“I’ll Give You The Sun” by Jandy Nelson (2014)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
Page Length: 371 pages (hardcover edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
I’ll Give You The Sun was an incredible read! It was a bit slow when I first delved into the novel, but I immediately got sucked into the story. Which means I pulled into a reading marathon where I read late into the night knowing I had to get up early the next day. In bibliophile book speak, “it was too good to put down”. I felt this was a very relatable contemporary novel, as our main protagonists Jude and Noah deal with real-life situations and problems. We as readers, get to see the parallel between the twins at ages 13 and at 16, and how a “catalyst of change” (I don’t want to spoil the book for others) causes them to grow apart and eventually brings them back together.
I overall enjoyed the character development and growth in this novel, seeing as not all YA contemporary novel chapters “learn their lessons” or “grow from their experiences”. The relationships between brother and sister, family and friends, are very deep and emotional as well. Noah and Jude’s relationship stands out because they seem so unique. Maybe it’s just a twin thing, but they can read each other’s minds, feel each other’s emotions. It’s like two people became one.
Another part of the story that really stood out to me is (13 year old) Noah’s overactive imagination and his mind paintings he creates while talking a walk or having a conversation with somebody. I remember when I was younger I used to make mind paintings too, but maybe not as frequently as Jude did. And most importantly of all, the novel reminds us to listen to your heart.
A fresh, contemporary YA novel that is relatable to a wide audience and reminds you to always be you. 5 out of 5 stars! I’m really interested in reading her other novels, since this is my first exposure to Nelson’s writing.