Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

August 4, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 19 ★★★★★

II by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial on September 16th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
Buy the Book
<p><em>A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell</em></p>
<p>Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and 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 divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. 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.</p>
<p>This radiant, fully alive, sometimes very funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of <em>The Sky Is Everywhere</em> will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.</p>

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Guys, I don’t even know if there are words to describe my love for this book! Like seriously. WHOA.

Years ago I read a book called The Sky is Everywhere by this author. It was beautiful and touching and I couldn’t wait to check out more of her work. The time had finally come for a new book and I was stoked! Admittedly, I was a little nervous when I first read the synopsis because I wasn’t sure how the writing style would play out. Parts are told from a 13 year old boy’s point of view and the rest told from his twin sister’s point of view, three years later at the age of sixteen. But I was floored at how it all connected and came together to tell a tale of family, love, and forgiveness.

Noah’s POV: We start the novel with Noah. He is a 13 year old boy who thinks in art and color, painting the world in his mind. He is a little on the quiet and loner side. He is also hiding a secret, that he likes boys. I feel like Nelson nailed this point of view. Noah’s emotions were a little scattered and he absolutely had a hard time controlling certain… er, hormonal instincts. It felt so very true and real for what a 13 year old boy might be going through. And I must admit this point of view was what I was most worried about, if I would feel a connection, and it ended up being my very favorite. Noah’s nervousness and curiosity was adorable and I felt for him when he was feeling unsure and afraid to be himself. He meets this boy who seems a little odd too and Noah is smitten, but unsure if the feelings can be reciprocated.

Noah and Jude are like night and day. Where Noah is more reserved, Jude is all about being social. They are both artistic is different ways and their mom receives ‘a sign’ that they should enroll in a local art high school. This is Noah’s dream! Jude is a little ‘meh’ on the whole thing. They fight over who owns parts of the world and beyond, but they have such love for each other and a strong twin connection. This summer of being 13 puts up a little divide between the two that only grows bigger with unfortunate circumstances, a lack of communication and tragedy.

Jude’s POV: Here we have a time jump to 3 years later. This Jude is not like the Jude we met at age 13. There is a complete role reversal between Jude and Noah. She is on a boy boycott and now obsessed with her dead grandmother’s ‘bible’ of strange beliefs and superstitions. She spends lots of time alone, talking to ghosts, and feels she is being punished for things that happened years ago. Noah is now turned into a semi-jock who is always out and about with his friends. Their relationship is a complete wreck. Suddenly Jude finds herself inspired to build art from stone, like it is needed to resolve her problems. This leads her to meet a beautiful, sarcastic older boy who rides a motorcycle and is excellent at leaning, James Dean-style. He claims they are destined to be and boy was he broken, amazing, beautiful, and a fascinating character to read. These two together were like magic! Jude also finds a mentor who is grieving over a past love lost and they instantly click. He opens her mind and soul and shows her how to free her spirit.

Both points of view flow together as we get pieces of the puzzle from one and connect them to the other, seamlessly. I found myself so in love with Noah and his journey just to get absorbed with Jude and what was going on with her in the future. Knowing certain things that were to come and waiting to get to that point in the past was such an engaging experience. And the writing was spectacular! Especially for Noah and all of his thoughts in paints and colors and stories. I hung on to every word and thought he had in awe. Both characters handled grief and loss in profoundly different ways yet in the same as well, hiding who they are. I adored these characters tremendously and was so sad to close the book to their lives. I can honestly say this book is a new all-time favorite that I absolutely need to re-read in the future. I laughed, I cried, I swooned! I can’t wait for everyone to meet and fall in love with these characters as much as I did. I cannot recommend this book enough and implore everyone to order a copy for next month! It’s a must read!

5_stars

About Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson received a BA from Cornell, an MFA from Brown in poetry, and another MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. A literary agent for many years, she is also a published poet. The Sky Is Everywhere is her first novel. Jandy lives in San Francisco. www.jandynelson.com, www.theskyiseverywhere.com

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

19 Responses to “Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson”

  1. Sarah @ The Bookshelf Pirate

    I’ve been hearing such great things about this book, but I think your review is the one that’s convinced me to request it at my bookshop. Now I can’t wait to fall in love with these characters, too! That style of presenting the two characters’ points of views did make me a little unsure, but when that sort of thing works well it can be so very memorable. And as sibling stories are so often my favorites, these twins sound like great imaginary company.
    Sarah @ The Bookshelf Pirate recently posted…Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonMy Profile

  2. Frannie Pan

    God this review was beautiful! And this book sounds so incredible and particular, even more than The sky is everywhere!
    I can’t wait to read it! *-*

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