This is so difficult to class, because it's not a review and it's not a recommendation. It's not a recommendation because I imagine it's going to be a lot longer, and it will involve a lot more discussing about the book, but it's not a review because it's not long enough and doesn't properly analyse the content. So call it what you want, but this is a spoiler-free discussion of Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You The Sun.
The reason I'm not doing a rec or a review of this book is because it's too good for both. A recommendation won't serve it justice and I don't think I could review it properly because it's so good.
Here's the summary-
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 book was incredible. I had no idea just how fantastic this would be. The characters, especially Noah and Jude, were so, so real. I found myself relating more to Noah, however, for several reasons, the main one being that his quiet, resigned artist's nature resonated with me. I am less like Jude, absolutely, because I'm not really out-there or extremely social (I do spend my time writing reviews for the internet, I can't be expected to uphold a perfect social life as well!). The struggle they faced trying to seek the approval of their parents was heartbreaking and realistic. I felt these kids and I felt their pains as they did.
I am also more attached to Noah as a character. He was such an amazing character. He was artistic and a little crazy, and he was so full of emotions and feelings that I could feel them bubbling over in his narration. He was so dedicated and loyal and loving, I felt like I owed it to him to fix his world for him.
In the start, I enjoyed Noah's chapters better, but towards the end, I didn't care. I couldn't get enough of both the parts of the story. It did take me a while to get used to Noah's kooky, arty metaphors and narration, but it was so interesting seeing Noah through his chapters and then Noah, older, through Jude's. I love love love the prose in this book, it's beautiful and so well thought-through and I was sucked into it.
I know from personal experience that it's so hard to write a manuscript of that length and keep up such beautiful writing, and I'm in awestruck tears. Jandy Nelson is a writing goddess.
The story, both halves of it, were so tragic and wonderful. Noah's struggles, through his quirky narration, were felt deep and I connected with him on a level every author hopes their characters connect with the reader. Jude was just as quirky in her narration, but in a completely different way to Noah. Not only has Jandy Nelson managed to write beautifully and uniquely, she managed to write beautifully and uniquely in two very distinct narrations. What she's done is what I aspire to do someday.
This book made me laugh and cry and gasp and smile until my cheeks hurt. It's so beautiful and tragic and it's definitely going onto my favourites list. For fans of Lauren Oliver (Panic, Delirium, Before I Fall) and Jennifer Niven (All Of The Bright Places), this was truly amazing and I can't accurately express how much I loved this book. My feelings are all over the place.
I highly, highly recommend this book.
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See you next week with another post!