I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First Published: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary Romance, Death, Siblings, Family Relationships, Drama, Art
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.
Twins are fascinating.
They can tell me they have magical abilities and can read each other’s minds and feel each other’s emotions and I’m totally going to believe them. To me, the idea of sharing the same DNA with someone else is extraordinary in itself.
Jude and Noah are extremely close. They may not be alike, but they both dismiss each other’s differences to focus on what they do have in common: art. They both seek pleasure in the imagination and love with the entirety of their hearts. Too much, perhaps, seeing that a boy manages to come between the two of them.
There is quite an elevated amount of drama in this story. It is certainly not light, but it is romantic, emotional, intense, beautiful and sad. Not at all the same time, thank goodness, but it’s hard to close this book and immediately switch activities. Proof: I didn’t even intend to write this review this very day, but I’m too weak at this late hour to fight my heart on this. It wants what it wants.
No character in this book is perfect. Every single one of them is flawed in various, and sometimes unexpected, ways. Jude and Noah’s mother, for instance, appears as the incarnation of the sun itself—an ethereal being—in the beginning. But this key character proves to have dark secrets of her own, secrets that affect the twins deeply.
There is much to love about I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. The only thing I did not love, however, was the almost excruciatingly slow pacing that was omnipresent because of the lengthy descriptions and dialogs. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Jandy Nelson’s prose, which felt wonderfully familiar to me, but I sure would not have minded to be able to read this book a tiny bit faster.
I’m actually glad I haven’t read this book sooner, because studying the history of art has enabled me to pick up on the artist and painting references. Incredible! I hope you give this one a chance if you haven’t already. It will rock your heart.
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