Reading · Reviews/Discussions

“I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson Review

Disclaimer: I read the paperback version of this book.

I'll Give You the SunI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I liked the story for the most part, it threw me off that each chapter was from a different time period and a different character. It starts from the prospect of Noah at thirteen years of age, but for the next chapter it switches to his twin sister, Jude, three years later, and it does this for the rest of the book. If we’d read all of Noah’s parts first and then Jude’s it would have been a lot easier.

Also, even though I’m strange myself and I couldn’t begin to describe the random thoughts inside my head, being inside Noah’s head was so strange, and not always in a good way. He didn’t think like most young kids. He was often “painting in his mind”, which is not a bad thing, but then he would name whatever scene that was occurring, as if it was a painting, and sometimes it made no sense and disconnected me from the story because it didn’t seem to fit. Because the style continued throughout the book with each appearance of Noah, it did fit, but it didn’t feel like it.

Jude’s parts were much easier to understand (once I got past the fact that her parts took place three years later, and I *STILL* had trouble wrapping my brain around that) as she seemed like every moody teenage girl who hated the world and everyone in it. That being said, her connection with spirits and the conversations she had with her dead grandmother were strange at first because it made me think that this was a supernatural book and the girl had powers, but I knew it was a contemporary, so it was just another thing I had to wrap my head around.

The writing style for Jude’s chapters and Noah’s chapters were so different from one another that it was easy to see who’s perspective was who’s. They definitely didn’t share the same thoughts and feelings about things, but again, the flip-flopping of time periods threw me off a lot.

There are several controversial topics in this book: sex between teenagers, coming out and forcing someone else to come out, as well as cheating and affairs. Overall, it conveys all these topics well and we see each subject in a different perspective between the two characters, and we watch them handle it separately as well as together.

What I think I loved most about this book was that it broke the stereotypical setting I see with twins. Whenever I see twins in literature, they look exactly the same and have the same personalities. It’s easy to see the differences in the Jude and Noah’s personalities, and one of the other characters makes his surprise at their being twins known because he expected Jude (who he met second) to look “like Noah but with boobs” as she so elegantly put it.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, and I might go back through it and re-read it so that I read all of Noah’s chapters first and then all of Jude’s chapters second to understand it better because that was the main issue I had with it. I can handle the POV change, but it was the timeline change that killed me. It probably works for others, but it just did not work for me.

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