Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Review: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

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.

Date of Publication: 16 September 2014

This book is such a gem that I didn’t even know if I could write a review that could show you even half of my love for it. The writing is special because there is so much to admire about it. Jandy Nelson uses magical realism at times and I felt like it made the book feel like a piece of art with colours that grew out of it and sprayed my heart with all of its teal, crimson and lilac emotions. It’s made me want to explore magical realism to the point that I obsessively researched books with a similar style of writing only to realise that one more reason to hold this book tight is that the writing is fearless in a bold and artsy way.

 My absolute favourite part was the characters Jandy Nelson writes because of how flawed and frustrating they are – why? – well because at the end of every sentence, comma and paragraph you realise how much you care for them no matter what they do. Noah not only has a lovely name but is also one rainbow of a character with his dorkiness, passion and just this inner sweetness that I can’t describe well enough. His passion for art was a highlight because in his mind the whole world takes on a new glow, especially when he describes his drawings which add fairy light to everything as he IS an ARTIST – it’s a part of him as much as a limb or heart – In fact I’m pretty sure his heart is drawn from charcoal or painted in watercolours. He and Jude make tons and tons of mistakes that made me want to jump into their story and tell them not to do something but the thing is it’s a realistic depiction of teenagers and humans in general when they makes mistakes and learn from them- but witnessing the heavy consequences they endure was excruciating and true and mesmerising.

 Jude was a quirky character just like her brother, but in a completely different way. Her past has changed her and made her dress unlike herself, imagine her grandmother’s ghost and always follow superstitious sayings. The suspense of how she changed, since we see her brother’s perspective in the past and hers in the present, was tangible while I was reading because I needed to know why she and Noah became who they are. I really enjoyed reading from both their distinct perspectives because they both bring so much to the story and seeing them explore friendship, family and art in their own ways was insightful. Jude was such a weirdo but I liked that about her so don’t be scared off;) In the end it is a story of twins: a brother and a sister – how they fall apart and if they’ll come back together.

The family element of stories is always interesting to think about because in so many books it’s almost as though the characters don’t have a family or have lost them in a tragic way and that is not always a bad thing because it can be integral to the plot for the character to feel like a wanderer without a home or to need revenge or a family to love and support them. I really enjoyed how Rick Riordan explored family in Percy Jackson because who doesn’t think Sally Jackson with her array of blue food isn’t a wonderful mom who helped Percy become the awesome guy he is? Here, family is a central theme and it brings out a million shades of emotions in me when I think about their journey. I felt like I was the house they lived in, watching the kids grow older and the parents navigating life, and hoping with the strength of my walls that they’ll be okay because the book is that immersive (sorry for the weird analogy;)).

I will say that the first tiny bit of the book wasn’t the best beginning I’ve read but I did fall in love with the story soon so it’s barely a blimp on my radar (especially since it’s a good thing for a book to get better as it goes on rather than worse!). And to make up for it one thing I liked was how the author played with time through the two perspectives as something might happen in the past in Noah’s perspective and then it’ll cut off into Jude’s perspective and we’ll experience the impact.

There was, of course, some lovely romance in this book! I’m quite a sappy romantic but it takes a good romance for me to fall in love with it. I loved Noah’s romance – I’ve never actually read a romantic story in the perspective of a gay guy so it’s about time:P The added layer of tension made me feel like there was a literal layer of anxiety engulfing me because the “will they? Won’t they?” is so intense and ugh I could see pink hearts floating from the pages but just like Noah you can’t help but wonder if his love interest is interested in him and cross your fingers that he is. I JUST LOVED THEM SO MUCH… Jude’s love story happens with a guy I think a lot of readers will envy meeting because he’s… well… British and a photographer who believes in destiny (maybe a bit too much for me but it makes him quirky and lovely for Jude;)) and calls her an angel so yeah… pretty perfect;) In a way he felt like an actual dream guy of a YA – especially since he’s also troubled but with a really sweet Teddy bear side. So he may not be the most original love interest but I really enjoyed their relationship because when something is done well in an original book I don’t mind if he’s not one of a kind outside the book as long as I love him in the book. Plus he and Jude are so quirky together and he embraces her for all that she is that I can’t help but root for them (yay British guys who ride motorcycles ;)). Also as the story goes on new layers of complexity are added to their relationship which I personally found rejuvenating because, just like the end of the book, it’s like pieces of an epic puzzle with over a million pieces, each of a different tone and shade, coming together in a whole new way.

So from me this book gets the A* (5 stars) it deserves for showing me why I love reading.

I tried to write a slightly different kind of review where I just poured all my thoughts into it so I hope you like it:)
Thanks for reading!


  1. Loved the review! This book was absolutely amazing :) Have you read her other novel The Sky is Everywhere?

  2. I listened to this book on audiobook since I commute to my University. When I listened to it, I was kind of indifferent about it. However I really haven't been able to stop thinking about it. And I finished listening to it in May! I think I'm going to have to buy it and read it! Great review!

  3. Great review Maya! I can't wait to read Nelson's beautiful, colorful, artsy writing again. :) I will pick this and The Girl on the Train up from the library ASAP.

  4. I've had this book for the longest time now but still not got around to giving it a go :( I'm really happy to see that you ended up enjoying it though. Great review! :)