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Thursday, February 2, 2017

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Source: Own Copy

Anyone heard of this title? I'm sure you must have. "I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson is one of the most famous Young Adult books out there today. Not without reason though. Nelson explores the imagination of an artist, and writes without hesitation from the perspective of each character. She lets loss and faith seep into the page, but doesn't hold back on the joy either. Simply stated, "I'll give you the sun" is a novel to read.

Noah Sweetwine is a young, aspiring artist. At his tender early teens, he is bullied, but with his unique approach to life, he doesn't seem to care much about this experience. You see, Noah is an artist in the true sense. He feels the emotions he depicts on the page, to the extent that he describes all emotions and scenes through colour and contrast. He sees the potential for a painting or sketch in everything he looks at. Noah blends into the art he creates.

 His twin, Jude Sweetwine, is also a good artist. She doesn't seem as immersed into her drawings as her brother does though. Although they are inseparable, Jude and Noah are quite different. Jude believes in superstition and is greatly inspired by their late Grandmother. She has a great relationship with her father, which Noah has never established, and gets along quite well in social scenarios. Jude is an artist who does not let her emotions get the better of her.

 This is all before those terrible days. For example, this was before that terrible day when Noah and Jude's relationship with their mother changed. Or, this was before Noah and Jude got into a race to enter an arts school. This was all before the horrible sequence of events that followed occurred.
 Nelson alternates between both twin's points of view, and she also alternates between dates. We witness both Noah and Jude's opinions as thirteen year-olds, and then later as sixteen year olds. The author is quite good at these switches, and it adds a necessary amount of suspense to the book. It is in fact, the only element of suspense in the novel.

 I definitely didn't enjoy the plot as much as I did the writing. There are a series of dramatic and tragic events that seem to unrealistically follow each other towards the middle of the book- which I guess might be suited to the dramatic and vivid descriptions used in the book. However, I do not think that Nelson's objective here was to be realistic. Rather, I believe that her objective was to be surrealistic- and add subtle elements of fantasy to her novel. If not, she has unconsciously succeeded in this area.

 When Nelson writes from Noah's younger point-of-view, she writes with bright colours added to each feeling, and ideas for portraits in between scenes. This contrasts so greatly from Jude's older point-of-view, that it adds a new dimension to the book. Although both characters' progress greatly through the novel, we see that traits from our past are bound to slip into our present, through Nelson's representation of different times.

 Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a change. You will be shocked by the writing- which is so simple and colloquial- and impressed by the characterization. I didn't love the plot, but I am one of a few, so devour this book as soon as you can!

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