Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun
By Jandy Nelson
The best surprise when you start reading a new book is becoming completely immersed in its world. Like, when you stop reading you have to think for a moment to remember where you are because the writer has created such a richly drawn world, you forget it isn’t real. Even more surprising is when this world isn’t a high fantasy or science fiction, but a relatively simple tale about teenagers navigating the rocky years of adolescence.
Jandy Nelson’s second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, is just that type of book. In it, twins Jade and Noah share an unshakeable bond until a tumultuous summer brings it to an end. The book alternates between both characters points of view. Noah’s story begins the year before high school. Jade’s narration picks up three years later, when the consequences of the fateful summer have left the twins drastically changed and their relationship in ruins. Eventually, the stories converge in a series of revelations that provide a satisfying catharsis.
Throughout the book, Nelson’s readable, stylistic writing immerses you in both narrators’ lives. While emotions are heightened, she never forgoes the details that bring the world to life. Noah’s budding romance with the boy next door is so perfectly wrought it made me blush several times, despite its innocence, and caused me to pine alongside him when things go wrong.
I’ll Give You the Sun provides an unusual form of escapism where every decision comes with high stakes, but where even the most dramatic turn of events can maybe be resolved. A marvelous book, I recommend reading it in as close to one sitting as possible.
(The book jacket design is nearly as stunning as the story itself. Bright and bold, it begs to be read even though it is quite simple. Removing the jacket reveals a surprise detail on the case.)