Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author ofThe Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Number of Pages: 371
Publishing Date: Sept. 16th, 2014
I’ve read many rave reviews of this book, with many saying it’s extremely beautiful and eye-opening, and with others saying it’s the best book they’ve ever read. While I didn’t want to set my expectations too high, I went into this book hoping that it would have as much of an impact on me as it did on others. And it did. This book impacted me in ways that I didn’t think possible. It was relatable. It was eye-opening. It had twists and turns. It made me cry tears of sadness and tears of happiness. This book truly lived up to and went beyond my expectations.
Every character in this book was flawed in some way. Not only did that show that no one is perfect, but it also showed that almost everyone is hiding something that they are struggling with. They may present themselves as extremely happy and content, but they might be feeling and experiencing emotions of sadness, anger, and even self-hatred. This book showed that sometimes even the seemingly happiest person could be the saddest person, and I really appreciated that aspect of the story. I honestly cannot put into words how much I loved this book. It seemed a tad slow in the beginning, but I found that I just had to keep reading and the characters were just so interesting and the more that the plot was developed the more everything made sense. I highly recommend this book to fans of books by John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell. This book packs a powerful punch and is truly a must-read.
The rest of this review contains spoilers!
I must admit, the beginning of this novel had me fairly lost. All this talk of dead people and ghosts and magic had me wondering what I had just gotten myself into. But as I dove deeper and read more and more, the plot picked up the pace and different parts in the different perspectives began to connect and the stories intertwined so beautifully.
I love how Jandy Nelson touched on so many different aspects of life in this novel. She wrote about love, loss, grief, family, friendship, first loves, lost loves, finding one’s self, losing one’s self, and accepting one’s self. Yet, the book never felt overwhelming because it flowed so naturally and nicely.
The contrasting view points of this book did exactly that — they contrasted. While Noah and Jude were twins, their view points were extremely different, which I loved. All too often in books of more than one view point do I find that it’s hard to differentiate between view points because they just seem so similar. But in I’ll Give You the Sun, I could always tell whose perspective I was reading from, and I applaud the author greatly for this.
Noah’s perspective was able to make me smile, make me laugh, and break my heart. His relationship with Brian was so beautiful yet so sad, and Jandy Nelson’s writing was so intense that I could practically feel my heart breaking for Noah so many times. (Side note: The song ‘Secret Love Song, Pt. II’ by Little Mix fits Noah and Brian perfectly.)
“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
He still won’t meet my eyes.”
Although I loved reading from Noah’s point of view, I think I preferred Jude’s perspective more. Jude’s character was so relatable. She was going through so much grief and guilt and, once again, Jandy Nelson was somehow able to translate those emotions into words and I felt them as I read the novel. Jude’s relationship with Oscar was a nice, heartwarming touch to such an intense story, and I was so happy that she was able to find so much happiness after so much heartache.
“I gave up practically the whole world for you,” I tell him, walking through the front door of my own love story. “The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.”
Jandy Nelson executed this novel so seamlessly and flawlessly. I usually don’t like books that go from past to present points of view, but Jandy wrote this book in such a way that the past to present points of view were never confusing, always interesting, and they flowed perfectly.
While the ending was extremely sweet and cute, it felt kind of rushed, and slightly predictable as well. Because of this (and a couple of other super minor problems that I had with this book), I knocked it down from 5 stars to 4.5 stars, but I truly did enjoy this book. While I feel like it could’ve been slightly longer, I do think that the ending was satisfying and it tied the story up nicely.
Overall, I really, really loved this book. The characters were beautifully flawed. The storyline was realistic and relatable. The writing style was unlike anything I’ve ever read, yet it captivated me after a few pages. I found myself relating to the different ways of grieving that the characters would go through, and it was all so relatable and real and raw and absolutely beautiful.
Have any of you read I’ll Give You the Sun? What are your thoughts on it? Comment them below so we can discuss!