Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and 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 divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. 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, fully alive, sometimes very funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Jandy Nelson received a BA from Cornell, an MFA from Brown in poetry, and another MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. A literary agent for many years, she is also a published poet. The Sky Is Everywhere is her first novel. Jandy lives in San Francisco.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m not sure what I can I tell you about I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson other than the minute you can get your hands on this book please do so… but I’m going to try and tell you why I loved this beautiful story.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next project from Ms. Nelson… if you know me, you know that The Sky is Everywhere is among my absolute all-time favorite reads, so saying I had high expectations for this story would be an understatement.
I’ll Give You The Sun is told from two different perspectives and two different timelines. We first meet Noah at the young age of 13… he’s struggling with who he is and who he thinks he should be. He doesn’t fit into the space in his family that he feels he should… not like his sister who is outgoing and sporty and “normal’. Art is his solace and something that allows him to form a bond with his mother, something that he doesn’t have with his father. But he’s also harboring a secret that he is afraid to talk about. The only thing pushing him through his days right now is the promise of attending the local private art school.
When chapter two rolls around you will already be hanging on every word Jandy has put on the page. But it pushes us ahead 3 years, and we meet Jude… the sister. She’s not just any sister though, she and Noah are twins. And at the age of 16 they are shells of the people they were when we first met them at age 13. Jude, struggling in art school and with life in general has taken to hiding behind oversized clothing, living by the wisdom her dead grandmother left her in her ‘bible’ and carrying on conversations with her dead relatives.
As the story unravels with each chapter … we learn about devastating losses, broken hearts, broken promises, jealousy and anger. But we also get to experience moments of love and laughter and hope and healing.
As usual the characters that Nelson has created jump off the pages… they are so complex and layered and the words weave back and forth culminating in such a rich and brilliantly compelling story.
And the words!! I wanted to roll around in the beautiful, amazing words!
“All right then.” He walks up to me, close, so close I could reach up and trace his scars with my finger if I wanted to. They’re like two hastily sewn seams. And I see that his brown eye has a splash of green in it and the green one a splash of brown. Like Cezanne painted them. Impressionist eyes. And his lashes are black as soot, exquisite. He’s so close I could run my fingers through his shiny , tangly brown hair, run them across the faint spidery wrinkles that fan out at his temples, across the dark worrying shadows beneath. Across his red satiny lips. I don’t think other guys’ lips are this red. And I know their faces aren’t this colorful, this vivid, this lived in, this superbly off-kilter, this brimming with dark, unpredictable music. “
There is so much I want to say about this story but I don’t want to say too much… so I’ll stop here. If you’re looking for an emotional, passionate, thought-provoking story, this is the book for you. Definitely put this on your must-have list for the fall!