Jul 13, 2015

Book Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Review by Eline

Jude and Noah are twins, but if you didn’t know them you wouldn’t be able to tell. The differences are as clear as day and night, yet the two of them are inseparable. Whenever one is in pain, the other knows, and when one cries the other cries with them. This is how it has always been, but not how it will always be. Three years later, something tragic has occurred, which has completely ripped this relationship apart. Barely talking anymore, both twins have become a mere shadow of who they used to be. And from the way it looks, it can’t be fixed any time soon.

The story is told by Noah and Jude, both at different times. Noah tells his part when he is 13, Jude tells hers at 16. What they don't realize however, is that neither of them knows the full story and that only half is theirs to tell. New people come into their lives and change them in ways nobody could’ve expected. Whether these changes are enough to bring them back to each other, though, is the big question.

Wow. That’s all I could think when I finished this book. Wow. I received the Dutch translation from Blossom Books, a Dutch Young Adult publisher, who I am an ambassador for. To be fair, I mostly asked for it because of the really pretty cover and how it matched with some other books on my shelves. But the longer it stood there, the more intrigued I got. So after attending a sort-of event regarding this book, I decided to get a grip and start it straight away. Everybody was so positive about this book, so it was impossible for me to hate it, right?

None of those positive reviews were a lie. This book… Pardon me if most of this review will just be me saying wow and how much I loved this. The beginning was slow and a bit weird to get into, but once I got past the first (roughly) 60 pages, I got used to it and it worked. I got attached to the characters, more than I was willing to admit, and I started experiencing the story like it was my own. The story is told in a dual point of view, but it in no way bothered me at all. Noah and Jude both had a very distinctive voice, and even if I hadn’t been told whose chapters I was reading, I would’ve known. When reading Noah’s, I didn’t want Jude’s to start because I liked Noah and his story too much, and the other way around when Jude’s began. It was quite an experience.

Now, I want to make clear that this is in no way a light book. It’s not something you just quickly read in-between books, like you do with many contemporaries. It deals with heavy subjects, but next to that all the plotlines are woven and braided together so perfectly that you do have to pay attention to see the full brilliance of it all. Once I passed the 60 pages mark, I simply couldn’t put it down anymore, and felt physically bad when I did have to put it away for a moment. This book gets to you in a way not many do, and it was on my mind whilst reading it, and long after. Like last week, for example. My mother asked me why I wouldn’t have dinner at home again, and I told her I was babysitting Oscar and had to pick him up from daycare. Nothing seems wrong with this, until you realize that the kid is called Victor, and that Oscar is a very important character in I’ll give you the sun.

I always tell people how I judge a book by whether it makes me feel something, and I still stand by this fact. The writing can be beautiful, the characters can be incredibly developed, but when I don’t feel anything whilst reading, I can’t possibly give it a 5/5 star rating. The reading experience is more important to me than anything else, and I’d take a horrible main character if that meant that the book would make me cry, or shake with laughter, or gasp in shock. With this book, I can tell you, the reading experience is amazing. I don’t think I have read a lot of books that made me feel and mostly think this much, and I love it to bits. I would definitely recommend it, and if you’re Dutch, look for the Blossom Books translation. With ease one of the best translations of a book I’ve ever read. Needless to say, I can’t wait to read The Sky Is Everywhere when the translation comes out

1 comment:

  1. What a great review. I love the way you write that it is wow. X


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