I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson


This book. This book. This book is the kind of book that changes lives. I don't even know if I could explain in 20,000 characters how completely whole this book makes me feel. How utterly unprecedented it is, how magical, how truly beautiful. It's ineffable.

It's a work of art that I will never forget.

Jude and Noah are twins, best friends, one soul. Growing up, they were one person, unfinished without the other. But in only two years, they are barely speaking, unrecognizably different people than who they used to be. So what happened?

This novel, in dual narratives--Noah, starting when they were 13 and Jude when they are 16--shows just how fragile a family is, how easily it can be broken, and how complete you feel when you try to put the pieces back together.

Shit. I'm still reeling from this book. It's been so long since I've read a book that made me feel like this; like I'll never be the same again. But I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson weaves this story, so intricate, so beautiful, that it breaks your heart.

Jude and Noah have both experienced irreparable damage, both lashed out at the other, both made mistakes, both have regrets, both want to win, both want to create and destroy. But they aren't bad people. They are just lost. They are both written so intricately, so genuinely, that I loved them both. Well, most of the time. There was a period of time where I hated each of them in the other's narrative, but it all worked out in the end. It was just incredible to watch their story unfold.

If you couldn't tell already, this review is written haphazardly because my brain is so completely fried--in the best way possible. And it seems impossible to transform my thoughts into something cohesive. But if I say one thing at all about this book that makes sense, let it be this: Jandy Nelson's writing was perfect. Like legitimately perfect. I was constantly reading quotes aloud to anyone that would listen, needing everyone around me to hear how incredible it was. It was thought-provoking, chalk full of metaphors, and so real. This was the first quote that got me hooked:

She scoots over so we're shoulder to shoulder. This is us. Our pose. The smush. It's even how we are in the ultrasound photo they took of us inside Mom and how I had us in the picture Fry ripped up yesterday. Unlike most everyone else on earth, from the very first cells of us, we were together, we came here together. This is why no one hardly notices that Jude does most of the talking for both of us, why we can only play piano with all four of our hands on the keyboard and not at all alone, why we can never do Rochambeau because not once in thirteen years have we chosen differently. It's always: two rocks, two papers, two scissors. When I don't draw like this, I draw us as half-people.

And that's on page 18. Page 18, for Christ's sake! And it just got better from there. It was truly unique.

To end this illogical review, I will say is this: I want to read everything Jandy Nelson will ever write.

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