I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy NelsonI'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books on September 16th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 371

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.

4 Stars

I’ll Give You The Sun is one of those books that has the talent of making you feel both grief-strickenly depressed and deliriously happy within 371 pages. This heartfelt contemporary focuses on a broken sibling bond and how years of miscommunication, misunderstandings, and a terrible life event tore the two unseparable twins Jude and Noah apart. This book also had me realize why I enjoy the fantasy genre more than contemporaries: It hurts less. Get ready for those feels, people.

“It’s time for second chances. It’s time to remake the world.”

It’s been a long time since a book last prevented me from peacefully going to sleep at night. Nelson basically took a sledgehammer and beat the crap out of my heart. I’ll Give You The Sun paints a painfully realistic bond of dysfunctional siblinghood and identity struggles. Most contemporary novels tackle haunting topics like bullying or rape, but the cruelty between siblings, two beings made from the same blood and flesh, … Well, I think anyone out there with brothers and/or sisters will be able to relate to this. I know I did. (Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t love this book if you’re a single child).

“I keep thinking Mom will realize that we’re at war and act like the United Nations as she’s done in the past, but she doesn’t.”

Cruelty between siblings is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen within a family, a place that is supposed to be someone’s safe haven. And we’re not talking little pranks or fights here, but actual animosity. What is incredible about this phenomenon is that you make a move against your own blood, yet it’s also the only malevolence that can be overcome by a bond stronger than friendship, especially one between twins. And I believe thisis what I’ll Give You The Sun is all about: Hope.

Two narratives guide the reader through the past events of the siblings’ lives, unravelling bit by bit where Jude and Noah went wrong – and how they can find back to each other and make amends. The writing was very visual. Nelson really painted with words, and she did so with an incredible display of humour. At times, though, she went a little overboard with the shiny rainbow language. Nevertheless, I bow before Nelson for thinking of such creative ways to express her characters’ thoughts and feelings.

“Jude’s eye-roll is a 7.2 on the Richter this time, causing the whole building to sway.”

“My heart’s bigger than a blue whale’s, which needs its own parking spot.”

In spite of their obvious flaws and their despicable behaviour towards each other, the main characters were very likeable. Though I cannot see myself ever hurting my own brother this way, I could understand their motivations and feelings to a certain extent. Noah and Jude are like night and day, very distinctive characters with different issues, but both trying to cope with a terrible loss and find their place in the great, wide world. A lot of people had trouble connecting with Jude, but for me, it was the other way around. Noah’s chapters were difficult for me to read (I don’t know whether it was the opposite gender or a personality thing, but I just had a hard time connecting with him). The plot is slow-going at first, which made it hard for me to get into the book, but the pace picks up soon enough, unfolding the full web of connections between the twins’ lives. While they’re at war with each other, both of them are also trying to figure out their own lives: Noah is torn between hiding his true self and exploring his feelings for the boy next door, whereas Jude had a bad sexual experience and has been on a BOYcott ever since. I watched with mesmerization as their storylines connected at several points without the twins noticing. 

I experienced great difficulties with the rating. For the pain, 1 star. For the happiness, 5 stars. Technically, this would make me rate the book 3 stars, but to hell with equations, math has never been my strong suit anyway. The amount of feelings this book evoked in me is more than deserving of 4 stars.

I’ll Give You The Sun will take you on an emotional and complex ride of sibling hate, self-discovery, and second chances. You will laugh. You will yell. You will weep. Keep tissues, a mug of warm herbal tea, and a sibling or a parent to hug close by.