“I’ll Give You The Sun” is a brilliant literary YA novel that I had the utmost pleasure of reading and now reviewing, but honestly, words could never explain how much I love this book.
* * All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise stated.
The first time I saw this book was in the library right after school. The first thing I noticed was the cover: plain white/off-white with streaks of color radiating outwards from the title. It was unique and immediately caught my attention. The next thing I noticed was the title: I’ll give you the sun. Being a writer myself, I thought it was a very significant statement. Like, who would I give the sun to? Why would I? What could possibly compare the sun to in value? Not that I would never need to give up the sun anyway.
If you’ve read my Books Whose Covers Lured Me In post, you’d know that my first actual thought about the book was: Wow, that cover’s really bright. And that title’s interesting. Maybe I’ll read that book one day. Then I just continued with life. Eventually, I decided to pick up the book and read the blurb.
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.
I knew instantly that I wanted to read this book. I just didn’t know if I’d actually get around to doing it (for multiple reasons). But I did start it some time this summer. I can’t specifically remember when, but I did. Then it was kind of off and on due to other priorities. These past few days, however, I’ve dedicated myself to finishing it. And now it is two o’clock in the morning and I’m an absolute mess over this book.
The story starts with Noah’s POV and alternates from his at age thirteen to Jude’s at sixteen and then back and forth throughout. The only reason I found this bit confusing was because I’d stopped reading for a while so I had to recap and remind myself what the characters did or didn’t know that I did or whatever to save myself some confusion. Other than that, I thought it was very interesting to have the story switch from past to future yet, somehow, both be present. It helped in making each of the secrets much, much juicier. The themes and topics in this novel are handled so beautifully, too. They were so well-written. The way they were tied into the plot so seamlessly was remarkable.
As the plot unfolded, I felt myself becoming more and more entranced by the twists and turns. Plus, there was the unique chemistry between each of the characters. Not to mention the individuality Jandy Nelson created for Jude and Noah. The difference in their voices isn’t something that’s easy to accomplish for a lot of writers but here, Jude and Noah were two very distinct narrators. I’ll admit that when I first started reading it, there were parts that left me confused because the description of what was happening wasn’t actually happening. The thing that wasn’t but was happening was merely being exaggerated for the purpose of creating the voice of the character, the artist’s voice.
Every bit of this book made me want to come back for more. Very few times have I read a book that made me want to laugh and cry at the same time, but this one had me cackling and choking on ugly sobs. This book was an emotional rollercoaster that I guess I technically signed up for by reading the book without a box of Kleenex nearby, despite all the warnings from people’s reviews on Goodreads. All throughout reading the book, I just couldn’t stop my mantra: Please let them be happy. Please let them be happy. I just wanted so badly for them to get a happy ending. (That’s the only thing I ever want for my favorite characters.)
This book had my attention from cover to cover and captured my heart with every portrait and self-portrait, every Sweetwine bible verse, and every little thing that Brian and Noah did that made me want to draw fan art regardless of my nonexistent talent in art. There is no doubt in my mind that reading this book is the equivalent of falling in love—enthralling, heartbreaking, uplifting—and I have fallen in love with this book. As of this moment, “I’ll Give You The Sun” has become my all-time favorite book.
Recommend? Hell yeah!
Soundtrack: “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles, just because it fits. Plus, “Hey, Jude” for Jude. Obviously.