Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
As I said on Goodreads earlier, sometimes you finish a book, and it's so good, and you feel so strongly connected with the characters that even when you know it's over, you can't quite let the book go. This is one of those books. It's the kind you finish, and then clutch to your chest in a book hug. This author got so many things right. Things about siblings, and families, and love, and grief, and hate, and art.
I knew right away that this book was different. The writing style was beautiful. I can see some people not getting it and loving it. It’s layered upon layered in metaphor. And I don’t always love so much metaphor, but in this case, it just flowed. It was natural. The writing style was both natural, yet also exaggerated. And that just worked perfectly with the story that was also both of those things.
I’m so glad I read this one when I did.  I needed it this week. I did. And I’m so glad I didn’t read it earlier to its release date when my own grief might not have mixed well with the grief going on here. There is so much loss in this book. There’s pain and then there’s pain that makes you cut through stone over night like a stone-cutting ninja sculptor warrior. So many tough things happen. There’s loss, depression, lying, cheating, affairs, and so much darkness and drama.
But there’s also this great, sarcastic sense of humor throughout everything too. There’s always a disease to think about to distract oneself from charming, leaning British artists. And there’s animal facts and stargazing, and first love too. There is some steamy romance in here (both between Jude and her leading man, and between Noah and his), mixing with the heart-wrenching break-ups and realizations. It was also a twin story, and I can’t get enough of those.
I’ve never read a YA book that discusses art like this one does. Between the painting, the street art, the drawings, the museums, the sculpting, and the stonework, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great sense of image from a book before. The artwork was leaking off the pages. I was seeing it all, and I wanted to see more.
Also important, is the romance isn’t just of the heterosexual variety. I thought Noah and Brian’s relationship was both usually more interesting than Jude and Oscar’s, and more sizzling. It was the slow building variety. And I was shipping them for so long! I was shipping Oscar and Jude too…just actually not quite as much.
I feel like I’m not even giving this book enough justice. It was powerful, strong, and unique. It’s one of my favorites of the year (I think I did vote for it on Goodreads as my favorite of the year) I give it a 10/10. Go read it.

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