Hello, friends! On 23 January, 2016 I finished the book I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. (Jeez – that’s both a mouthful and hard to type.)
Here’s what I thought!
Well, first off, this book is not anything that you thought you expected, so if you’re looking for a certain type of story, this one isn’t for you. Jandy Nelson’s writing style takes a little bit of getting used to, but (hopefully) most of you will warm up to it, and understand that she’s teaching us things within the pages. This book isn’t for a certain group of people. I mean, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to some people, especially maybe if you’re very homophobic, or if your religion is against homosexual people.
We have two main characters: Jude and Noah. Jude and Noah are fraternal twins, and they both tell a different/not-so-different story. The chapters switch perspectives.
Chapter 1: Noah, age 13.
Chapter 2: Jude, age 16.
Chapter 3: Noah, age 13
So, this book jumps from year to year, so in one of Jude’s chapters she might address something that’s happened in the past two years, but in Noah’s chapter, you’re really getting deeper into what actually happened.
Personally, I liked Noah’s chapters better. Jude’s story was pretty interesting, but I liked how deep we got with Noah.
I love how similarly their minds work. Noah called it can “overactive imagination.” I call it creativity.
You guys had better read it! It’s one of those books that really pull you out of a deep reading slump.
When I first saw this book sitting on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, I thought, “I wonder what this is about?” I opened it up and read the summary. For those of you that know the summary, you either felt uninterested or intrigued. You really can’t be in the middle with this book.
For those of you that don’t remember, here’s the part of the summary that could change your whole opinion of it:
At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door…
But this part intrigued me more than anything else. I wanted to buy this book so badly when I first saw it, but I bought Six of Crows instead. (Still loved that book, though.)
Now, here, it says that Noah “draws constantly” and I know some of you are just like, “Why put that in the summary? Wouldn’t we figure that out for ourselves?”
I think it was put in there because the difference between Jude and Noah had to be pronounced so it would seem a bit more like a Black and White story, and it is.
Or is it?
Noah As A Character
I really have a little soft spot for Noah. I was angry when I read that Jude never turned in his CSA form, and my heart swelled when he was talking about loving Brian as a thirteen-year-old. I was still with him when he shouted out that Brian was gay to Courtney, even though that was Brian’s decision to make, not his. I was upset with him when him and Brian went to woods and kissed against a tree, then Brian said that it never happened. Especially when the same thing almost happened in Noah’s room weeks later.
When he saw his mother with that man on the beach, I was in Latin class (that’s where I do the majority of my reading these days.) and I was so upset.
The part that really made me happy. Sad was when Noah and his father went out for dinner together, and bonded over things they forgot that they had in common. Noah later then realized that it had been his father’s birthday, and everyone forgot. I felt so bad for his father.
The most amazing part was when Noah’s father left for the motel with only Noah’s drawing in his suitcase. The drawing Noah gave him for his forgotten birthday.
Noah’s Big Jump
I was so surprised when Oscar came to save Noah when he was about to jump off the cliff. It was one of those unexplainable moments in books and movies, where no matter how many times the characters try to drunkenly explain what happened, the reader/audience gets only a rough idea of what went down.
This was also an opportunity for Jude to tell Oscar the truth about her. How she’s actually only sixteen years old, and how it’s a bit weird that he never knew that before.
When I first hear of Jude from Noah’s perspective, I don’t know what to think of her. There are athletic girls like that that are also good-looking and have boyfriends at my school, and I’m pretty weary of them. They are the girls that consider themselves popular, not the melodramatic makeup girls that squeal every five seconds about something super mundane. Those girls don’t even really exist. Jude, I feel, doesn’t quite know that she still seems pretty mature to other people. (I go deeper into that in the next section.) That’s why Oscar seemed so interested in her: he thought that she was in college, like him.
What really pulled me into this story in the first place is that Noah and Jude almost seem to switch personalities between the years. I mean, Jude didn’t have a slight death wish like Noah does now, but she’s a lot more like he was when they were thirteen.
That whole thing with Guillermo and the stone sculpture is that… I honestly don’t know how to discuss that with you. It’s something that Jude feels like she has to do and I really have no idea how to say anything other than: I’d like to see this sculpture.
Zephyr and Jude’s “Little Thing”
So, in Noah’s chapters, he always described Jude as being fit, with this blonde hair that goes all the way down to her lower back. If this was hard for you to picture, imagine Bridgette from Total Drama Island, or if you’re a bit younger, (If so, why are you reading this book?) then imagine Giggles from Teen Beach movie.
What really made me confused is that Zephyr didn’t know how old Jude was when he was basically raping her. He was three years older than her. She even says on page 316 when she sees him again…
“I was in eighth grade, he in eleventh–a whole year older than I even am now.”
So, this is obviously one of those I’ve-still-got-some-questions books, up there with The Book Thief, but at least it isn’t like that in a really annoying why-are-there-so-many-plot-holes? way.
Back to Zephyr (I still think of that as pronounced like zay-FEAR, but this Michael guy doesn’t sound like a Philly boy.) did he ever ask Jude how old she was? I mean, yeah, she drank (Right?) and dressed like a twenty-one year old, but didn’t some things just make him think, “Hmm, maybe this girl isn’t sixteen like I originally thought her to be. I guess the fact that her twin brother is thirteen should have given me a hint. Darn it.”
But, I think he might have known. He did beat up Noah in the very beginning with Fry, and Noah said that he probably stopped because he liked Jude.
So maybe Zephyr did rape Jude intentionally, who knows but Jandy Nelson herself? I might see if I can ask her on Goodreads.
I just want to say one thing about this: I knew from this next quote, that Dianna was Dearest, and that Guillermo was the man she was cheating with.
“I want to live in the pocket of his smock.”
That’s a Noah chapter, and it’s on page 342. I literally underlined “his smock” and wrote down Guillermo?! right next to it.
You heard it here first.
Who cares as long as you heard it here?
But after that happened, everything got so amazing. I loved reading about Noah’s mural about the new world, I especially loved him opening the suitcase of stars. I loved how they moved into The Mystery, and how well their father gets along with Melanie. I loved everything that happened at the end, with Noah and Brian walking out of the woods holding hands, and their father (I’m sorry, I don’t know his name.) realizing that his son was gay.
Overall, this books gets a five out of five stars, which doesn’t usually happen with me.
“So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen Goodnight!”
Until next time, my friends! Comment below if you can tell me what that quote (above) is from!