Review Blog

Jul 06 2015

I'll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

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Walker, 2015. ISBN 9781406326499
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Adolescent. Love. Twins. Art. 2015 Michael L Printz award. Josette Frank Award for Younger Readers (2015). ALA Top 10. Jude and Noah are twins and both are obsessed with Art, Jude making wonderful sand sculptures and Noah constantly drawing. They were incredibly close until a tragedy hit their family and by the time they are 16, have drawn apart. Jude has been accepted into a prestigious art school, while Noah who wasn't accepted, has abandoned his art and joined the in crowd at a different school. Then Jude meets a gorgeous boy and a famous sculptor and gradually the real story of what has happened in their lives comes to light.
I'll give you the sun is a glowing story of loss, sibling rivalry and family relationships set against a brilliant background of art. The story is told in the two voices of the twins, Noah recounting what has happened in the early years and Jude relating what is happening in the present. Noah is 13 years old, constantly seeing what is happening as pictures in his head and it is from him that we learn about the family dynamics, the jealously between the twins about their mother's attention and the sexual leanings of the characters. Jude is 16 when she recounts what is happening and from her we learn about the break in the family, her struggles with Noah and what is happening in the family 2 years after the tragedy. Binding the two stories together is the charismatic Oscar who Noah meets when he is 13 and Jude falls in love with two years later and the sculptor Guillermo, who undertakes to teach Jude how to sculpt.
With often funny dialogue, especially from Noah, Nelson's heartbreaking prose sweeps the narrative along involving the reader in the lives of the twins. The atmosphere of dedication to art that comes from Noah, Jude and their mother is a central focus for the reader who learns much about art and sculpture along the way. There are mysteries too that intrigue - why is Noah not in the prestigious school of art when he showed so much promise in the early pages of the story, what happened to make the family fall apart and who is the mysterious Ralph that the parrot next door talks about. Jandy brings all to a satisfying and haunting conclusion.
This is a book that will remain stamped on my memory. Readers who enjoy books by John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell are likely to enjoy this one.
Pat Pledger

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