Review: I’ll Give You The Sun

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 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 radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

It seems like the riskiest thing an author can do when writing a book is to use an unconventional writing style. It could be loved, or it could be loathed. It depends on the reader. I’ll Give You The Sun definitely uses an uncommon writing style. Following in the footsteps of We Were Liars that I reviewed a while ago (here’s the link), scattered throughout the book are metaphors that are described in a way where the reader is meant to take them literally. Here’s a quote:

Mom picks up a knife and thrusts it into his gut, twists. Dad forges on, oblivious.

And another:

We’re sprinting at the speed of light when the ground gives way and we rise into the air as if racing up stairs.

I, personally, love this kind of style. I think it’s unique and interesting, and that it adds dramatic flair to the story. However, some people think it’s annoying, flowery and frustrating to read. I guess it’s just up to the reader.

The book is written in varying chapters between the two twins, the past written by 13 year old Noah and the present written by 16 year old Jude. Here’s one problem I had with it. The chapters were long. Really, really long. Each chapter takes up about 50 pages, and sometimes, you just get a little frustrated because you want to go back to the point of view of the other character but you have to finish this first. Then, the story you’re currently reading gets really interesting, and you forget about the other twin and then it cuts off at a cliffhanger and the cycle starts again. But I think that was just a personal thing of mine, I’ve always had trouble reading POV books.

The plot aspect of the book is amazingly original and compelling. The scene is set for 3 years ago, and then, suddenly, we are introduced to a tragedy and taken three years into the future. The twins are torn apart. Noah has gone from geeky, dorky and unpopular to cool, rebellious and the opposite of the kid he used to be. Jude is also the opposite of who she used to be, but she has gone in a different direction, becoming reserved and almost monk-like, with a vow to never love another guy again. Unfortunately, this has to be broken (duh!) when she meets the beautiful and mysterious stripper, Oscar. Or, as he is commonly referred to as in the book, Oscore.

A beautiful aspect of the book was theme of art and artistry running constantly throughout it. Sometimes, what happens with Noah and his art can he downright heartbreaking. It really sets the book apart, and makes it really interesting and original (not that it already isn’t original!). Throughout Noah’s sections, at the end of every scene, it is captured with a painting. For example:

PORTRAIT: Jude Braiding Boy After Boy into Her Hair

Or:

PORTRAIT, SELF-PORTRAIT: Brother and Sister on a Seesaw, Blindfolded

These were great. They summed up the scene amazingly, and they kept the art theme going smoothly throughout the book. They reiterated what a large part of Noah’s life art was, and they reminded us that Noah was always painting, even if it was just in his head. A great, yet subtle way to keep the “art” part in the reader’s brain throughout the novel.

All in all, this was a great book. The metaphors were great, and writing style was beautiful and the recurring topic of theme was a great way of making the characters, and in turn, the book realistic. The plot was refreshingly original, and although the chapters were a bit long, I really can’t complain.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

I’ll Give You The Sun is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.

The Info:

  • Title: I’ll Give You The Sun
  • Author: Jandy Nelson
  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (September 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734964
  • URL: Amazon, Goodreads
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