I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books on September 16th 2014
Also by this author: The Sky is Everywhere
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
A brilliant, luminous 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.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
As I said yesterday in my review of Nelson’s first novel, I have heard a lot of about this. After reading her debut, I was even more excited about picking up this one. But I was nervous as well, the expectations for this one were pretty high after reading that beautiful and memorable novel. It’s safe to say that her sophomore novel went above and beyond those expectations set by The Sky is Everywhere. I absolutely loved the book and thought that her prose combined with the unique plot make it a novel that no one is going to be forgetting anytime soon.
Noah and Jude are twins who are completely in sync. They always seem to know what the other is thinking and feeling and they are all around inseparable in every sense of the word. However, something happens that makes them go on different paths without the other. They are both 16 now and barely speaking at all. We learn what happened in the altering voice of both twins: Noah narrates the younger years which is starting at 13 up until 14, while Jude is the last year or so of their lives. What follows is a wonderful story about love, loss, friendship, grief, death, forgiveness, and acceptance as they try to find where they belong in the world. Which for both of them includes a world of art and the people that they love most in the world.
I absolutely love how unique Jandy Nelson’s writing is. There is no YA writer out there writing in this unique style and I think she’s helping create a path for writers to come. It was just really clever to write the perspectives at different ages and I felt like it helped us learn this essential information about the pair and why they live in such separate worlds now at the pace that the author set for the audience. I’ve seen some reviews that said that they liked Noah better than Jude right away but I liked Jude right away also. I feel like she’s incredibly witty and sarcastic in a charming and catching way. Of course I loved Noah too, but I felt like I could personally identify with Jude. However, my heart did break for Noah as he tried to come to terms with who he was. I felt like this was done in such a realistic way. Though I personally have never struggled with my sexuality, I have close friends who have and that reminded me so much of Noah. In his mind, he feels like being with men is the most natural thing in the world for him, but at the same time he’s scared of what society will think about him and Brian felt the same way, except even more was at stake for him in his mind. Anyway, the main characters were written in such a heartbreaking and real way.
The romance in this book is a little bit different than a lot of books I’ve read recently considering there are two main characters, not just one. I believe that both of the twins are just as important and neither love story is more important to the plot than the other. Brian and Noah was a delightful and sad romance to read about. When Noah was 14, he meets new boy Brian who lives next door and falls in love with him. I felt like the relationship was very sad but also real. They both spent a lot of time being just friends, and that broke Noah’s heart. Once they worked it out though, it was clear that these two should without a doubt be together. I also loved Jude’s relationship with the charming and dangerous Oscar. I absolutely loved Oscar, and I couldn’t help but keep reading so I could definitely figure out his story. I felt like the love between them was so swoon worthy and though I didn’t love him as much as I loved Joe from Jandy Nelson’s first novel, there was something that Oscar had that was just as catching in my opinion. I liked that he was a little bit wild and dangerous, but he was also extremely protective, loving, and caring when it comes to the people he cares about.
If you can’t tell by now, after reading two books by Jandy, it’s safe to say I’m a fan of her books. I can’t wait for her to release another book and it’s safe to say I won’t hesitate at all to pick the next one up as soon as it comes out. If you haven’t read this one yet, I can’t recommend it enough. It will leave you bursting with so many different emotions you won’t even know what to do with yourself. It’s certainly one that I’m going to be thinking about for a long time after and I love books that leave you speechless in the best way possible.