At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways. But then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
About the author
Jandy Nelson (born 1965) is an American author of young adult fiction. Prior to her career as an author, Nelson worked for 13 years as a literary agent at Manus & Associates Literary Agency. She holds a BA from Cornell University as well as several MFAs. She has one in poetry from Brown University and another in children’s writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Nelson lives in San Francisco, California.
Jandy Nelson’s second novel, New York Times bestseller I’ll Give You the Sun, was published in 2014; it is about close but highly competitive twins Noah and Jude. A series of family tragedies, cruelties and misunderstandings creates a rift between the two; only after they come back together do they begin to understand themselves and set their world right again. I’ll Give You the Sun won the Printz Award, a Stonewall Honor, and Bank Street College of Education’s Josette Frank Award. It was a 2014 California Book Awards Young Adult Finalist.It was listed on numerous best-of-the-year lists, including the 2015 YALSA Top 10 Best Fiction for Young Adults.
This book is of interest for
- Young Adult
- Brother-sister bonding
Premise of the book
Noah & Jude were soft people with hearts like the seas, tides of volatile emotions, swimming through earthly life and unable to land. They see beauty in all ordinary things and whatever they decide to invest their time and love into always grows the size of Atlas. Their minds were a pandora crafted specifically for them, brimming with raw potential and overflowing with everything that blooms inside of them, doom and sorrow and so much art.
“What is bad for the heart is good for art.”
Yes, they sometimes let their jealous rampages govern them. Sometimes, they just do not listen well enough, they get enraged and jealous, they spit their grief and inward disdain at the world and at each other. Sometimes, no matter how many times they tried to bury the ugliness inside, it didn’t keep it from coming back alive, and it always showed in the way they took joy in pressing on parts of each other that are already bruised and sore from insecurities and self-doubt, like pouring saltwater into already gaping wounds.
“A broken heart is an open heart.”
They both feel things so deeply and get hurt by small things. And oftentimes, they succumb to their constant hesitance to trust others and each other for fear that if they let them in, they’ll see all the imperfections they often see in their reflection.
All of it spoke so deeply to me because I’ve seen so many slivers of myself in their feelings and actions and it wasn’t always pretty or easy. But to be honest, very little of this book was pretty or easy.
“I’m sick of being a coward. I’m sick of being on pause, of being buried and hidden, of being petrified, in both senses of the word.”
The main takeaway from this book, I believe, is that your life is going to be many periods of sadness and you can’t expect happiness to just jump into it overnight. You can’t cling onto the idea that once you achieve this or that, you’re going to unlock the secret to happiness. Happiness has never been a fixed point in one’s life but is a multifaceted and elusive state. Happiness grows back slowly, it tiptoes so quietly towards you until eventually it’s walking by your side. You’ll survive. You might be confused, a distorted version of the person you used to be, all screwed up, but you will survive. Small victories count as victories.
“I don’t want to imagine meadows, I want to run through them.”
Also, you are under no obligation to be the same person you were a year, a month, or even half an a hour ago. You have the right to change. You have the right to grow and shed off your past selves. You are still growing and there is still so much to learn. One mistake does not define your entire being and the mere fact that you recognize your flaws and push yourself to right your wrongs is outstanding.
“Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.”