“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. If they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.”
If you’re just wondering whether or not I’d recommend this book, the answer is yes, one hundred million times yes.
“I’ll Give you the Sun” is one of my all time favorite novels. Jandy Nelson has perhaps created the most realistic characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Noah and Jude are as imperfect and confused as it gets and it’s incredibly refreshing.
Noah’s story is told from his point of view at the age of 13. Noah is an introverted young boy who plays in the shadows, while Jude is constantly the center of attention. Simultaneously, you read Jude’s point of view at age 16 following their mother’s death, where the roles have been reversed. Whilst reading, it seems that Noah’s story line couldn’t possibly lead to Jude’s, but it does—and it does so seamlessly.
Although Noah and Jude are twins, they seem incapable of communicating with one another. Their relationship is strained as they both vie for their mother’s attention. Skip forward three years, their mother has died, everything seems to be backwards and their once strained relationship now parallels those of strangers sharing a home.
Both characters go on very different journeys that eventually lead to the same place. Jude is forced to face demons from her past while trying to find a safe haven in her present. Meanwhile, Noah is attempting to come to terms with himself when everything he thought he was has been taken from him.
Nelson’s ability to weave together story lines is truly awe-inspiring. I’m not one to cry in books, but this one had me in tears by the end of it. I was a mess of emotions when I finished and I couldn’t really do anything but cry. By the end of the novel it feels like you’ve lived with these characters—that Noah and Jude aren’t just words on a page, but friends from a life long gone that you’ve only now begun to remember.
This story isn’t about romantic love or self-discovery, although those are topics that come up throughout. It’s a story about life and how unbelievably messy and confusing it can be. Life is unfair, and that’s O.K. I mean, is it ideal? No, obviously not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it