Format: eBook (kindle)
Length: 371 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date of Publication: 16th September, 2014
Rating: 5/5 stars
I had sworn off the YA-romance genre for a while now. Every book felt like it was written along the same writing prompt. So when Bells Book Club had I’ll Give You the Sun as the book of the month, I wasn’t sure if I would be reading it. However, late one night, I was feeling curious about the book and decided to read 10% of it and then decide if I wanted to continue it or DNF. But what a beginning it was! I didn’t stop at 10%. I in fact binge read up to 38% and only stopped because the sun was rising and my body was begging me to get some sleep! But the minute I woke up the next morning, I jumped right in and finished the book that very day! It is not wonder that it won the Printz Award, Stonewall Honor and the Bank Street’s Josette Frank Award and plenty more.
“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”
“At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are 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. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.“
The book is humorous and witty and at the same time heart-wrenchingly sad. Each sentence is filled with artistic metaphor that the reader might need some time to get used to. For example, a sentence that beings with something to the effect of “…the walls started shaking, things fell off tables, pictures fell off the walls…” and ends with “but only I noticed” is how the author decides to describe the inner turmoil of the character’s mind. Another metaphor that I loved was the description of florescent green vomit splattered over the table to explain the depth of the character’s jealousy. I adored the book for this. It made me want to drop everything and paint. It is a painter’s dream to read of all the creative ways that the twins’ minds work. Although I would understand if people categorise this book as ‘weird’, this is one of my favorite books read so far this year!
The book is told from two perspectives- Noah and Jude, ranging for about three years on a floating timeline. On the outside, both the twins appear to have similar tastes and temperaments. But as the story progresses, we see sibling rivalry, parental discord, jealousy and peer pressure act on them very differently. Noah is happy to let Jude do all the talking while Jude is happy to let Noah keep painting. But this bliss is soon shattered when they begin to compete for attention, both at home and in the outside world.
The descriptions of loss are heartbreaking. The twins’ need to protect each other even while hurting each other was true of any sibling relationship. The teenage angst, the need to fit in and the learning to navigate complex personal relationships has been beautifully rendered. Noah is coming to terms with who he is but is emotionally wrung out without any support. Jude must decide if she wants to be with the popular kids or if she wants to be true to herself. All of this must be done while competing for parental affection and trying to get into the best art school in the city. It is not easy being Noah and Jude!
Although I predicted the twist in the end, I would still consider this as a 5-star read because of how much I enjoyed reading it and all of the creativity that the author incorporated into it. The artistic process, in particular, was what made me fall in love with the book and made me finish reading it in one day flat.
Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets.
Jandy, a literary agent for many years, received a BA from Cornell University and MFAs in Poetry and Children’s Writing from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently a full-time writer, she lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of her novels.
Her work include:
- The Sky is Everywhere (2010)
- I’ll Give You the Sun (2016)
- The Fall Boys and Dizzy in Paradise (To be published)
TL;DR: A beautiful book that talks of the journey that different people go through to become the people that they are meant to become
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