Title: I’ll Give You The Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: DIAL Books
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.
I know everyone has already read and talked about this book but I didn’t. A few months ago a friend of my lent me her copy and told me that I had to read it. We were starting with exams and classes got harder so I couldn’t read it until summer vacation (now)
The writing style on this book was amazing and went with the story. It was deep without being annoyingly preachy. The non-linear narrative kind of threw me off at first but it added a component to the story where you could see actions with their reasons and consequences at the same time.
I figured out the ending pretty soon into the story but that didn’t take away how much I loved it. The artistic side of the story was new to me. As a person that never had enough patience to learn to draw I was weary of reading a book where the two MCs were artists, I thought I wouldn’t get it. BUT the author explained the feelings and thoughts so well that I felt like I was the one sculpting or painting and I could see the images they described.
I especially loved the little cuts with grandma’s-bible-excerpts or painting titles.
But I think that the core of the novel is how people are intertwined within each other’s stories, how inevitable and wonderful it can be to play a supporting role to someone else.
That’s all I can say without spoilers so if you haven’t read it yet I totally recommend it if you are looking for a beautiful book with amazing and realistic characters and a plot that breaks your heart in the best way.
Jude: She grows SO MUCH. I know that’s kind of the point, since she is a main character but we see her go through a lot and she is constantly trying to be better to make things right. She has a lot of guilt over her mom but also what she did to her brother, she becomes reclusive and introverted the way she thinks she deserves to live. She lives by the “bible” but it’s just a way of hiding her own personality and she hurts so much. She is just a teenager and she makes mistakes, which I don’t excuse, but she is brave at the end. I wish she had more girl friends though, especially before she decided to get a boyfriend.
Noah: My darling baby boy. He had so much he wanted to do, so many dreams and ambitions. He lashes out once he is hurt by the circumstances, her mother’s affair and then death, his not-boyfriends rejection, his father’s perceived dislike, and the fact that he didn’t get into the school when her sister (who he saw as less talented) did get in. A lot is happening to him and he is far too young to deal with it. His way of reacting is becoming the kind of person that he disliked most, it’s an auto-inflicted punishment for slights that have nothing to do with him but he blames himself anyway. I connected with him so hard. He repressed himself the world tells queer people we ought to and I hurt my soul.
Oscar: The guy has issues, like everyone and had a particularly hard life. He tried to get by and had the help of Guillermo through it all. I loved that dynamic and how they helped each other. I didn’t feel like he had much personality though. He was a bad boy with a sad past and was there for the girl to help.
Guillermo: I loved that they made him Colombian, like, there was no reason to make it so other than there are Colombians in the world and it was perfect. He was never belittled for speaking spanish and he had a strong character . He was a joy to read.
Dad: I know he has a name but he was just a dad. He didn’t appear much other than to make his gay son feel inadequate and support her daughter against his wife. Not many thoughts about him other than he should have appeared more. He took the easy way out and distanced himself from his children that were in desperate need of adult support. He wasn’t a bad person but he WAS a bad father and a lot of the kids’ issues could have been avoided if he didn’t outright ignore them.
Mom: This is not a good book for parents. Unlike the dad, who I didn’t mind and only think he should have tried more, I actively dislike the mom. She was selfish and never stopped to think how her actions impacted other people. Everything she did was for herself and even though she loved her daughter she didn’t make an actual effort with her. All to end up dying on them and leaving a huge mess.
How Noah and Jude divided the universe between them, Guillermo says it best when he points out: you are like gods. The feeling of that little game was so intense and innocent at the same time. They understood the importance of what they were doing and still Jude gave almost everything to have Noah’s portrait, that was super sweet. It made the title a perfect fit because both of them would give the sun for each other too.
How everyone dealt with their grief on their own way. They were all affected and no one found a healthy coping method. It felt real and heartbreaking.
The whole twin dynamic was just delightful.
“In every set of twins, there is one angel, one devil. When twins are separated, their spirits seal away to find the other. The right-handed twin tells the truth, the left–handed twin tells lies (Noah and I are both left–handed.)”
This passage was SO perfect. They both lied and hurt the other but that doesn’t mean they are the devil, just that neither of them is the angel. That also touches the self-flagellation they are inflicting on themselves by hurting the other.
The creation of art. I can’t stress enough how mush I loved this. How they made art but at the same time were remade by te art itself. How Noah painted in his heads because the world was so vibrant and full of color that he couldn’t help it. How the only way to be at peace with herself was for Jude to sculpt what she felt. Guillermo so overwhelmed that he made giants. Remaking the world
The ending felt kind of rushed to me. We spend this whole book reading how each person deals with their grief, their actions and the changing relationships with one another and suddenly, once the truth is out everyone just accepts it and moves on with their life, Noah starts painting immediately, Guillermo is now happy again, their dad is seeing someone else (??), and Jude gets the boy. I think they needed more time to process everything, if the author didn’t want to write that then a clear time-skip would have done it. It just felt like everyone got over everything far too quickly.
Jude and Oscar, Jude is a rape survivor (she never consented and the boy was older than her, she had no way of saying no and that’s rape) that went through too much too young. She says it herself “I was too young”. So, for her to enter a relationship with an older guy like that doesn’t sit well with me. ESPECIALLY when Oscar saw that it wasn’t appropriate, told her so and STILL decided to go out with her after a few kisses. It could have been so much better if there was either a non-romantic relationship between them for a few years or there was a surprise reason that had him moving away for a while and they had a long distance relationship. That’s my opinion though.
The gay drama (TM), it’s not fair that we got the whole love story from the straights while the relationship between Noah and Brian was barely there. The early friendship between Noah and Brian was really funny and tied up perfectly with what they could later become, but then Noah, on a fit of anger (completely understandable) suddenly outs him? And then we don’t even get to see their reconciliation. ALSO the mom was a mess when she found out about Noah, like, you could have done a lot of things but going to see your side-guy when he tells you he doesn’t wanna talk about it right after you walked in on him is NOT the way to go
“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.”
“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
He still won’t meet my eyes.”
“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”
I’LL GIVE IT 3 SUNS