Author: Jandy Nelson
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Dial Books for Young Readers/Razorbill Canada for this ARC!
I’ll admit, I’m one of the few folks out there who hasn’t read The Sky is Everywhere. After completing this book, I realized what it is about Jandy Nelson’s work that people enjoy so much: the woman knows how to tell an intricate, believable, and emotionally gripping story. I was completely swept away with both Jude and Noah’s narratives that I had a hard time putting this down, and I admit, I had to put it down a few times.
The thing about I’ll Give You Sun is that it’s not a read you can do in one sitting. The plot is very carefully crafted, and it often made me stop and reflect on a lot of what I was reading. There’s so much going on in the story that it is easy to feel overwhelmed or even a touch lost. The writing is beautiful, it’s engaging, but perhaps the book is even a touch over-written? I found I had a hard time at first with Nelson’s style (and a hard time believing Noah was thirteen based on how the book was written) and yet once I got into the style and understood how the story and pace was going to move, I found I was able to push through it all. There’s a challenging book here and I feel like it’s not something that is going to grab every reading — the style is unique and it really feels like you’ll either love it or hard it without much in between.
But damn that story. I loved these characters and for me, Jude and Noah’s trials and tribulations felt so real, so sad, and it’s easy to become emotionally invested in their lives. How do you go from being together forever to so far a part? There’s this style that twins have an intense connection, and Nelson really gives you that sense throughout the story. Nelson always keeps her reading thinking and as mysteries are unravelled, the more you realize the amount of threads in this story’s web. I admit a lot of the book and the connections really surprised me! And it’s no like these surprises felt out of the blue either, there’s such a gentle build about it that it’s easy to second guess yourself.
I hope more people check I’ll Give You the Sun out when it releases, because I think it’s a fantastic look at family, life, death, love and separation. Jude and Noah never feel whole, and it’s really heartbreaking. But, they are both so easy to connect to, that you want to see (or hope) that they will come back to each other in the end. I won’t spoil it obviously, but the journey this story presents is certainly worth taking.