We’re going to spend the next few weeks studying this incredible book. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson.
Okay, truth time. I put off reading this book for a long time– why? I’m not even sure anymore. I chose it specifically for studying structure to see if a fiercely character-driven and more literary book would hold up to structure. And I’m so glad I read it. So, let’s take a look.
Logline: (from the inside cover)
In the months after her sister dies, seventeen-year-old Lennie falls into a love triangle and discovers the strength to follow her dream of becoming a musician.
High concept or no?
Doesn’t sound it from this description, does it?
But I’m going to say yes. This is about something big. Death and grieving and survival. And that pushes it up into the arena of high concept, for me, anyway. You are free to disagree.
1. Does the character offer the most conflict for the situation?
Lennie lived in the shadow of her older sister, Bailey. And now she has to learn to live without her. I’d call that conflict. Not shoot ‘em up conflict but still powerful.
2. Does she have the longest way to go emotionally?
Yes. A very big yes. She wasn’t a particular strong person before her sister died. And similar to the above question, she not only has to overcome grief, she has to figure out who she is as a person. As an only child.
3. Demographically pleasing?
Again. Yes. A teen girl dealing with death. Many, many teens deal with loss. Almost anyone can relate to this story.
4. Is it primal?
I probably don’t have to answer this one. But any story dealing with life and death is primal. So, another big yes!
By definition and compared to other “big” stories, the logical person would say this book is not high concept. But, to me, this story was BIG. It was more than just a sweet romance or mystery. Through out the story, Lennie works through her grief and has to decide whether to truly live her life or not.
What do you think? High concept or not?
Come back next Monday for a look at Act I of this terrific book.