Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2015
Rating: 3/5 stars
Jude and her twin Noah are close until a tragedy drives them apart. Now they are barely speaking – and both falling for boys they can’t have. Love’s complicated.
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT! After reading a number of reviews online, I decided this was a book I needed to read. But I just didn’t get the hype…. For me, it just didn’t incite the emotion it seems to have fostered in so many other people. While very prettily written, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters.
The book is split into two voices – Noah at age 13 and Jude at age 16. Noah’s story is set prior to this tragedy, and Jude’s after. We see how the twins were, and how they have been affected. I found this style a bit difficult to follow – jumping not only between voices but also between past and present felt a bit disjointed.
Noah is an aspiring artist, and his entires are interspersed with ideas for artwork, which was pretty cool. However, all the artsy references in his story, and in Jude’s, who attends an artsy school, went over my head and made it more difficult for me to connect with the characters. I really don’t have much experience with different styles of art, and it just made me feel inferior with all the convoluted explanation. (This is often the case with me – I don’t like being reminded that I don’t know everything.)
My favourite character was the tortured artist Jude goes to for help with a sculpture, Guillermo. He works in stone and his work does sound kind of cool – these gigantic sculptures symbolising love lost. Love is another theme constant throughout the novel – whether it be the twins competing for their parents’ love, the complicated love lives of adults, blooming sexuality and love at first sight. Everything tied up way too neatly at the end though; it never feels realistic enough for me when that happens. SIDE NOTE: I really enjoyed the realistic love stories in Queen of Shadows – nothing is clearcut and everything is confused, convoluted and messy as hell. It’s more fun when you are kept guessing.
I did love where the title came from: the twins played a game where they tried to obtain total domination over the world. Jude wants a portrait from Noah so desperately that she gives him the sun, and everything else, except the flowers. This is a recurring motif throughout the book – that Jude is lacking the sun. It was quite pretty.
It was a good book, but it just didn’t grab me in the way I expected it to. People who like contemporary young adult will definitely enjoy it (it is different from the herd in that it doesn’t deal with the aftermath of suicide, as so many contemporary young adults do – though this is definitely getting better!)
What are some hyped books which you just couldn’t get into?