Jandy Nelson’s “I’ll Give You the Sun” is a must read

February 15, 2017

photo credit: http://jandynelson.com/

The title “I’ll Give You the Sun” has blown onto all of my social media feeds lately, but I still am heartbroken that I didn’t hear about it sooner. Written by Jandy Nelson, the book has received dozens of awards, including the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2015.
In alternating chapters, the story follows a set of twins, Noah and Jude. Noah’s story begins at the age of 13 when he and Jude are inseparable. However, when Jude begins to tell her story, the twins are 16 and barely acknowledging one another. A lot has changed in 3 years and each has a unique way of telling what they’ve been through.
The way “I’ll Give You the Sun” is told is so different from anything I’ve read before. The concept of studying a relationship between twins in contrasting stages of their teenage years is so creative and truly portrays how much people can change in a short amount of time. Also, Jandy Nelson explores the various ways people can think. Noah describes his experiences with artful metaphors, whereas Jude views life as something she can control through superstitions.
The story also depicts a gay love story, which is told so romantically, but also touches on the realities of being an LGBT teenager. Noah faces relatable challenges in terms of coming out and being accepted and, of course, the problem of finding someone who is as comfortable with their sexuality as he is.
Even though the romances in this story are impossible not to root for, I wish that either Jude or Noah hadn’t had a relationship. I think that the story is so centered on self-discovery and family discourse that adding two love stories wasn’t necessary. In my opinion, it’s important that authors don’t always push relationships on teenagers because there are plenty of readers out there who may have not fallen in love until their twenties or even later. Not every person and not every story needs love. Sometimes crushes flop.
“I’ll Give You the Sun” is a must read coming of age story that I’ve reread twice already. The characters are so easy to get attached to and the story truly becomes a part of you.

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