Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

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Author: Jandy Nelson
Published: Walker Books, 2015
Pages: 429
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, YA
Read more about it on Add it on Goodreads
4.5 out of 5 stars
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A story of love, loss and second chances, I’ll Give You the Sun is quite a stunner of a book. In the beginning, I was having mixed feelings about this book, but by the end… Wow! That’s all I can say. At some point, I became captivated, ensnared, and could not stop reading. I was at work and my mind kept drifting back to this book.

I became a Jandy Nelson fan after reading The Sky is Everywhere and remain a fan after reading I’ll Give You the Sun. So, going back to what I said about having mixed feelings at the start: I have heard such good things about this book, that I so wanted to like it. However, once I started reading it I thought: OMG, I’m not loving it!  Something is wrong… I can’t completely connect to this book!  I’m honestly not sure what it was. I found myself being a little thrown by the two POVs set in different years and actually found myself preferring Noahs’ POV at times – I’m not sure why, because I really didn’t like thirteen-fourteen-year-old Jude.

There were moments that had me kind of livid; the time where we find out what happens with Jude on the night that everything changes for Jude and Noahs’ family. Oh man, it makes me angry! Then there were times that I became all motherly – I may not want children, but I do have a smidgen of maternal instincts – and just kept thinking: you’re so young! Stop trying to be adults. SERIOUSLY, they were thirteen-fourteen-years-old! I think this is why I prefer sixteen-year-old Jude: she became more relateable, for me.

This book just draws you in, so I will proceed to list all that I love about I’ll Give You the Sun.

  • The Art – It just leaps of the page and – this just popped into my head as I’m writing, so as cheesy as it sounds – into my soul. (Cheesy, right?) Noah, in particular, I want to meet just so I can watch him draw. “It’s about magic.” How right he is! Every time I read about his art, it felt magical. And all I could see was colour. A kaleidoscope of colour. Each time I have met an author, I have had no idea what to say – I’m very socially awkward – but I have questions for Jandy Nelson and they are mostly concerned with art. I also find it fascinating how someone can carve an image from stone.
Isn't this beautiful?! The colours; the sun; the water; as soon as I saw this on Pixabay, it reminded me of the book.
Isn’t this beautiful?! The colours; the sun; the water; as soon as I saw this on Pixabay, it reminded me of I’ll Give You the Sun.
  • The characters – Man, are they flawed, but just like Judes’ sculptures, they are a work in progress. They do some questionable things – Jude and Noah are very competitive. They are all a little messed up, but slowly start to find their way and it is touching to read about.

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You can feel their hurt, their secrets bearing down on them and when they finally unburden themselves, unshackle themselves from what they have been keeping inside, you feel the weight lift off their shoulders.

  • Astronomy – I love that Brian (the boy across the street and love interest) may be a jock – to use the label – but is fascinated by astronomy. There’s a moment on a rooftop where he is telling Noah the story of Gemini and showing him the stars which is sweet. As someone whom has always been intrigued by astronomy – I have a telescope, people, but have no idea how to use it and sadly it’s difficult to see the stars where I live – it was lovely to see this included.

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  • Superstition – Jude – by the way, I just want to say how much I love the names Jude and Noah – becomes rather superstitious and obsessed with her grandmas’ bible, a book filled with superstitions about life. I liked reading all these quirky passages in the book. Do not let a boy give you an orange, unless you want to fall madly in love with him. Be warned. 😉

The story is compelling and will have you reading into the early hours of the morning – regardless of the fact that you have work the next day. Beautiful, moving and spellbinding, I’ll Give You the Sun is a story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

“Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or forth) chance.
Remake the world.”

So, whose read a Jandy Nelson book? She has a way with words. 

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

    1. Yes, it does have a unique writing style which can take a bit of getting use to. Nelson goes seem to know how to write flawed characters, but I suppose that makes them more ‘real’.

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  1. I’m a huge Jandy Nelson fan! I loved her first book, but something about I’ll Give You The Sun completely captivated me and left me in a book hangover for days. I’m not usually a fan of such flowery, metaphorical writing, but Jandy Nelson is magical, and I love all of her words. I want more words!

    I also preferred Noah’s chapters. I think I was more invested in his story and romance, whereas I had a harder time sympathizing with Jude, at least when she was young. I really want to re-read the book at some point to see how my perspective changes, knowing the whole story.

    I don’t have much artistic ability, but I completely agree with what you said about the art in this book. It really was magical. I don’t usually picture things as I read, but I couldn’t not picture everything in this book.

    I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

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