Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun By Jandy Nelson
|When I first picked up I’ll Give You The Sun, I thought, Well, I’ll probably like it because the rest of my friends did. But, it was so much more than that. All the while I couldn’t keep this thought out of my head: How can someone’s life be so full of color? This book will take you to a land of ghosts and superstitions just to slam you right back down to reality. Not one page of writing was bland, as each word had meaning that tied the entire thing together.
Twins Noah and Jude did not only grow up together, they would do everything together, from trading off the world to each other to breathing in sync. Until they turned thirteen. Jude then went from Noah’s twin to the blond girl that every guy wanted. Not to mention her daredevil style that took her to dive off of one of the highest cliffs in the area or her sudden need to wear the fashionably loudest cloths possible. Noah was quite the opposite. He’s artsy and quiet, but his art could paint a tapestry of loud.
Their mom wanted them to enter in an elite art school. Of course Noah was going to get in, everyone was sure. It’s Jude that they’re worried about.
Now, the scene shifts and you find Jude, sixteen, in the elite art school complaining internally about how the ghost of her mother topples over all of her clay sculptures. She’s a quiet girl now, and wears things like sweatshirts and sweatpants to make her invisible to all.
Noah is going to their local public school, is on the cross country running team, and now is popular, having not given a thought to his dear sketchbooks in around three years. It seems as if their personalities have swapped. From alternating perspectives–Noah (13) to Jude (16)–we see the story unfold beautifully.
I couldn’t possibly explain everything about I’ll Give You The Sun that left me spellbound, because then there wouldn’t be anything left to read. Coming from someone who wouldn’t have considered themselves a reader of realistic fiction before reading this book, that’s a lot. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Even if you aren’t one for romance, ghosts, realistic fiction, or anything particularly moving, I urge you to give it a try. You will not be disappointed.
|I chose to review I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson this book because it has great imagery, awesome metaphors, and a very moving plot.
I’ll give you the Sun is about two twins, Jude and Noah, who were very, very close when they were young. They were both artists and they liked to have competitions to see who was better. Noah drew and Jude sculpted. As the years go on though, the two kids drift apart. Jude makes other friends, but Noah doesn’t. Until he meets the new neighbor across the street.
The book is divided into two parts. Noah’s point of view, when he’s 13-14, and Jude’s point of view, when she’s 16. In Jude’s parts, their mom is dead. Jude cut off all her hair, and is living by a bible that her grandmother wrote filled with completely random ideas about life. Like, “To avoid serious injury, keep an onion in your pocket”. She seeks out the help from Guillermo Garcia, a famous sculptor, and meets someone else along the way as well. Both of whom change her life for the better.
I absolutely loved I’ll give you the Sun. The imagery sucks you into the story and never lets you go. When I read the book, I was there with all the characters. Feeling their pain. Feeling their happiness.
“The end of the world begins with rain. September washes away, then October. By November, even Dad can’t stay can’t stay on top of it, which means it’s pretty much raining inside the house as well as outside the house.”
This paragraph is from Noah’s point of view. Jandy Nelson does an amazing job at expressing how each character is feeling. Whenever Noah’s sad he talks about rain or darkness or fire. When he’s happy, he talks about light or something equally as cheerful.
There are so many metaphors in this book. They’re like glue to the story. “My sister’s a lollipop一everyone loves lollipops. And my head’s been replaced by a cabbage.” In two sentences, Nelson expresses everything Noah’s thinking in that moment. His sister is perfect and everyone loves her. And he thinks that he’s so unappealing. “I blow up the entire country. No one freaking notices.” Without me telling you, you could probably guess what this is expressing. This is also from Noah’s POV.
There is no easy way to explain how the plot draws you in. It’s a combination of the thought process of teens, the of losing a mom, and the metaphors. There are more things that moved me, but these three are very prominent. There is a certain way that teens think that is so hard to copy down on paper. But I think that Jandy Nelson found a way to have her characters be realistic and interesting. Expressing the unreasonable anger, the instant judgement, and the drama of teens. That is not an easy task.
Losing a mom is always sad in stories. It was even sadder in I’ll Give you the Sun because we know she’s dead in the second chapter during Jude’s POV, but we really don’t get to know her until much later during Noah’s POV. It is also hard because Noah was so close to her.
I would suggest this book to anybody. It has some mature content, so probably for a slightly older age group. It’s classified as realistic fiction, but it has some elements of fantasy. I think anybody would enjoy it.
Eliza Hancock is an eighth grade student at Delta Middle. She plays the piano and loves to read in her free time.