I picked up I’ll Give You the Sun when it was the Audible Daily Deal. I had it checked out from the library at the time, so I was very excited to get the audiobook. I’ll Give You the Sun is a young adult novel written by Jandy Nelson.
This is the story of a pair of twins who live in California. Noah narrates half of the story, which takes place a couple of years in the past. Jude narrates the other half, which takes place in the present day when the twins are 16 years old.
When Noah narrates, he is a gifted young artist with a quirky way of looking at the world. He is also falling in love with the boy next door, who is home from boarding school for the summer. Noah has plans to apply to the special art school, but his twin sister isn’t interested. She is much more interested in surfing and hanging out with the popular crowd.
Three years later, Noah is on the cross county team at the local public school. He is dating a girl, and he never draws anything anymore. Jude attends the school for the arts, she is obsessed with superstitions, and she doesn’t really have any friends. The twins, who used to be inseparable, are no longer friends. Something has happened to tear them apart, and it will take the entire book to get to the truth.
I’ll Give You the Sun is an amazing book. It’s about life, love, growing up, figuring out who you are, acceptance, and so much more. I really enjoyed the plot device of two separate narrators; this has been done a thousand times before, but the perspective from two different time periods was refreshing and frustrating. It was refreshing because it kept the story interesting and prolonged the suspense, but it was frustrating not knowing what the characters were thinking. In a sense, Noah and Jude are unreliable narrators because they both have secrets that they would rather not reveal. But they must acknowledge each other’s pain if they are ever going to move forward.
The Audible edition was extremely well done. Julia Whelan narrates Jude’s parts of the story, while Jesse Bernstein covers Noah’s perspective. Both readers brought appropriate amounts of enthusiasm and angst to their respective roles.
I would absolutely recommend I’ll Give You the Sun. This is one of those young adult books that will appeal to a broader audience. Noah and Jude have their flaws, but we were all teenagers once, and this makes them easy to relate to. This was a wonderful book, and I’m definitely going to add Jandy Nelson’s other book to my reading list.