I'll Give You The Sun - Review by Jenna, Teen Blogger
Art comes in an abundance of diverse mediums: paint, pencils, sculptures. Words. And all of these art forms, no matter how different, have one thing in common; they make you feel something. Jandy Nelson says “What is bad for the heart is good for art” and I’ll Give You the Sun will make you feel that in every morsel of your being in the way that great art does.
I’ll Give You the Sun follows two young artists, Noah and Jude, as they endure tragedy, endeavour to find love, and navigate life when it gets a little complicated. At thirteen years old, Noah is drawing constantly, and falling in love with the new boy next door, while his twin sister Jude dives off cliffs and parties with an older crowd. Three years later tragedy has struck, wrecking Jude and Noah, until Jude meets a cocky and broken boy she just can’t get out of her head. Slowly but surely the two halves of the story work their way into a whole.
One of the many interesting aspects of this novel is its narration style. I’ll Give You the Sun is told in the duel perspective of the twins, with Noah narrating the early years, while Jude narrates the later ones. Nelson’s decision to break it up this way and jump back and forth between early and later years give the novel a unique edge; you’re constantly wondering how the two halves of the story connect. Furthermore, I enjoyed the narration from the twins. Noah often liked to “paint in his head” and Nelson would provide glimpses of this by inserting things like “Portrait: Boy Blows into Dust” and “Landscape: When God Paints outside the Lines” which really puts readers in Noah’s imaginative shoes. Similarly, Jude became highly superstitious after the tragedy and Nelson would constantly include snippets from Grandma Sweetwine’s Bible, such as “Nothing curdles love in the heart like lemon on the tongue” and “Always walk right foot first to avert calamity, which comes at you from the left.”
Additionally, Nelson does very well to create characters and relationships that readers will genuinely care about. I wanted Noah and Jude to become NoahandJude again, I wanted the boy next door to reciprocate Noah’s love, I wanted to know more about this mysterious broken boy Jude met, and I wanted a million other things that the characters wanted. Nelson has this way of drawing readers into her book with the characters, perhaps due to the narration style mentioned above. There were instances where I had to set the book down for feelings of happiness, embarrassment, sadness, and betrayal that reflected the characters and that were too overwhelming to be ignored.
Overall, I truly enjoyed I’ll Give You the Sun and the more I think about it, the more I love it. I’ll admit, there was section in the middle I found particularly hard to get past, but once I did I was so enthralled that I finished the rest of the book in one sitting. This book can be found at Halifax Public Libraries and I highly recommend it, especially to all you artists and art enthusiasts. More reviews and pictures of art mentioned in I’ll Give You the Sun can be found at jandynelson.com.
Editor's note: Already shipping #noahandjude