I feel like an evil person when I say this, but I promised y’all that I will always be honest (even when it hurts) so here it is… I hated I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson for the first 200 pages of this book. Yeah, I said it! Now you know the awful truth. However, before you grab your pitchforks and head towards East Texas to burn me at the stake, please continue reading. It does get better!
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.
First off, Jandy Nelson is an amazing writer. This was my first book by her but damn, that woman has a way with words. Like Noah from the story, she paints a vivid picture making you feel and experience the scene as if you were actually there. I expected the story to be what pulled me in, but it wasn’t, it was the writing. (I was actually bored for the longest time). Her imagery and the way she wrote Noah’s POV was beautiful and so creative. An artist painting an artist with words. Amazing. I know some people were turned off by all of the metaphors and found it to be a bit much, but I disagreed. She was writing it as an artist would see it and I really enjoyed that.
This was written using alternating POV’s for each chapter. We view the younger years through Noah’s eyes and follow him as he tries navigating through some very confusing and important times of his life. He is falling in love for the first time with the boy next door, while dealing with the isolation and aftermath of what this means. I really enjoyed reading about Noah, seeing him struggle with the truth about his sexuality was incredibly moving and emotional. I can’t imagine what it’s like to experience that as a teenager but Nelson did a beautiful job of helping us step into Noah’s shoes. I loved seeing his relationship with Brian progress. His transformation from the beginning of the story to the end was amazing.
Then later years are Jude’s story. It took me a while to get into the her chapters. I think it was maybe her mentality on being the whole “misunderstood and sullen teen” was a bit of a turn off. I didn’t understand why she was so superstitious and I found it annoying when she would go off about Grandmother Sweetwine’s bible. However, once Jude meets Oscar and Guillermo, I finally found myself invested more in her story that Noah’s. Crazy how that happened. Though, if truth be told, I think I was just obsessed with Guillermo. He sounds like a total badass and I want him to teach me how to sculpt. But I digress! I really enjoyed her interactions with them, as her character really started to transform then and she finally broke out of her shell.
That is my favorite line of the entire book.
However, as beautiful as Noah’s journey and as interesting as Jude’s was, these twins have some major issues…SO SELFISH. SO JEALOUS. I swear I wanted to knock their heads against the wall every few pages. All of these problem that they were having could have been solved if they had sat down and just had a come-to-Jesus-meeting. That’s what normal people would do! But no, let’s spend the whole book sabotaging each other’s lives because we are too scared to talk about our feelings. You’re twins, you should be able to tell each other everything! Am I right or am I being a little harsh? I do have a really easy time just saying what I’m thinking, so maybe I am being a tad harsh here. But I think the way they handled the entire situation was completely childish and petty.
The pacing of this story was a bit slow for me. As I mentioned, it took me close to 200 pages before I finally got in a rhythm with this book. There was a lot happening from the start of the book and yet it wasn’t answering any of my questions. I wasn’t really sure where this book was going and whether or not I wanted to stick around to find out. I kept having to make myself pick up the book and read which is never a good sign. Luckily, it finally hit that sweet spot where I couldn’t put it down and had to see how it would end.
Once it ended, I finally understood why so many people enjoy this book. It all came together beautifully and ended on a high rather than the low I was expecting. I really encourage everyone to read this book and witness the beauty of it.
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars