Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Noah and Jude are twins who have been so close they only feel whole when they are with each other.  As they edge towards high school, a lot of things change.  Noah is falling in love with a boy he's met, and Jude is hanging around with popular people, being told by her mother that she's turning into that girl.  The only thing they have in common is art, although it drives them apart more than it brings them together.  They're both intensely competitive about what they create (paintings for Noah, sculptures for Jude), and both desperately want their mother to see them as the best artist in the family.  Then, so many things go wrong and everything changes yet again.  Jude and Noah have separated so far they don't even know each other anymore, and with everything falling apart, Jude has a feeling she might be able to at least fix some small part of their lives.

I will not be able to coherently review this book.  It's too good.  Jandy, what have you done?

When I first started reading this, I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.  The first narrator is Noah, and he's 13 (e don't get into Jude's 16 year old parts until much later). So I'm reading about this lost kid who sees the world in such a unique and beautiful way.  It was SO emotional.  Reading from Noah's POV was like reading the most painfully beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on.  I didn't want it end, and at the same time I hurt so bad.

I literally walked into work after a lunch break of reading and announced that I wanted to "stab myself in the chest so that I could let all my feelings pour out".  I was a mess.  Just the way Noah describes his world.... who writes like that??  Jandy does.  Only Jandy.

When people asked me who this author was, I said it was this woman named Jandy Nelson.  I met her at BEA... and she may or may not be an alien.  Just throwing that out there, because like I said, this is too good.  In a way I felt really inferior while reading it, because I couldn't help but think I could NEVER be that smart.  Or anything in the same universe as that smart.

As the book goes on, Jandy came back down to Earth.  I didn't love the last 100 pages as I did the rest of the book.  Don't get me wrong, I still really really liked them, I just would have rather read from Noah's POV the entire time.  He had much more interesting things to say, and in the end there started to be too many coincidences to be believable.  I'm all for a HEA, but I didn't want everything in this particular book to work out perfectly.  It didn't feel honest compared to the rest of the book.

But if you are thinking of picking up this book, please do!  It's in the top 3 best YA books I've ever read.  Maybe the best... I need to reflect more before I decide that.  It's worth every award it got.  It's beautiful, powerful, life-changing, and something completely different from anything I've read before.  Noah, you are my new favorite character ever.

OVERALL: Best book ever.

This Book Contains:
  • GLBT themes
  • Art
  • Death
  • Drugs
  • Drinking
  • Sex
  • Surfing
  • Art school
  • Interesting, dynamic characters

My Rating: 4/4

How I got this book: BEA
Date Published: 9/16/2014

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  1. This book was so awesome! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. The cover redesigns for both of her novels are just beautiful.

    I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy Jude's POV. I'm not a big fan of male POVs, and I enjoyed Jude's POV so much more. But that is the great thing about this novel - it is so suitable for a wide range of people.

  2. MY FAVE BOOK OF 2014. I'm so glad you had such a visceral reaction to it - that was me, too. I agree with you that I liked Noah's POV better, but as a romantic, I was kinda into Jude's world as well, and the HEA. I loved how they both found the artists within them in different ways.

    Also, yes, I bow down to Jandy. She is the best. I feel unworthy to even write about her books.