Theme Reviews: Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia & The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson


Even if the Sky Falls and The Sky is Everywhere are both wonderfully whimsical contemporaries that deal with loss in entirely different ways. Both feature an off-beaten cast of characters and love that feels like magic. 

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All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

review

3/5 Stars 

Even if the Sky Falls is an atmospheric dream. The hazy, magical euphoria that cloaks New Orleans is captured in all of its glory. From the wild randomness and go wherever the wind takes you attitudes, the story bursts with life and inspires the reader to give in to spontaneity. It’s worth the risk.

Even if the Sky Falls is unexpected and dreamy. The Mid-Summer Mardi Gras is a more laid back version of the insanity that is normal Mardi Gras, this feels like a light drizzle of crazy. The characters are charming and unique, they leap from the page and invite the reader to engage. The story is both an adventure and drama. The characters are complex and developed. They each have their own drama, heartaches, and pasts that define and dare them to make life worth living every moment of every day. 

Julie is a vixen and the best part is, she has no clue. Though parts of her back story were less fleshed out than I would have liked, particularly the situation with her best friends, Julie in the now is fiery, adventurous, and takes chances that she never would have before. She’s an inspiration to the quiet, introspective girls to let loose every once in a while, you never know what might happen. 

Miles is sexy. An enigma. A perfect fairy tale of a character dressed as a super hot version of Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He’s got troubles and baggage and pain, but he’s playful and made of daring. He’s definitely the type of guy who sucks you in and tempts you to live on the wild side. Smooth, talented, and sensual.

The chemistry is hard to describe. On one hand, you can feel them falling to something-not love exactly, not lust-but it feels natural, inevitable. The heat is intense when it comes. They resist, they tease, they give in and it’s epic.

The pacing was lazy and sometimes too slow for my taste. 

Julie’s brother’s situation cut her deeply, and while it did have a strong presence, I feel like a deeper look into her past, what brought her to New Orleans, her relationship with the church, and what PTSD does to a family would have helped flesh out her motivations and added another layer to her character. 

When the “twist” happened near the end, OMG my heart. I screamed at the book. Shocked and anxious and terrified for their fate doesn’t even begin to describe the feels. 

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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.

review

3.5/5 Stars 

The Sky is Everywhere is an epic eulogy. It’s a story of loss and learning to live after a part of yourself is gone. 

Jandy Nelson is a beautifully lyrical and honest writer. She doesn’t shy away from feelings and actions that might make the reader dislike the protagonist. Everything is achingly real. The words float off the page, part poetry, part longing. The poems Lennie leaves wherever she goes for her sister are featured throughout like random inserts that provide insight into Lennie’s mental state. Memories, conversations, fights, they’re all there in vivid color. It’s powerful and heartbreaking. Everything Lennie does is in an effort to remember-an ode to her sister, her best friend, her other half. 

Lennie’s best friend Sarah is a whirlwind. As are all of the secondary characters really. Everyone has a potent and active presence. I wish there was more of Sarah. A chic and confident feminist who is obsessed with philosophy and falling in love with the right guy. Sarah is a force that you want to get wrapped up in. She’s unafraid to tell it like it is, she calls Lennie out on her b.s. and fights for her best friend, even when she unintentionally pushes her away. Big is a lovable giant of a character. He’s weird, so insanely bizarre, but full of warmth and joy-love is his oxygen and his curse. He’s truly unforgettable. Lennie’s grandma, oh my gosh this lady. She’s like a mythical creature. At some points, she’s a lovable grandmother type and others she’s the lady who only paints in shades of green, whose flowers are strong enough to bewitch and ensnare. 

Lennie is a complex character. Half the time she’s a mess who has no clue what she’s doing. She’s hormonal, awkward, and throws herself into situations without thinking and boy is it comical. But you never doubt her love and devotion to her sister’s memory. Lennie has never been in love. She’s never really had a big crush and her emotions are chaotic. She doesn’t know how to process the loss and becomes reckless, confused, and mildly idiotic. Sometimes I literally had to turn away from the book I was so embarrassed for her, other times I wanted to shake her and ask her what she was thinking with some of the stuff she does. She’s absolutely relatable. 

The romance…here’s the thing, I wasn’t completely invested in that aspect of the story. Yes, Joe is a heart throb. He’s sweet, he’s perfect for Lennie, they get each other on a deep, emotional level. They speak too each other through music, how romantic is that? Despite how natural it feels, the love came fast and hit soft. You can’t help but believe they belong together but it was so soon. There wasn’t enough of them together, by themselves, confessing their thoughts, etc. Sure, you can feel the chemistry, Joe’s wonder and complete adoration for Lennie, but the magic fell short for me. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

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2 thoughts on “Theme Reviews: Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia & The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

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