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Jennifer A. Nielsen

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I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson - Review

I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

What a wonderful book! I absolutely loved this book. “I’ll Give You The Sun” has been getting rave reviews and I absolutely agree with them. I did not expect to read the most amazing story and that was good because this book does not stand out because of its story but because of its protagonists. Nelson created a fantastic book around a wonderful, dysfunctional family.


“I’ll Give You the Sun” is about “Jude and her twin brother, Noah,[who] 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.” (Goodreads)


Like I said the story itself is not outstanding. It is a story about two siblings in their teen years. They experience first love, dream about the future, and fight with each other. Their parent’s marriage is not perfect anymore. Things many teenagers experience. This book is written from Jude’s and Noah’s POV. Nelson’s smart idea was to write Noah’s POV at the time the twins were 13 while during Jude’s POV they are 16. People change. Relationships change. By putting 3 years between both POVs these changes stand out. The reader wonders what had caused these huge changes in the main character’s behavior and their relationship. This artistic element was a fantastic idea. It gives the book so much more substance and suspense.


Not only the idea was great, the execution was amazing. Nelson has a beautiful writing style. Her writing is heart-wrenching, mesmerizing, and imaginative. The chapters are on the longer side but I did not mind. I absolutely enjoyed falling into this story of love, betrayal, and anger.


The main characters Jude and Noah are twins. No matter what age they do not seem to have much in common besides their bond as twins. Interestingly, in the time from Noah’s POV to Jude’s POV they seem to have switched personalities. While at 13 Noah is kind of shy, awkward, and an outsider and Jude is a popular, outgoing girl, at 16 Noah is now the popular, rebellious teenager and Jude the outsider, who is uncomfortable in her skin. This change alone makes you wonder what happened in those three years. But also their relationship has changed. At 13 they were quite close. Of course they had their disputes but overall they talked a lot to each other and played their own little games. At 16 they hardly seem to know each other anymore. They have nothing in common and avoid each other. Some people found their hurtful actions against each other unbelievable and horrible but as someone who has two siblings, as well, I sympathized with Noah and Jude. They are teenagers. Their hormones are all over the place. They feel jealous, fight for their parents love, and also have to deal with some life events that can cause drastic actions. I understood all their actions. They were sad and mean at times but I absolutely believe that at certain times with your feelings in turmoil people will do cruel things to people they love.


Nelson’s book is a wonderful character study. She has a gift for writing about family dynamics and character changes. I guessed the story plot/twist quite early but I did not mind. The story was so fantastically well written that I cared more for the characters than the story anyway. And that is what makes the book outstanding. “I’ll Give You The Sun” is a character driven book.


Talking about the title, when I first read it I thought it meant something like “I would do everything for you”. And while that is absolutely correct and fitting for the book, it becomes a whole new meaning when you are reading the book. I love the title even more now. It is genius! The book cover might be very simplistic but since the book is character driven and otherwise quite simple, I find the cover perfect for it.


I have to say “I’ll Give You The Sun” is one of my, if not the, favorite book of the year and certainly an all time favorite. I can highly recommend this book if you like books that focus more on the protagonists and less on the story. I am sure I will pick up Nelson’s other books. She might become one of my favorite authors if her other books can keep up with this one.