I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Narrated by: Julia Whelan & Jesse Bernstein
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books / Brilliance Audio
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Running Time: 12 hours and 57 minutes
Source: Purchased Audiobook
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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 ofThe Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Wow. This was amazing. It’s probably the most dynamic sibling story I’ve ever read and I love it. This is such a beautiful and tragic tale about siblings and family and the relationships we hold close to us and why. And what happens when the close changes and the why evolves.
I love how perfectly executed this was, going back and forth between twins, Noah and Jude’s points of views, one view before the rift between them and the other after. As the story plays out, the before and after are brilliantly interwoven. Brilliantly. The story is just as strong as the characters living them out, the details are all consuming and make you feel ever present as the writing fully grabs your attention in each and every word. I’m picky when it comes to contemporary and this…this was just phenomenal.
I’m saying all of this and I actually listened to the audiobook of I’ll Give You the Sun even though I have a physical copy. I actually usually read along when I listen to audiobooks but this is the first time in years that I didn’t read along, I simply listened. And oh my goodness. Just outstanding. Narrators, Julia Whelan & Jesse Bernstein are absolutely fantastic. What an experience.
I connected with Noah’s POV immediately and it took me much longer to connect with Jude in some way but I did eventually connect with Jude in a few ways and in this case, I actually like that it was a challenge to connect at first because it’s kind of a reflection, a testament to the disconnect in relationships we hold dear to us. I love how authentic the emotional anguish of a sibling relationship is portrayed here. Siblings experience so much together and so much apart… siblings love each other like no one else can and hurt each other just the same. This is a remarkable look at all of this during a very distinct period in time for these two siblings who experience so much love and so much loss and so much life and it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking and I loved it. This story explores a mosaic of relationships (siblings, daughter, son, lover, friend, mentor) which are all so colorful and rich and complex and quite frankly, these characters in this world telling this story…it’s…perfect. Noah’s point of view as a boy coming of age in his sexuality and dealing with coming out was beautifully executed. As was the relationship that each twin had with what art they created and held onto to cope through life. The relationship that one has with their artisan soul so to speak really spoke to me.
I must also point out that I love love love the line, “The end of the world begins with rain” because for me, it sums up the relation to the title, I’ll Give You the Sun so well. It’s such a loaded statement that I could dissect forever but just read this book and you’ll see. You’ll see and you’ll agree. If I’ll Give You the Sun were a landscape painting, I would give the sun to have that piece on my wall.
Finally, I’ve never wanted so badly to ink words into my skin after reading this book… highly considering getting a tattoo of the line, “I don’t want to imagine meadows. I want to run through them.” Highly considering.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is available now.