“I’ll Give You the Sun” warms hearts
Twins are given an ally from the moment they’re born, so what would drive them to drastic measures that would shatter their connection? You could follow these extremes: pick different parental sides, kiss the other sibling’s crush, bully the other relentlessly, believe you are the other’s problem or stop trusting each other. Noah and Jude do it all.
“I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson, is a heartwarming book about change, and feelings, particularly from, and of, twins Jude and Noah. From two points of view, the story swaps from past and present, where the siblings are completely different. After their mother died they change personalities and ideals, leaving them drifting farther and farther apart.
Throughout the story, the twins are represented in their “prime times” where Noah’s point of view is from the past, when he accepted his identity, loved to do art and had the support of his mother and sister– yet Jude always had it out for him. While, on the other hand, Jude is in the present where she’s matured and regrets the past. Jude is focused on wanting to right her wrongs in the relationship that she and Noah had, as well as finally proving herself to her mother. Following her grandmother’s spirit and book for guidance.
The twins, in their respective eras, learn different—yet quite vital—information about themselves and their lives, never piecing everything together. This causes the twins to withdraw from each other and expand into the world that’s changing around them. They struggle to understand the complexity of their lives and recognize the misunderstandings in the relationship they once had but lost.
Award-winning author Jandy Nelson’s characterization of the twins, and the relatability of their lives, made her characters feel fun and real. The story’s collective representation of family, change, and emotions make the book a reeling story of sibling rivalry, falling outs, and romance—an almost textbook definition of a young adult teen based novel. The book consists of many cliffhangers where a chapter will end abruptly and swap to the other sibling to keep you reading, which is a thrilling yet annoying way to hold interest.
Noah and Jude must share the world, so the twins will occasionally play a game where they bargain aspects of the world, like the flowers, the oceans, and the sun until they can come to a compromise. But how can you find a middle ground when the sky’s the limit? The twins have to figure it out.