Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Posted March 15, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy NelsonI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Penguin on September 16th 2014
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, LGBT, Love & Romance, Siblings, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780803734968
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & Noble

The New York Times Bestselling story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 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.

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” 
― Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

The Good…:

Author Jandy Nelson’s novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, is addictive! Once I began reading about twins Jude and Noah, I couldn’t put it down. The story is told in dual perspective. One half of the story is told from Jude’s point of view, and the other from Noah’s. Noah’s story begins when the twins are 13 years old, and details how close they were. A good time when the twins could speak without words, finish each other’s sentences, and were willing to give the sun and the whole world to the other. Jude’s story takes place when the twins are 16 years old, and have been estranged for two years. Though they live in the same house, they hardly speak, and barely recognize who the other has become.

What I loved most about this story was unraveling the mystery of how these two halves of the same person were ripped apart. Readers are transported from a time when the twins were essentially inseparable, through their growing pains of first love, heartbreak, and tragedy. Noah’s crush on the cute boy next door, as he worries over whether it’s reciprocated is relatable. No matter if you’re heterosexual, homosexual, or anything in between, we’ve all felt the excitement of a new love, and the fear that it’s one-sided. I also found Jude’s desperate attempts to stand apart from her extremely talented, and socially awkward brother to be relatable as well. Most of us has wanted to stand out from the crowd at some time in our lives.

“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.” – Jude

As for the other characters: I gravitated towards the dad more than the mom, because I felt like he had hidden depths to him that wouldn’t be realized until the end. I was right. The dad was a complex man, and the twins had difficulty understanding him, as he did them. The mom seemed, cool, but never felt permanent. Everything about her made her seem transient, and difficult to handle like a silk scarf. Oscar and Brian were the best! While Oscar was wild, carefree, and troubled, Brian was calm, stable, and intense. The scenes between Oscar/Jude and Brain/Noah were my favorite, next to the ones with the twins themselves.

The Bad…:

As stated above, the story is told from the perspectives of the twins, and uses their unique voice. Noah, as an artist, uses very abstract thinking. This can make the events a bit difficult to decipher at times, and may leave readers wondering how reliable he is as a narrator. This doesn’t necessarily make Jude’s POV easier. She becomes obsessed with her deceased grandmother’s “Bible” of strange sayings and superstitions, and quotes them quite frequently during her POVs. It’s kooky, and can be a bit off-putting.

Do I Recommend?

Oh my Clark Gable, yes! I’ll Give You the Sun  made me break into unexpected laughter as much as it made me unexpectedly break into tears. Moving, funny, heart-wrenching, and wonderful, this novel is one that I’m glad to have read, but sad to have finished. So much so that I really want to start it all over again from the beginning.

About Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, received the prestigious Printz Award, Bank Street’s Josette Frank Award, and is a Stonewall Book Award honor. Both Sun and her debut, The Sky Is Everywhere, have been YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks (Sun, a Top Ten on Both YALSA and Rainbow Lists) and on multiple best of the year lists including the New York Times, Time Magazine, NPR, have earned many starred reviews, and continue to enjoy great international success, collectively published in over 47 countries. I’ll Give You the Sun has been sold to Warner Brothers and screenwriter Natalie Krinsky is currently writing the adaptation. Jandy, a literary agent for many years, received a BA from Cornell University and MFAs in Poetry and Children’s Writing from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently a full-time writer, she lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of her novels.


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0 responses to “Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

    • After a I got comfortable with Noah’s POV, he became my favorite. Jude was cool, but I think I was more invested in Noah and Brian’s “will they, won’t they” relationship, that I kept trying to read through her’s until I got back to him. Until she met Oscar, anyway.

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