“A broken heart is an open heart.”
Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult / LGBTQIAP+
Page number: 371
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.
Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
🏳️🌈 – Pride Month Read #5
Trigger warning: Suicide attempt.
*screams* THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING I COULD HAVE EVER WANTED AND MORE!! It’s a quirky novel bursting with rainbows and confetti but also ANGST. (*dramatic music*)
(SELF-PORTRAIT: Angel crying tears of stardust)
I’ll Give You the Sun is a magical book. The writing is musical and artsy and nothing less than pure creativity. I like how it takes you by surprise, just springing up all this prose out of nowhere, but its suits the characters’ thought processes so much that I adored it.
This book revolves around a pair of twins: Noah and Jude, who love each other deeply, but are not immune to ugly, green jealousy that bubbles under the surface, threatening to explode. They wreck each other, but they also strive to fix their mistakes—especially Jude.
“She scoots over so we’re shoulder to shoulder. This is us. Our pose. The smush. It’s even how we are in the ultrasound photo they took of us inside Mom and how I had us in the picture Fry ripped up yesterday. […] When I don’t draw us like this, I draw us as half-people.”
The sibling dynamic is so freaking realistic. It’s so sad how Jude and Noah each feel as though their parents have favourites. Noah is convinced that their father prefers Jude, and Jude realises that her mother possibly loves Noah more than her. This causes a lot of stress and envy between them that it eventually explodes and causes them to do terrible things to each other. Thus begins our conflict.
☀️ Noah Sweetwine
“You’re remaking the world, Noah. Drawing by drawing.”
Oh. My. God.
I’ve met very few characters that can match Noah’s unique and artistic narrative voice. He’s got these little quirks that are simply adorable! He compares his mother’s soul to a sunflower, turns people into animals to showcase their characteristics…he basically speaks in art. That’s how much it means to him.
Noah also deeply cares about his family, even if he doesn’t show it. He cares so much that he goes to great lengths to keep it together after it almost falls apart; he doesn’t want to lose more people than he already has. He’s just a kid who wants his own happy ending even when things around him are crumbling.
“Because I can see people’s souls sometimes when I draw them, I know the following: Mom has a massive sunflower for a soul so big there’s hardly any room in her for organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share a tree with its leaves on fire. And Dad has a plate of maggots for his.”
…Okay, well, maybe he doesn’t like his dad a whole lot, but hey, that’s perfectly understandable considering how he acts towards him. *shrug*
Noah knows he likes guys. Can he tell anyone? Not really, considering he gets constantly bullied anyway. But everything just seems to fade when he falls in love with Brian; my adorable son who loves space and meteors and stars and that’s just so cute??
“He carries pieces of the galaxy around in a bag.”
Brian and Noah hit it off real good. They both understand each other, they look out for each other. Two boys in a wide, scary world; but they are unafraid. (Or, at least, they don’t show it.)
The romance is so delightful?? And endearing?? They click together so well and although their story is full of bumps, their character arcs are cleverly-portrayed and well-written. You can see how much they’ve changed over the years and how they learn from their mistakes. There’s a lot of pain and misunderstanding, but there’s also unfathomable love deep inside them that they can’t contain and IT’S. FREAKIN’. CUTE.
“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
I know I’m including too many quotes but this book is so quotable, okay? I CAN’T GET OVER NOAH OR BRIAN OR THEIR ROMANCE AND I HONESTLY NEED MORE OF IT!!
☀️ Jude “CJ/Calamity Jude” Sweetwine
“It’s time for second chances. It’s time to remake the world.”
Ah, Jude. Jude, who has a very complex childhood, filled with emotions and peer pressure and the desire to prove her mother wrong, that she can be as good as she wants her to be, instead of just the kid she accidentally leaves at a museum once. (Er, was it a museum or…?)
Jude makes a lot of mistakes in her early teen years, there’s no denying that at all. But she tells the second half of the story, so we learn how regretful and upset she is about what she’s done, about how she struggles to make it right. Seeing the consequences of her actions breaks her every time, and, in search of a solution, she goes to an eccentric Colombian artist and asks him to tutor her. (Their relationship was so touching and so hilarious at the same time, I loved it.)
Jude deeply believes in everything her superstitious grandmother left her before she died; instructions for good luck and solutions to heart-break and how to tell if someone loves you in a “Bible” that she wrote. Jude will readily put onions in her pocket and slip strange rocks under her pillow if her grandmother instructs her to. (By the way, she talks to her grandmother’s ghost throughout the book and I find that so upsetting. She misses her so much that she can’t let go. *sobs*)
How to get over heart-breaking character scenes:
But her grandma’s hilarious, seriously. Just look at this:
“She continues. ‘You look like that fella, you know, whomsamacallit, Reece’s Pieces.’
Then Jude meets Oscar, and everything is a spiral of confusion and tears and unconditional love from there. This boy is one hot mess but you can’t not love him. He’s witty and flirty and incredibly daring, yet so lost. He messes around and does stupid stuff to take out his grief, but after meeting Jude, he realises that he really does need to mend his ways for good. It shows that even the most broken people can turn over a new leaf.
“A little bit of this. A little bit of that. Brown eye. Green eye. Crooked nose, crooked mouth. Lunatic smile. Chipped tooth. Scar here, scar there. It’s a puzzle.”
Their romance is such a wild ride but it also has these sweet and slow moments where they open up to each other. They both have regrets and wish to turn for the better, and they’re both so important in the other’s character development. I loved the take on the concept of soulmates too! I know it’s sorta cheesy but I find it to be such an intriguing concept when done well, and Jandy Nelson has definitely done it well!
Basically, I’m trash for this book, and I’m so happy Hana and Ellie told me to read it (no, no, they were actually like “*gasp* YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS??” so I did the light-reflecting-off-glasses-anime-thing and said “WATCH ME” but, you know, same thing) because this has so quickly climbed its way to the top of my “beauties-of-2018” list!! It’s so good it shines like glittery…confetti…or something. (Oof, that sounded better in my head. Better leave the fluttery descriptions to Noah and Jude.)
Have you read I’ll Give You the Sun? How did you feel about it?