Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Sky is Everywhere


Very few times in my life has a book left me breathless...breathless to the point of clutching it to my chest after reading the last word, sick to my stomach that the read was over.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE was one of those books.

I learned about this book from Christine over at Write Brained. Thank you, Christine!!!!!!!

The writing can be summed up in one word...exquisite. Jandy Nelson is my new hero. I want to be her when I grow up. She is a brilliant word weaver and her poetic talents shine through every sentence. Every sentence.

I don't know how this book didn't win the Printz Award (I'm not saying GOING BOVINE didn't deserve it...but this work-of-wonder deserved, at the VERY least, an honorable mention). This book is a masterpiece in original character voice. The MC is...honest...true...deliciously clever ...heartbreaking...smart...witty...

Lenny is the seventeen-year-old MC who has recently -- and very suddenly -- lost her older sister, who she idolized. She's lost in every way possible, and it takes two different boys to help her re-group and start living again...and one of them is her dead sister's boyfriend.

Yeah.

One of the 10,000 things I marveled at from Ms. Nelson's writing style was how she rarely used "like" in her clever comparisons. Which I know is called a metaphor in fancy writer-speak. See, I'm a simile gal and I didn't realize the power of removing the "like" until I read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Let me demonstrate using a sample from the book:

From the book:
Maria's stirring a vat of sauce beside me, a witch at her cauldron, as I try to cover the fact that I've broken yet another pastry shell.

How I probably would've written that sentence:
Maria's stirring a vat of sauce beside me, like a witch at her cauldron, as I try to cover the fact that I've broken yet another pastry shell.

Jandy Nelson's sentence is SO MUCH STRONGER and the only word difference is the absence of the word "like."

Some of you may not find this as revolutionary as I, but I remain blown away. I can't wait to try it out in the next book I write.

A final word, if you haven't had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) of reading this book, treat yourself. And tell me what you think when you've finished reading!