I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is unique and quirky novel that I would not have heard of had it not been directly told to me about. It follows the story of two twins, Noah and Jude. The two narrate two different halves of their lives: Noah narrates at age 13, while Jude narrates at the age of 16, and their stories eventually line up to tell the whole picture that is left to be discovered. While the dual narrating is not a new concept, I thought the way that it supposedly intertwined was the unique aspect. As soon as I began reading, I knew that this book was going to be an adventure-filled read. Both Noah and Jude have different narration styles, but both are rather observant teenagers who know their way around words. Noah, being the more artistic one, occasionally interrupts his narrations with names of art pieces that he ‘draws’ in his head, such as “(PORTRAIT: Mom and Dad with Screeching Tea Kettles for Heads)” (17) when his parents are arguing loudly. Another example would be when he talks about how Jude is different and more boy-savvy and he thinks of “(PORTRAIT: Jude Braiding Boy After Boy into Her Hair)” (57). In Jude’s narration, she throws in quotes that also relate to her current situation. When she is spontaneously having her picture taken, she thinks, “Every picture taken of you reduces your spirit / and shortens your life” (42).
Between Noah and Jude, I like Noah a lot more. Granted, we have read mostly Noah’s story so far and know much more about him, but he seems to be a more of a pariah than Jude, which allows for a different view on the world around him. His artistic background also contributes to this more careful and observant view of the environment, as shown when he says, “The sky’s gone blue: azure, the ocean bluer: cerulean, the trees are swirls of every hella freaking green on earth and bright thick eggy yellow is spilling over everything” (83). I appreciate his appreciation of nature, as it is something not shown as often in novels, but I think that such imagery should be included more. The colors add liveliness to the scene, and his excitement towards this scene only adds to that feeling of liveliness. His narration has plenty of poetic elements as well, as there are similes, metaphors, symbolism, and imagery constantly. One simple but strong metaphor would be when he comments, “A painting is both exactly the same and entirely different every single time you look at it. That’s the way it is between Judge and me now” (119).
Each chapter is rather lengthy, but I also enjoy it due to how much insight you get into each of their lives. The first quarter has been enjoyable, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming quarters.