Once in a while a book comes a long that takes your breath away. It can be rare, but when it happens it’s magical. The list of books that have left me breathless include Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Ami McKay’s The Birth House, and now Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun.
I’ll Give You the Sun is a beautifully written book that not only took my breath away, but also filled me with tingles and short-circuited my emotions. The story focuses on twins Noah and Jude, who are as different from one another as they are alike. Noah is an extrovert, preferring to live in a world of art and colour than reality, where he is teased and harassed mercilessly by his peers. His sister Jude on the other hand, is a bit of a daredevil, spending her time flirting with guys, cliff diving, and partying at the beach. Despite their differences, Noah and Jude are as close as twins can be. They finish each others sentences, feel each other’s pain, and can practically read each other’s minds.
The magic of their twin-ness and the close bond that they share is shattered, however, after a series of events in their lives during the summer that they are thirteen. Fast forward three years and Noah and Jude are barely speaking to one another. In fact, it’s almost as if the twins have switched places. At 16, Noah has become a track star and a member of the popular crowd, while Jude has retreated from the world and become obsessed with her grandmother’s book of superstitions. Both of the twins share secrets from one another, and as readers will quickly come to realize, Noah and Jude will need each other in order to finally heal.
The first thing to really wow me about this book was the writing. Jandy Nelson’s writing is absolutely stunning! Her words flowed like honey from the pages, and I couldn’t stop devouring them! I collected sentences from this book like some people collect shoes. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post to read through some of my favourites, and you’ll see just what I mean about the beauty of Nelson’s words.
The second thing that made me fall in love with this book was the characters. I loved Noah instantly. Seriously. He had me at page 1. Yes, he uses some pretty crazy metaphors and images (including blue florescent vomit at one point), but that’s what I loved about him! His view of the world is so magical and full of colour and feeling! I wish I could see the world that way! As I read, each of Noah’s triumphs, defeats, sorrows and delights completely overwhelmed me with emotion. The same can be said for Jude’s character. While I didn’t love her quite as much as Noah, she had her own unique magic. Despite her guilt and pain, what moved me most about Jude was her fighting spirit, and I cheered her on for the entire book.
There isn’t really anything else I can say about I’ll Give You the Sun that will fully express what a truly wonderful book it is. My best advice? Go pick up a copy and experience it for yourself. Marvel in it’s beauty. Feel it’s emotions. Let it leave you breathless. And once you have your breath back, make sure to share it with all of your friends.
Left Me Breathless Quotes
“I gave up practically the whole world for you,” I tell him, walking through the front door of my own love story. “The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.”
“In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I’m not.”
“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”
“To draw you must close your eyes and sing.”
“I love you,” I say to him, but it only comes out, “Hey”
“So damn much,” he says back, it only comes out, “Dude”
“The blindness lasts just a second, then the colors start flooding into me: not through my eyes but right through my skin, replacing blood and bone, muscle and sinew, until I am redorangebluegreenpurpleyellowredorangebluegreenpurpleyellow.”
“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot people,”I say. “Maybe we’re accumalating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”