I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Jandy Nelson's first book, The Sky is Everywhere, is one of my all time favourite books and I've been looking forward to reading her next book since before it even had a title so I pretty much had sky high expectations for this book. Because of that, it was kind of disappointing but at the same time it wasn't?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.
Trying to review it without the comparisons is difficult. Probably because reading it without the comparisons was difficult... It was an excellent book in general, but the problem I had was that it didn't quite measure up to her first book even though it should have because it had all the same elements that made me love The Sky is Everywhere.
The writing was distinctive and beautiful. Jandy Nelson writes in a way that demands her words be noticed, and I noticed and they'll stick with me -- the book was riddled with little pieces of paper to mark pages with quotes I liked. I'm still haunted by quotes from her first book and this one will probably be no different.
And the characters...the characters were flawed and interesting and I adored them all, and their relationships were complex and beautiful. I think they were my favourite thing about the book.
I think maybe the story was where the problems were for me. On one hand, it was a great story and I loved it. But two of the big twists was predictable pretty soon after one of the characters was introduced but we had to wait ages for it to happen in the book. And for some reason, it was easy for me to put the book down and not go back to for days (even weeks at one point) -- I loved it, but it lacked that quality that makes me not want to put the book down (until the last third of the book, it hooked me when I got to that point).
See what I mean about it being difficult to review without comparisons? This review isn't really accurately conveying just how much I loved the book because my disappointment hinged purely on my expectations, it wasn't a problem with the book itself.
I genuinely think Jandy Nelson is one of the best authors of YA books out there, and I will read any book she writes and would go into it knowing nothing about it except that she's the author because that's all I need to know -- this book confirmed that for me.
It was fantastic. Did I love it as much as her first book? No. But I did love it--really, really love it--and I'd rate it 5 stars out of 5.