I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

September 11, 2015     booklovi     Book review


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

September 16th, 2014
256 pages
Source: borrowed
Description: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.

My Review:

I’ve learned something about myself as a reader in the last year. The books that I love are very character driven. Not that plot is secondary, but what keeps me engaged and makes me want to keep reading is the characters. What do they want? What are their desires? Why do they act the way they do? And that’s why reading I’ll Give You the Sun was so incredible satisfying to me.I was immediately drawn into the story when the books opens with Noah’s point of view. Noah’s a loner who’s constantly getting picked on. He’s a talented artist who views the world in a different way. And his life starts changing as soon as the new boy moves next door. His goal in life is to get into the prestigious art school in town and he even hides in the woods next to the school to participate in art classes over the summer.

At this point, I was so intrigued that I was momentarily disappointed when the next part of the book switches to Jude’s point of view, three years later. We see Jude attending the prestigious art school, but Noah isn’t there. And far from the charismatic girl that we got a glimpse of in the beginning, Jude is now doing everything in her power to stay hidden. Compounding that problem is the fact that every art project she attempts is broken. By the spirit of her mother’s ghost, according to Jude.

The book continues in this alternating viewpoint, getting closer and closer to the same point of time where we finally can see the whole story. It’s so hard to describe this book, because it’s such a beautifully interwoven story of people’s lives. We see so many relationships from different points of view. Jude and Noah’s relationship as twins, and how that can be so broken when it used to be the strongest thing in their lives. The twins’ relationship to their dad, after the loss of their mom. And their individual relationships with their mom before her death and how a wedge can be so easily driven into that relationship.

It also delves into the concept of love and what love is like in all its different forms. Jandy Nelson shares her wisdom on romantic love, love between siblings, love between friends and how even when you want it to be, love isn’t always enough. She shows how secrets kept even for the best intentions can ruin a family and how cruel words can tear a person apart.

And all of this is interwoven and held together by beautiful writing. It’s lyrical and engrossing and it literally grabs you and makes you pay attention. This book was pitched for people who love Rainbow Rowell and John Green, and while I do love Rainbow Rowell, I feel like the comparison is not entirely accurate. They aren’t written in the same style, although some of the same themes run through both of them. I can’t wait to read her other books and I absolutely can’t recommend it enough. I’m so glad I picked it up!

Favorite Quotes:

“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”

“No hot guys should be allowed to have an English accent and drive a motorcycle. Not to mention wear the leather jacket or sport the cool shades. Hot guys should be forced into footie pajamas.”

“How can people die when you’re in a fight with them? When you’re smack in the middle of hating them? When absolutely nothing between you has been worked out?”

“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.

2 responses to “I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  1. I hope I get to read this one day! I don't have it…yet. 🙂

    It's funny, I was just thinking about character v. plot driven books yesterday. I thought (and announced) that I love plot-driven books because when things happen too slowly, I get super bored and it's a chore to wait for things to happen (impatience at its finest!) However, there are some books whose characters I love so much I don't care if they aren't doing anything for a chapter or two because I like hanging out with them. So I guess I like a combo of both?

  2. I definitely can understand getting bored when the plot isn't moving forward quickly enough! In this case, it was definitely a case of me loving the characters so much that I just couldn't wait to see what happened to them next. They really felt like best friends. And I think I like a combo of both too!

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