Thursday, July 14, 2016

[from my book journal] I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. (from Goodreads)

What a smart idea to split a book about twins into two perspectives, Jude and Noah, past and present, or present and future. To make them practically switch lies, catalyzed by their mother's death. To have them share Oscar and Guillermo unknowingly.

It was almost too quirky for me, though the prose was beautiful. Grandma didn't really fit into the story, as Noah barely mentioned her. For some reason I liked Noah's part better, maybe because it was the  'before'.

I really liked how "I'll give you the sun" actually came about. Twin siblings dividing up the universe between then in a series of negotiations - how young, how innocent. And Jude giving up most of her share for a portrait of a boy she didn't know was real.

"I wish he were real," she says, "He's so cool-looking. He's so... I don't know... There's something..."
..."Can I have it?"
This shocks me. She's never asked for a drawing before. I'm horrible at giving them away. "For the sun, stars, oceans, and all the trees, I'll consider it," I say, knowing she'll never agree. She knows how badly I want the sun and trees. We've been dividing up the world since we were five. I'm kicking butt at the moment - universe domination is within my grasp for the first time.
"Are you kidding?" she says, standing up straight. It annoys me how tall she's getting. It's like she's being stretched at night. "That leaves me just the flowers, Noah."
Fine, I think. She'll never do it. It's settled, but it isn't. She reaches over and props up the pad, gazing at the portrait like she's expecting the English guy to speak to her.
"Okay," she says. "Trees, stars, oceans. Fine."
"And the sun, Jude."
"Oh, all, right," she says, totally surprising me. "I'll give you the sun."

I think I was so pleasantly surprised by this because I dreaded the title line being given as a (presumably empty) promise. Bartering is much more enjoyable.

Lastly, that minimalist cover art is even more impressive now you see how full of imagery the novel is and how cluttered the cover could have been.

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