by her mother when a little girl, Lennie lives with her grandmother and uncle, and we see that she scatters scraps of thoughts and poetry written on pieces of paper throughout their small town, like fragments of her broken heart. She enters into a complicated romantic entanglement with Bailey’s boyfriend that is fueled by their shared grief, but she’s also powerfully drawn to free-spirited new boy to town, Joe.
The story could be seen as following the romantic trope of the love triangle, but it’s rendered with such realism and care that you really do feel like you’re heart is being wrenched in many directions, just like Lennie’s. Nelson so wonderfully encapsulates the various emotions at play, and the balance of relationships is delicate and masterfully portrayed.
As well as the romantic feelings that the story evokes, it’s also a powerful depiction of the enduring nature of grief. Towards the end of the novel, we see Lennie think, “It’s such a colossal effort not to be haunted by what’s lost, but to be enchanted by what was.” The novel is gorgeously-written and ultimately hopeful. It reminds us the sky is everywhere – it begins at your feet. That is why The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is my Book of the Week, this week.