There are some books that are so hard to describe and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature) is one of them. So the best thing for me to do is keep my description very brief, lest I ruin the book for you. Jude and Noah are twins. At the beginning of the book, at age 13, they are as close as twins can be, knowing how the other feels, thinking what the other thinks without verbally communicating.
Noah is a geek with few friends. He draws constantly, both in his mind and on paper. Jude is beautiful and popular, and as most teenagers will, she rebels against her mother by wearing short dresses and lots of make-up. She too has artistic talent.
Jude sees the ghost of her paternal grandmother, Grandma Sweetwine, on occasion (as did her mother). Grandma Sweetwine compiled a ‘bible’ of home remedies, superstitions and more, such as “A person in possession of a four leaf clover is able to thwart all sinister influences.” Jude believes these remedies and carries onions around for good luck or sucks lemons to dampen love.
But things change very quickly.
There are so many things that make this book special, the least of which is that Noah’s story starts at age 13 and Jude’s starts at age 16. Each of the characters have such distinct personalities. They are each hiding something major that will have a huge impact on other family members. Some of the characters seem larger than life. Noah talks in colors. Jude talks in home remedies. Grandma Sweetwine floats around in flowery dresses.
Nelson’s use of language, especially when describing what Noah sees and feels is unique. Her plot is unusual. Her characters are vivid. While I found the beginning a little slow going, by page 50 or so I didn’t want to put it down. So, if you’re looking for a book like no other that you’ve read, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson will be that book.