I’ll Give You the Sun gives readers much more

by Hannah Haught, Editor

When we typically want to escape in books we go to fantasy or sci-fi, but when we really just want to sit down and read a book we can really relate to, realistic fiction is the clear choice. I’ll Give You The Sun delivers situations readers can connect with, along with situations some of us could only imagine.

I’ll Give You The Sun is written by Jandy Nelson, who also wrote The Sky is Everywhere.

I’ll Give You The Sun is set in the modern day fictional town of Lost Cove. The story revolves around twins, Noah and Jude Sweetwine. The story chapters switch between both twins at different ages in their lives. The story goes from one chapter with Noah at ages thirteen to fourteen to the next with Jude at sixteen. This puts an interesting spin on the plot, since the reader not only gets to see from both characters’ point of view, but also from different ages. Of course, this leaves a lot to be pieced together, but the puzzle makes the book very compelling.

The two voices narrating the book are very distinct with little quirks each character has. Many times in Noah’s chapters, he’ll explain his emotions during events by describing a painting. In Jude’s she frequently pulls out passages from her grandmother’s “bible” (A personal diary off odd superstitions) that help her find her way.

Noah is the more shy and reserved of the two twins, he feels like an outsider in his world but it’s alright because he has Jude. Noah is the yin to Jude’s yang. Jude is very adventurous and dangerous. She fits in and gets along with everyone, very much the opposite of Noah. These two complement each other though, due to their differences the story never gets slow or boring.

This book does a pretty good job of developing minor characters and making them seem realistic. Most of the minor characters go through a lot of really great character development. They learn and grow just as much as Noah and Jude do, without taking the focus away from the two main characters.

One of my favorite minor characters was Noah and Jude’s mother. She went through a lot of changes in the book and Nelson really took the time to develop her and show this different side of her through hints in the book. She is always a presence whether you can tell at the time or not and she really ties the story together. She is a very dynamic character who just had this larger and larger aura as more is learned about her.

One of the big strengths of I’ll Give You The Sun is its intense emotional impact. It builds up relationships, aspirations, and characters so beautifully then makes them all come tumbling down. This happens again and again throughout the book and there’e never one of these moments that doesn’t leave the reader either frustrated or sad. Nelson has a way of only keeping something good long enough for you to get attached to it before she writes something in to destroy it. Nelson also has a habit of working in artistic metaphors that instead of obstructing the reality, tie it together, which I really love about her work.

The book also addresses tough topics such as coming to terms with sexuality, heartbreaks, growing apart from people we love, and the deaths of family members. The realness and raw emotion of the book made it very powerful and helped leave a lasting impact.

One thing I didn’t like about the book, though, was how slow events moved in Jude’s point of view. I felt like in Noah’s chapters, the plot advanced quickly and actually seemed pretty short, but Jude’s seemed to drag on for a while. The book also left a few loose ends and resolutions to be desired. As the book started with Noah, it ended with Jude, and although I thought this to be a nice creative touch, the book didn’t quite elaborate on how Noah ended up except from the small bit in Jude’s eyes, and I think it would’ve been nice to have a chapter with Noah at age sixteen as Jude often reflected on time periods that Noah covered in her own, but it never happened the other way around.

Overall, I’ll Give You The Sun is a fantastic book that is entertaining to read from beginning to end, and does a fantastic job at tugging at your heartstrings. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a little trip into Noah and Jude’s little reality.

The book is available on Amazon for $6.70 as a paperback, $10.58 as a hardcover, and $9.99 as an audio or e-book. You can also find it in our media center to borrow.