I would’ve given my life’s savings, a lifetime’s supply of coffee, five years of my life, and the sun to Jandy Nelson if she hadn’t waited over four years to publish her next book. I am not exaggerating; that’s how obsessed I was with her first book, The Sky is Everywhere. My heart broke every single time I remembered that Jandy Nelson only published one book. As you can probably imagine, I just about had a heart attack when I learned that I’ll Give You the Sun was finally coming out. My heart miraculously healed, and I also ended up falling in love with Jandy Nelson’s second novel.
Jandy Nelson’s second novel is also about siblings, but this time their names are Jude and Noah. They also happen to be twins. Three years ago, when the twins were thirteen, Jude and Noah were inseparable. Sure, daredevil Jude was different in every single way from quiet, passionate Noah, but the bond between the siblings was otherworldly. Now? The twins aren’t even speaking, and it seems as if they won’t ever get that bond back again. As the story of the past unfolds, a story of the present is revealing itself as well. Jude’s encounters with a beautiful boy and a surprising choice of a mentor may seem insignificant, but they are far from chance. In I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson explores first love, adolescence, and family, as well as crafting a beautiful, tragic, and sometimes funny tale that is just as spellbinding as her debut.
You know a writer has skills when he or she could make a microwave seem magical. While Jandy Nelson doesn’t specifically mention microwaves in I’ll Give You the Sun, she does make every single object in her novel glow. Jandy Nelson’s writing is beautifully poetic; each sentence is a work of art. If you loved Lennie’s narration in The Sky is Everywhere, you will love the writing of this book even more. To give you an idea of how stunning Jandy Nelson’s writing is, I’ll simply say that just about every sentence in I’ll Give You the Sun is worthy of being put on a painting.
It’s not just the writing that cements Jandy Nelson’s status of being my favorite author. She creates such beautifully broken characters that capture the reader’s heart. Jude and Noah themselves are perfect examples. While I especially wasn’t inclined to like Jude, I found myself rooting for her by the end of the story. Each character in I’ll Give You the Sun has a story to tell, and each story breaks the reader’s heart a little more. The fact that Jandy Nelson gives every character a distinct voice and strips each character down to their rawest state makes me respect her as a writer even more.
I’ll be honest: my review is definitely biased. However, don’t let that stop you from picking up this book. If you like the works of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, or Sarah Dessen, you absolutely must read I’ll Give You the Sun. Maybe you won’t love it to the extent that I do, but I guarantee you’ll be crying tears of sadness and tears of joy by the end. Trust me on this one.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (September 16th, 2014)
Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
ISBN #: 9780803734968