Monday, 23 May 2011

Discussion: The Sky is Everywhere

So this was quite literally a discussion that Julie and I had on MSN, unedited, and we haven’t done a discussion post in a while, but we wanted you all to give us your thoughts on the topic too, so please jump in in the comments.

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 seemed like he did like her to some degree, but that guilt would've made real happiness impossible.

Discussion questions:

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?



  1. 1. No, I don't think they could have had a relationship. If at all, possibly like 10 years down the road... but in the present? No way. Too much hurt and feelings of betrayal, and it's clear that Toby is still in love with Bailey.

    2. Hmmmm... she probably had a crush on him, like you do in high school when any older guy who pays attention to you. But I don't think it was about feelings she had for him. It was about his connection to Bailey and that in those brief moments he made her feel alive.

    3. A little bit of brotherly affection, a lot of protectiveness, definite lust that I think arose out of grief and seeing Lennie's connection to Bailey and wanting to hold on to Bailey and her whole family. I think he felt a bit more for Lennie than she did for him, but I don't think it was ever a true romance.

    4. I guess I like both! In cases like this where I've read the book (and adored it), it's easy to chip in with my thoughts. But general discussions are awesome too because even if you haven't read a particular book you probably have some thoughts to share.

  2. This is so fantastic because after finishing the book it was the whole Toby and Lennie thing that stuck with me. If I think about it really hard and logically maybe they couldn't have worked. The heart is a different matter though and I'm kind of relieved to hear you say what you did about them Julie although I'm pretty stubborn on the fact that they should have been together. It probably makes no sense whatsoever but that never bothered me.

    I wanted them to be together so bad, and in truth although so many adore Joe and Lennie as a couple they never clicked with me. I connected with Toby very early on and when him and Lennie came together those moments had me convinced that she couldn't be with a more great guy. Now that i think about it though maybe they wouldn't have lasted long. Maybe amidst all the grief and confusion they mixed up lust with actual feelings.

    I think if Joe was in the picture they would have definitely stood a chance. It could have gone either way. Somewhere down the line they might have realised that they had more brother and sister relationship which had gone muddled up or on the flips ide might have found themselves falling in love.

    The problem is that I read it a while back and it was so much of Toby for me. I wanted them to be together so bad that maybe I didn't think things though, or didn't want to. For this reason I know I have to read the book again, and not let my emotions take over all common sense. I might just have to review this book again.

    On that note after I have re - read it hopefully I'll come back to you with a clearer answer. So glad you did this post btw. It's something which has been on my mind for a long time and I'm looking forward to everyone else's thoughts, not to mention I love these discussion posts. It's great to see how your thoughts contrast! :)

  3. I don;t think they could have had a relationship. I have to agree that it was never a possiblity. they fell together becuase of how they both felt at the time, they were going through the same thing and they needed a way to deal and they thought that was it!

    I think Lennie wanted someone, someone who understood what she was going through but wouldnt try and make things better in the way adults do and Toby was perfect for that

    I think Toby was confused. He'd lost his future wife and child remember, that has got to be hard and i think he thought that Lennie could be a slight replacement for that.

    I love your discussions on certain books (so long as I've read the books your on about!) and I also love your general discussions so please, carry on! :D

  4. I read the book last year and I'm listening the to audiobook right now. It's funny that I just saw this post. Perfect timing!

    I think they could have had an actual relationship, but it would have been very hard and it may not have worked out in the end(it would have been very short and painful for them both).

    If Joe wouldn't have showed up, I'm not sure what would have happened with Toby and Lennie...if anything, I think their physical relationship would have gone further.

    As I'm listening to the audiobook and seeing things again, I'm seeing that Toby may have had more romantic feelings for Lennie that Lennie had for Toby. Some of the things he does, make me lean that way.

    I'm fine with specific book discussions as well as general. I love being able to discuss particular titles I love with others!

  5. Forced to come out of her shell, Lennie starts to see how absolutely beautiful yet wondrously confusing life can be. In her contemplation of life and death, Lennie must completely reconsider what it means to truly live.



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