Published by Walker Books Australia on April 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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From the author of The Sky Is Everywhere, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying - all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.
I’ll Give You the Sun is a vibrant story of art and emotion, described in a beautifully artistic way. There are some things that can’t be described in simple terms, like the estranged twins and the hurt and pain of losing your mother and your best friend. But this story does it’s damnedest to get those complex emotions across, through Jude and Noah’s very different point of views.
I’m not gonna lie, I’ll Give You the Sun took a while to get into. Noah’s point of view is from an artistic mind, something I can’t really relate to, and the way he puts things edges on too much of flowery prose. He describes the simplest of moments in an incredibly abstract way, illustrating the deep complexity of his emotions. He’s a man of few words, but he processes things incredibly vibrantly in his mind.
My heart leaves, hitchhikes right out of my body, heads north, catches a ferry across the Bering Sea and plants itself in Siberia with polar bears and ibex and long-horned goats until it turns into a teeny tiny glacier.
Although Noah wasn’t someone I could immediately connect with, Jude was more readily available to me. She’s obviously hurting, by navigating through the confusion of puberty and teenage life without her twin as her confidante and best friend. Jude has lost a lot of people dear to her, and we see her point of view three years into the future, as opposed to the rebellious sister that Noah tells us about. Although the timing of Noah and Jude’s story were separate, they did end up coming together in the end, helping us to understand the pain, love and loss that each of them experiences.
There are two separate love stories here, Jude, with the wild and handsome model who has captured her heart, and Noah with his feelings for his friend Brian. Noah knows that he’s gay, which is something that he’s been struggling to come out with, and part of the reason why he pushes Jude away. Their pining, pain and emotion for their beloved, and resentment towards their twin and their parents, were communicated clearly and had me wondering whether they were ever going to figure things out. But I loved how the romance wasn’t perfect, how there wasn’t insta-love and both sides took a while to figure things out. It’s this complexity in their emotions that made it feel more realistic, for things rarely ever go smoothly the first time.
“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find out minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.
Family plays a big part here, not only with the twins but also parents who are undergoing a separation. Both Noah and Jude cope in different ways, Noah who blames himself and Jude who simmers with guilt and lashes out to everyone. There’s some wonderful deeper concepts on life here, I was pleasantly surprised with how it was applied. For underneath all of the fancy descriptions, of the purple prose and the artistic way of wording things, there is a deeper message; of accepting others for how they are and for how differently they will turn out. This is what really resonated with me, how the people that you love will disappoint you but in the end you will still love them because they are simply figuring out their own story.
Beautiful artwork is spread throughout the chapters, which I really enjoyed, making the entire novel into a work of art in it’s own right.
I don’t know how this can be but it can: A painting is both exactly the same and entirely different every single time you look at it. That’s the way it is between Jude and me now.
I’ll Give You Sun is a beautiful, artistic rendition of teenage love, life, and loss told from the point of view of two estranged twins. It’s a story about finding oneself, about pursuing your passion, about staying true to oneself, about acceptance of others’ imperfections and about art. Although it was deep, meaningful and complex, I had trouble connecting with some of the flowery prose in this novel. It isn’t for everyone, but for those who can break through the artistic words and discover the deeper meaning in the story, it’s a beauty.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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