I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
|I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
|Summary: It may take a little while to get to grips with the unique voices of the characters, but it's well worth persevering with this gem. An emotional roller coaster of a novel that explores love, relationships, desolation and hope as two twins try to find their way back to each other after a tragedy. Highly recommended.
|Date: April 2015
|Publisher: Walker Books
|External links: Author's website
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016: Older Fiction
Twins Noah and Jude used to be inseparable until tragedy tore them apart. Now Noah's changed utterly from the boy he used to be, and Jude is reduced to spying on him through his friend as she struggles with her own issues at the exclusive art school Noah was always supposed to go to, but Jude ended up at instead.
Jude's art work is a disaster. Ghosts are smashing her sculptures. Her last chance is to work in stone - a material that can't so easily be destroyed. This leads her to the workshop of Guillermo Garcia, an artist as troubled as Jude. Guillermo teaches her to coax art out of stone, while his ward Oscar might just teach Jude a thing or two about her heart.
Meanwhile, Noah narrates the story of what happened three years ago that made everything go so badly astray.
A quote on the covert describes this book as an explosion. I'm struggling to think of a more apt word. The story is a no holds barred emotional roller coaster, featuring characters as realistic as they are damaged, heartbreaking situations, and enough of a sprinkle of hope to give the whole thing a positive feel by the end, even as it drags you through a lot of darkness and misery.
I really liked the presentation of the book - from the front cover to the way the pages were decorated as if with paint, and the way the opening sentence of a chapter was often painted on, or written out in a notebook rather than typed. The whole book is designed to help you get into the mindset of the characters, making it a very immersive reading experience.
It did take me a little while to get into this one - something about the style of Noah's narration was a little difficult to adjust to. He speaks in a lot of metaphors, describing impossible things as if they are literally happening. Which is okay, but it's combined with a touch of magic realism, where you're not quite sure what's literal, and what isn't. Once I'd settled into it, I started to really enjoy the viewpoints. They really allowed you to get into the character's head, from Noah's constantly viewing everything as a potential painting, to Jude's paranoia and superstition. Even if the transitions between the voices weren't labelled with their names, it would have been easy to tell which character was speaking at any point, as their voices were utterly distinct.
I imagine teenage readers will love this, as Nelson really gets inside the teenage mindset, particularly the way her characters struggle with love and relationships. The characters and their voices are so vivid and imaginative, it's hard not to relate to them as if they were real, so despite my initial misgivings, I was still thinking about this a long time after I finished the last page. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
Fans of this may enjoy The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson.
You can read more book reviews or buy I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson at Amazon.com.
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