Spoiler warning: This discussion is about a specific part of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, so if you haven’t read the book then don’t read this post (unless you don’t mind spoilers then it’s entirely up to you).
Topic of discussion: Toby vs. Joe
(or really, Toby and Lennie: How Did They Really Feel)
Lanna says: About The Sky is Everywhere *reading your review* - I didn't even realise there was a Toby vs. Joe thing. Toby was never really an option because what they had was never really about romance or attraction, it was about grief, they both missed her sister so much that they kind of gravitated towards each other and tried to turn the pain into something else for a little while, but those two never would've gotten together. It was always Joe.
Julie says: There was a potential for Toby to get in there. Not likely, but possible.
Lanna says: I never even saw it as possible, they'd never work. She'd always be in Bailey's shadow in that relationship if they tried and she'd always be Bailey's little sister and they'd feel like they were betraying her memory. They may have had some lust as a result of all the kissing, but not actual romantic feelings.
Julie says: Those things can change. And it did seem more serious for Toby. I don't think anybody WOULD be Team Toby but it could happen.
Lanna says: We must've just interpreted it differently. With Toby - I didn't think he was into her, I just thought that he didn't want to lose that connection to Bailey and unlike Lennie who had a reason to stop with their...unusual coping mechanism, he didn't really have a reason so he would've continued it. But I think he was just protective of her, maybe saw her in more of a little sister way but it all got confused.
It's like when your guy friend starts dating someone and you feel a little jealous and it's confusing, but then you realise you're not jealous because you want to be with him, it's just you don't want to lose him and maybe you’re jealous of what he has.
Julie says: I think most of the time, it was about that connection to Bailey, but later in the book, it did seem like he really cared about her. He seemed more...gentle I guess. He wanted her to be happy. He got jealous, yeah, but then her happiness became more important.
Lanna says: Mhmm, I totally think he cared, I just don't think it was a romantic kind of caring. I think it was because they'd both gone through something together and she was Bailey's sister and in a way he probably felt a little guilty for even going there with her and helping things get more messed up than they already were. I didn't see the jealousy as "I want her to be with me, not you" type jealousy either.
Julie says: His jealousy was more "He's playing with a toy and so I want it" mixed with a "I miss that kind of romance" but the way he cared for her and tried to fix things at the end...it seemed like he did like her to some degree, but that guilt would've made real happiness impossible.
1. Do you think Toby and Lennie could’ve had an actual relationship?
2. How do you think Lennie really felt for Toby, if Joe wasn’t on the scene, do you think her feelings would’ve been different?
3. How do you think Toby felt for Lennie? Platonic feelings, with grief induced lust? Actual romantic feelings? Brotherly?
4. Do you like discussions like this, where it’s specifically about a certain book or do you prefer more general discussion?
As you can see, Julie and I have different opinions on the subject (dorky fact: I love this about books. How people can read them, but read them in totally different ways and interpret the story differently), so what do you guys think? Agree with one of us? Or both of us? Or neither of us and have your own interpretation?