Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, LGBT
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
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 review is going to be filled with spoilers. If you haven't read the book yet and you're wanting to, you probably should skip to the end and just see my rating. I'd love to hear your thoughts once you've finished it, though!
This is very much going to be a mixed review. I loved parts of this book, I just didn't love the story as a whole. I know that doesn't make much sense, but bear with me.
I'm going to start out with the things I did like about this book. I liked how interesting the characters were, although I think that they could have been explored further, and I liked the relationship between Jude and Noah. They were both very flawed characters, but not so much that they were unlikable. My one complaint with their relationship is that while in the summary it's said that they had been NoahandJude close, that's never really actually shown in the book. They're always shown as two very separate people with two very separate lives.
My main issue with this book doesn't actually have anything to do with Noah or Jude. I don't know how to put it other than this: I didn't feel good after reading this book. I felt kind of angry, and overall unsatisfied. By the time I was halfway through I'd guessed at the plot twist. Long story short, (here's where the spoilers come in) Noah and Jude's mother cheats on their father. I like how this wasn't addressed as a black or white issue, and how their mother goes from being one of their favorite people to a morally grey one. Still, I was never able to like her. From the beginning she seemed very self-centered, as much as she loved her children. She seemed to be projecting her own dreams onto them (particularly with Jude). There wasn't really a point in the book where I liked her, so I didn't really care that she died. Since Noah and Jude's mother and her relationships are what tie most of the book together, and I never felt attached to her, I never cared much about the book as a whole.
I think that I'll Give You the Sun was written pretty well, I just didn't enjoy it. It didn't leave me thinking after finishing it and I probably wouldn't recommend it to a friend. I'd definitely read some of Nelson's other work, but this book just didn't do it for me.
My favorite quote: "'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.'" (page 354)