Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

Posted October 17, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 4 Comments

Book Review: I’ll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial on September 16th 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Pages: 371
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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five-stars

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.

The Sky Is Everywhere was a surprising favorite of mine in 2012. At first, I wasn’t impressed and nearly DNFed the book. However, the novel quickly made a turn for the better, and the novel went from zero to hero.

Flash forward two years later, when I’ll Give You The Sun ended up in my hands at BEA. I loved the cover, and I recalled that I adored the novelist’s first book.  Oddly enough, this book took the same road as the first: I hated it the thing at the start. Then it got better. Then I loved it. Then I was singing the praises of Nelson and proclaiming my love to the world.

This contemporary read may look fluffy and cute on the outside, but inside, the novel focuses on some very serious issues. Heartbreaking and humorous, I’ll Give You the Sun is a true treasure of 2014.

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The characters: A large majority of the characters were wonderful! I absolutely loved them! Extra snuggles for Jude and Garcia. I loved how the story portrayed two different POVs from both of the twins Noah and Jude. A lot of people liked Noah’s POV a bit more, but I found Jude’s to be more to my taste. I just get very tired of reading about whale dicks.

Going back to the topic, I am, once more, amazed by the richness of Nelson’s characters and the different voices of both of her protagonists. It was so delightful to watch the story tick down to the middle of the plot as we piece together the before and after.

As far as personal growth and bonding to a character, Jude instantly spoke to me from the moment I switched to her chapters.  She rebelled, fought against her insecurities, and came out of her messy situation as a shining star.  There was an inner energy in Jude that drew me right into her world and her head. I loved reading about the struggles she faced as a young girl trying to find her way. Her part was just beautiful.

That’s amore: Oh, the ROMANCE! I was very sorry to see that infidelity did play a role in the novel.  However, it was not the focus of the book, and the other two romances that developed was just splendid and beautiful.  I know I usually rag on a romance in the novel, but both love stories were just so tasteful! The building tension didn’t steal the spotlight from the main focus, and added a sensual flavor, since the overall mood of the novel tended to lean towards bitter and painful.  With something this heavy, the light yet sweet touch is welcomed to ward off the glumness.

Family: I can’t deny it – I LOVE a book about family and other relationships outside of romance! It brings an overall fulfillment to the novel. Sure, we love our boyfriend/girlfriend hookups, but what about other deep bonds, such as friends and family? Ask any person on the internet about their relationship with their family, and become blown away by the different levels of every emotion on thesaurus.com.  So why is family kicked to the sidelines in novels? For young adults, this is a time of transition, and your relationship with your family unit is going to change. It would be a wise idea to incorporate the different dynamics in their literature.

I’ll Give You The Sun covers a large portion of family drama. Not the bad type of drama, but the kind that makes you keep going, just to see the end of it all. Jude and Noah’s oddities and quirks were just downright adorable! I love to see eccentric sibling relationships, and Nelson delivered in this novel!

Diversity in Sexuality: I am so happy to see more authors address the GLBT audience. On top of that, the character wasn’t just a minor or secondary character, but was one of the two MAIN PROTAGONIST! YES!

ART: Not only do I highly favor music, but I downright enjoy the topic of art pop up.  I don’t mean “throw in a few references to drawing and BAM”, but an honest-to-Odin deep appreciation and passion for the practice.

Yes, We Have to Address The Adultery:  I mentioned that there is infidelity in the novel. I hate cheating – HATE IT.  But does that mean we should just totally ignore it in novels? No. There is a place and a time to weave it into a story. I generally cannot stomach stories where the main romance is cheating. I do wish, however, to see something taken away from such a relationship, which this book did not provide at the end. I flat out LOVED the guy involved in the scandal, but I did not forgive his relationship with a married woman.

Overall

This book might come across as a fluffy, light read, but I’ll Give You The Sun provides plenty of sweet and plenty of bitter.  The novel hits heavy on some important issues, such as sexuality and coming of age while lightening the mood with some very favorable romance. Don’t be fooled by the title or the cover – this book is entertaining and thought provoking. Nelson is going to absolutely stun you with her quirky characters, as well as the method to address some serious social issues.

lyn

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