Reading Picks: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You The Sun. Jandy Nelson. Dial Books. 2014.

I’ll Give You The Sun. Jandy Nelson. Dial Books. 2014.

This incredible novel is available in the school library again, but I expect it will be checked out soon!  How I managed to grab it for a quick reread is an unfathomable mystery, but a happy opportunity for me to revisit Jandy Nelson’s second book.  Nelson is an incredible talent, and well-deserving of the praise she, and this imaginative, artistic novel, have received.  This is a young adult book in terms of characters and setting, but the language and conviction are definitely skewed for older, retrospective readers.

Jude and Noah are twins, and each tells half of the story in this novel.  Noah’s story describes age 13, when each sibling begins branching out and staking a claim – for art, for romance, for themselves.  Jude’s story is set three years later, and by age 16 both twins have seen their worlds dramatically change.  They’re barely speaking, but somewhere in the space between them are the answers and truths to bridge their fractured universes.  A good novel convinces you to like the protagonists.  In reading this novel – no exaggeration! – I fell in love with the characters.  Nelson captures the voices and personalities of these people so well that it feels like the high school story you never had, but would have jumped for without another thought.

In addition to the characterization and powerful themes, this novel has electric language.  The figurative voice – invisible museums and kaleidoscopic connections – is in the upper echelon of great writers.  It’s John Green on hyperdrive, soaked in Neruda and Whitman.  That said, Nelson is of her own, and you will undoubtedly fall hard for her, Noah, and Jude (especially Jude).  Get ahead of the cultural momentum and read this book before it explodes onto the scene!

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