Author: Jandy Nelson
My Rating: 5 of 5
Ever since they were little, twins Jude and Noah have been dividing the world between them in a game to compete for “world domination”, just one of many aspects of their extraordinary closeness. That all changes they year they turn 14, the year Jude trades Noah the sun, moon, trees, oceans, practically the whole world for one sketch he’s drawn of a beautiful, broken young man. Three years later, the two are hardly recognizable. Noah’s given up drawing, hangs with the popular crowd, and even seems to have a girlfriend. Jude, on the other hand, hardly speaks at all, avoids boys like the plague, and refuses to wear any of the stunning dresses she’s made for herself. Worse yet, they barely speak to each other, ever. It’s only when Jude begins studying with an eccentric sculptor that things begin to come together: what went wrong, how to fix it. How to stop hiding from themselves and the world.
I absolutely LOVED I’ll Give You the Sun. It’s rare to find a book that so captures not only who the characters are, but even the flavor of how they think. I especially love Nelson’s portrayal of Noah–he thinks quite metaphorically and artistically, and this comes through absolutely brilliantly. I was honestly disappointed when the second chapter switched from 13-year-old Noah’s perspective to 16-year-old (3 years future) Jude’s perspective. Not for long, though. The alternating perspectives work toward the middle, revealing layers as they go, in a way that–in some stories–would be annoying. Not so here; the technique and the connections work beautifully and naturally, not seeming forced at all. I loved the characters–all of them, not just the main ones–and the way their artsy, angsty, slice-of-life story was incredibly credible. The emotional impact of this story is huge; I found myself feeling for the characters as if I knew them personally. There’s so much I could say, only the book says it all so much better, so yeah. For 16+ readers, I would highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun–go check it out for yourself.