Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Early Review: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You The Sun 
by Jandy Nelson
Read: September 4 - 8, 2014
Published: September 16, 2014 by Dial (Penguin)
Source: BEA
Category: YA, contemporary, twins, dual narrative/time

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Book description: 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.

I'll Give You The Sun is the story of Noah and Jude, twins formed together in the womb, separated by misunderstandings, grief, jealousy and walls of their own making. I felt the chasm between them like a physical force, and became desperate to breach it. The lives of these two characters consumed my mind the whole time I was reading this book. I'm still thinking about them.  

The story begins as Noah's narrative when they are 13, before everything falls apart. Then it jumps to Jude's perspective at 16. When I got to the later story, I wanted to cry and scream "No. No. NO. This isn't what was supposed to happen at all!" Because they are not who they thought they'd be 3 years later - at least on the outside. Oh it hurt! I had to know what happened, and I wanted everything to be okay for them.

I adored Noah's inner monologue and the way he views the world as an artist in an explosion of images and color. He is a boy who is struggling with knowing how to be true to himself and find where he belongs. The one thing Noah has always had as a constant is his sister Jude. But with her love of surfing, expressive homemade clothes and many friends, it appears they are headed in different directions. It was hard for me to split my affections to 16 year old Jude, after being inside the head of her brother. But pretty quickly, she won me over too. I'll admit that I connected less to Jude's inner conversations with her dead grandma. I could have done with that thread, but I acutely felt her pain and loneliness mirrored in her brother's.

I'll Give You the Sun is a story you should experience for yourself, so I don't want to break down the plot further. But as expected from a Jandy Nelson book, it is filled with both painful and beautiful moments, as well as complex characters you'll love even while you're yelling at them. The strong art themes were a favorite element, and I enjoyed both romances, especially Noah's. But it was Noah and Jude's relationship that stole the book. I loved the focus on family in this story, especially a strong sibling relationship.

It took me a little time to get into the rhythm of Noah and Jude's voices, even though I fell in love with them both. Their story is told in dual time period, alternating chapters, that could get quite long. Also, once the secrets come out at the end, I thought everything wrapped quickly and rather neatly. But I was so glad to leave these characters in a better place after what they've faced. It's something I needed for them. 

I'll Give You the Sun is a book that is beautiful even when it aches. It is highly recommended and not to be missed!

Love Triangle Factor: None. It wasn't an easy journey, but it's clear who wants whom. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I hadn't actually read a synopsis for this yet, so I didn't realize that this is a twin book! Naturally I'm more interested than before! It sounds brutal and lovely and amazing and I need to read it. I LOVE the way I can feel how it affected you, which makes me want to read it even more.

  2. I'm looking forward to this one and I keep reading rave reviews like yours that make me even more excited. I really liked The Sky is Everywhere and it sounds like the things that I liked about that book are present in this one as well (focus on family, beautiful and painful moments). Great review! ~Pam

  3. I'm scared to read this. The reviews from people I trust have been so glowing and I'm not really a contemporary girl (though I do read them)...I'm afraid I'll love it...or hate it. But I'm weird. So weird.

  4. I really want to read this book, I've heard nothing but good things and I'm really happy that you enjoyed it! More motivation to pick up a Jandy Nelson book :)

    Laquesha @ BookLover2.0

  5. Gah! I totally loved this book. I need a finished copy too. I loved both Jude and Noah so much and I loved this story from the beginning to the end.

  6. i liked this

  7. I am incredibly excited to get my hands on this--though knowing my hectic schedule who knows when I'll actually get around to READING it! >.< --but I feel as if we've all been waiting for a Nelson novel ever since The Sky is Everywhere and I'm sure this won't disappoint. It seems to contain such a unique plot line and narration technique and Nelson is all about making her readers feel the feels--which I loove!--so I definitely need this in my life ASAP. Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

  8. Danny absolutely adored this one too Lauren, so now you both have me convinced that I need to pick this book up immediately! I can tell it's going to rip my heart out and stomp on it a little, but it sounds like it ends well which is encouraging. I don't know that I'd make it through all the ups and downs in their sibling relationship without things ending up better for them than they started. Beautiful review!!!

  9. Aw. This seems kind of sad :( Sniffs. But amazing review Lauren. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book :D Now I am more curious about it, hih :) And I want to know about the boys. Sigh. Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

    I knew you'd end up loving it, and so happy you did! I couldn't agree more with your review - a heartbreaking journey but oh so worth it. The writing is my favorite aspect - wow does JN have a way with words. Maybe I'll be brave enough to read TSiE at some point... ;)
    Great review as always, L.

  11. I actually know very little about this one and I'm so glad you loved it so so so much! Sibling stories are always so hard to go through since they're so easy to relate to and often portrayed in a realistic way. It's especially hard with sad stories. I would love to read about Noah and Jude. I'm glad you got used to the story and loved it so much! Gorgeous, heartfelt review, Lauren!

  12. After having loved The Sky is Everywhere so much, I cannot wait to give this one a read! It sounds like such a powerful novel - after all, aren't the powerful stories the ones that have the potential to exasperate us, to make us care deeply for the characters and their situations? It certainly sounds as though this was the case for you, and I'm hoping it's so for me as well.
    Lovely review, Lauren!

  13. I absolutely agree with how you feel about I'll Give You the Sun, Lauren! I thought it was extremely beautiful, heartbreaking and just really well done. Even though it does take a bit to get used to the storytelling, it really does pay off when you find yourself so completely consumed by the story. Really enjoyed it too!


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