I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Published: September 16, 2014 by Dial
Summary: A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Review: I haven’t been able to stop talking about this book since I read it. I anxiously awaited its release after reading (and loving) The Sky is Everywhere, and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. Jandy Nelson writes characters that step off of the pages and into readers’ hearts. I cried along with Jude and Noah and felt their grief as if it was my own. The passion of the characters was refreshing, and I felt as if they were my friends by the end of the book. Jandy Nelson is a literary genius. This book is quirky, colorful, and different, which makes it unforgettable for me. I plan to use this in my future Methods courses, and I only reserve those reading spots for the best of the best in YAL. It crosses genres a bit (Jude talks to ghosts), and the alternating perspectives span several years in the siblings’ lives. Students and teachers will find many topics and literary qualities that are worthy of analysis and discussion.
Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Nelson touches on many life lessons in the text, and she presents them in an implicit way. (We all know that readers hate didactic texts!) I would ask my students to create a billboard: “Lessons I Learned from I’ll Give You the Sun.” Then, they could create a word map of different lessons they learned and cut out quotes or draw illustrations of scenes that taught these life lessons.
Discussion Questions: What does this story teach us about humanity?; How do the different characters cope with tragedy? What outlets (creative, emotional, etc.) do the characters use as coping mechanisms?; How does Jude and Noah’s relationship evolve throughout the text?; How does the nonlinear format impact the story?
We Flagged: “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.”
Read This If You Loved: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracey Holczer, Ask the Passengers by A.S. King