Genre: Young Adult
“I’ll Give You the Sun” is a novel which follows the story of twins, Noah and Jude. They were as close and inseparable as only twins can be for years, by the time they are becoming teenagers.
A half of the book we see through Noah’s eyes, eyes of a thirteen-year-old, artistic, withdrawn boy who falls in love with his new neighbour, Brian. While Noah is questioning his sexuality and his feelings for Brian, Jude is one of the most popular girls in town and attracts attention of many boys even older than her. During that period, Jude and Noah are competing for their parents’ attention and secrets they are both hiding deepen the strife between them and make it even worse. After the family tragedy, Jude and Noah are not anymore those inseparable twins they used to be, they are becoming strangers to one another. Two years later, sixteen-year-old Jude, who is completely opposite of the girl she used to be – silent, invisible, unpopular – guides us through the story. While trying to make up for all the mistakes from the past she made, she meets two exceptional men who are helping her to accomplish that idea and becoming an irreplaceable part of her life.
“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”
– Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun
This book has so many qualities and topics to discuss it’s impossible to decide what to say.
The fact that book is told from two different perspectives helps us to get further and deeper into the story and to comprehend both sides and their long kept secrets. Although characters’ life stories are brimming with pain and shadows from the past, they are remarkably designed and very realistic. I’m not really sure everyone could imagine themselves in characters’ places because they are all in very specific situations. And still, because of brilliant Nelson’s writing, nevertheless, we have a feeling that everything that happens to them – happens to us. Therefore, we are able to identify with people who are completely different from us and sincerely sympathize with them in their suffering and pain.
“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”
One of my favorite things about this book is that art is such a big and important part of it, entangled with lives of characters. Noah who’s painting portraits and auto-portraits in his head, sketching in his notebook. Jude is making flying women in sand. Guillermo who’s sculpturing and curving the stone giants. Jude and Noah’s visits to the museum with their mum. That’s all a big hank of feelings that is waiting to explode in our hearts and paint it with all of the colors as the book goes on.
“What is bad for the heart is good for art. The terrible irony of our lives as artists.”
– Jandy Nelson, I’ll give You the Sun
Nelson’s writing is so unique, beautiful and charismatic and it makes me one hundred percent sure that every single soul in this world would enjoy reading the stories written by the same. If you still haven’t read “I’ll Give You the Sun”, I highly recommend you to pick it up as soon as possible and enter its unforgettable world.