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review - i'll give you the sun

REVIEW: i’ll give you the sun, by jandy nelsonI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Penguin on September 16th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Family, Siblings, Social Issues, Death & Dying, LGBT, Love & Romance
Pages: 371
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.

i'll give you the sun

(self-portrait: a girl sitting in bed with her insides bursting an explosion of colors and a closed book by her side.)

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is art. i’m going to start by saying that not everyone is going to love it. sometimes you simply don’t get it, or you get it but don’t feel it, or feel it but don’t care for it, or whatever. that’s fine, but for ME it was definitely MY KINDA BOOK. the characters are artists so reading from their perspective is not only reading about art, it’s like reading art. how do you even describe or explain that? the writing is different from what i’m used to and took a bit for me to understand and get into. everything is a metaphor and i wasn’t sure if this was literally happening or if it was all in his head. (it was all in his head.)

this book is so complex, so poetic, so emotional, and so powerful. it’s the kind of book i want to reread a million times over, overanalyze, and cover the margins with notes. i felt every sentence’s second meaning and it hit me really really hard. it made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS and i can’t even pinpoint exactly why. the depth of this book is unfathomable. this book is one of those books that made me cry, even though it’s not really all that sad.

“In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I’m not.”

the story is told from two POVs: one twin (noah) at age 13, and the other (jude) at age 16, three years later. there are a lot of layers as to why this or that happened and we truly get to watch the story unfold. it’s much more complicated than the average “love triangle” in most contemporary romance novels; it’s much more tangled, focusing on family issues, romance, sexuality, and more. i had such a strong connection with the two of them even though their voices are COMPLETELY different. and even though they were different, there were still undeniable parallels that connected them as siblings.

what surprised me most about I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is the family aspect. a lot of the problems arise between the twins and parents themselves and i find everything else is the “subplot.” although i really liked the romance, i felt just a biiiiit insta-love-y and too good to be true but eh that’s alright.

“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.”

all in all, this book blew me away. it definitely holds a spot on my favorites of 2016 shelf and it’s only been ten days into the new year. although there were parts of the book that felt a little artificial or a little dragged, i think that’s all irrelevant compared to the impact it had on my perspective. truly and completely eye-opening.

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i’d recommend if you like…

  • books that make you THINK
  • LGBTQ concepts
  • art
  • poetic writing
Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer or practicing yoga. she currently resides in los angeles, california.