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I'll Give You the Sun

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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-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.

This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Printz Award Winner Stonewall Honor Book.

371 pages, Hardcover

First published September 16, 2014

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About the author

Jandy Nelson

10 books10.7k followers
Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, received the prestigious Printz Award, Bank Street's Josette Frank Award, and is a Stonewall Book Award honor. Both Sun and her debut, The Sky Is Everywhere, have been YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks (Sun, a Top Ten on Both YALSA and Rainbow Lists) and on multiple best of the year lists including the New York Times, Time Magazine, NPR, have earned many starred reviews, and continue to enjoy great international success, collectively published in over 47 countries. I'll Give You the Sun has been sold to Warner Brothers and screenwriter Natalie Krinsky is currently writing the adaptation. Jandy, a literary agent for many years, received a BA from Cornell University and MFAs in Poetry and Children's Writing from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently a full-time writer, she lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of her novels. Visit Jandy at www.jandynelson.com. Follow her on twitter: @jandynelson or Facebook: Facebook.com/jandy.nelson. Author photo credit: Sonya Sones.

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5 stars
164,268 (50%)
4 stars
89,619 (27%)
3 stars
45,103 (13%)
2 stars
15,832 (4%)
1 star
12,147 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 30,692 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
November 30, 2022
I’LL GIVE THIS BOOK THE SUN. FIVE SUNS. More than that, if Goodreads had ever answered my impassioned plea to add a sixth star (which I sent by pony express after Ready Player One). (Pony express means mail, right? I’m a fan of that.)


How do I love thee, book? Let me count the ways. (That’s both a reference to this book and an illustration of how difficult it will be to put my intense adoration of it into, like, a semi-coherent review.) (Sidenote: I’ve never strived for anything higher than semi-coherent.)

Let’s start with the characters. God, do I love the people in this book. They are so, so, so imperfect - imperfect doesn’t even begin to cover it. They should suck, honestly. I should hate them. In fact, I should hate this whole shindig for the things that happen in it. In any other context, they’d give me second-hand embarrassment cringes so hard it’d shoot this book down to two stars. But NOT HERE. This sh*t is different.

These characters are so human. They’re so lovable and deeply good that you’d forgive them for anything. Seriously. All of them do at least one thing (and mostly more than one) that should be, like, narrative-shatteringly awful, and instead manages to make them even better. I can’t explain it. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK.

This book has alternating perspectives between 2 twins: Noah when he was 13, and Jude when she’s 16 (which is the present). Noah is so creative and talented and amazing, and Jude is such a badass and so interesting and equally amazing. Their mom’s a whirlwind, which has its ups and downs, and their dad starts off not great but becomes the best. There’s Brian, who loves space, and Guillermo, one of the greatest sculptors ever, and Oscar, who I’m not going to try to put into words. (Hands down the most inherently confusing character.) They’re all so wonderful and I wish I knew them in real life and could join their lil ragtag group of pals.

The character development is just unreal.

Also, the depiction of family is pretty amazing. (I’m going to use the words “great” and “amazing” a bajillion times in this review, AND I’M NOT GOING TO APOLOGIZE.) They can mistreat each other and fight and generally seem toxic, but they all love each other and they’re all good people. SCRATCH THAT - MAGNIFICENT people. (You thought I was done talking about how much I love these characters? Ya burnt. I’m going to spend the rest of my life talking about them. Every review from now on? Name-dropping Noah and Jude. Get used to it.)

What else, what else...the writing was just really beautiful. I’m always really happy to see that in YA. It’s pretty rare for a young adult contemporary to just be genuinely, no-holds-barred gorgeous.

And y’all know I love when my books are filled with fun facts. I wish every book had some character just inserting cool information in every once in awhile. This book? EVERY CHARACTER IS DOING THAT. There’s so much fun sh*t about superstition and art and sculpting and space in this book. Ugh. God, it’s perfect. It’s like Jandy Nelson read my mind and made this book to check all my boxes. WHAT A DREAM.

I thought there’d be one major downside. That’s the discussion of fate and ~true love~ in this book, neither of which I believe in and both of which I pretty consistently find dumb in like, every YA contemporary ever. But this book, no surprise at this point, IS DIFFERENT. It’s so well done and just makes you feel all warm inside and root for the characters. Hurray, hurray. I miss this book already.

The cherry on top, you ask? The best fictional encapsulation of and response to slut-shaming I’ve ever seen is contained within THESE VERY PAGES. When thirteen/fourteen-year-old Jude and her mom are fighting about everything, including Jude’s clothing and makeup choices, mommy dearest always asks if she reallyyyyyy wants to be “that girl.” Pretty yuck, right? The only blemish on the perfect record of this masterpiece.

But then. But then! Blemish surgically removed, or whatever. (That was really gross. I’m so sorry.) Jude has a realization. A great, perfect, better-than-cherry-on-top epiphany. I like cherries, but this is more like the lottery ticket on top, or the Zac Efron in Baywatch (a bad movie) on top. Jude realizes: “Maybe Mom was wrong about that girl after all. Because that girl spits on guys who treat her badly. Maybe it’s that girl who’s been missing. [...] I didn’t bring the bad luck to us, no matter how much it felt that way. It brought itself. It brings itself. And maybe it’s that girl who’s now brave enough to admit [it].”

A little bit of editing to remove minor spoilers, but how amazing is that?

Your clothing or your makeup don’t change who you are. They don’t prevent you from being a badass, or a good person, or brave.

God, I love this book. Read it in a couple days, and miss it already.

Can you believe how genuine this review was? That’s a testament to my loveeee for this book.

Bottom line: This is going on the all-time favorites list. EVERYONE: READ THIS PLEASE. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Even better the second time around.


reread updates

a high stakes* buddy read with lily

* because if i don't enjoy it i might finally lose my marbles once and for all

(those invested in my mental health will be delighted to know that this is still 5 stars. less delighted to know that it made me tear up and threatened to send me spiraling anyway, but you can't win them all.)
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
February 23, 2021
This book should be called I'll Give You Death by Artistic Metaphor. It seems like I'm in the minority on this one, but I did not like the writing style at all.

I guess it should be noted that I was also not a fan of the author's first novel - The Sky is Everywhere - which everyone but heartless little me seemed to love. Unlike many people I know, I picked this one up because the premise intrigued me and not because of a love for the author's previous work.

You may be thinking: this is a poetic novel about life and loss and love... how can you be so cold?! *sigh* You would not be the first. But while I appreciate that there are some good aspects to this book like the complex characters and the frank portrayal of teen sexuality, the style, the endless bloody metaphors, and the way it became heavy on the romance... all of that just did nothing but irritate me.

There was a brief moment early on when I thought I might be reading a magical realism novel because of some of the bizarre things that seemed to be happening. But, as the story unfolded, it turns out that these are actually just overly ambitious artistic metaphors that turn almost every single paragraph into a purple and downright weird mess. Check them out:

“Mom picks up a knife and thrusts it into his gut, twists. Dad forges on, oblivious.”

“Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.”

“All the hornet’s buzzed out of her. And there’s no spider to her at all.”

None of these things are actually, literally happening, of course. When I read the first few paint-splattered metaphors (hehe, that's a metaphor too!), I did my single raised eyebrow face (it's epic, I assure you), but it was when I'd read over a hundred pages of constant flowery prose that I started to feel like I'd overdosed on cotton candy. I guess it's a certain type of reader who will fall in love with this prose - in short: I am not that type of reader.

I am the kind of person who forges strong emotional connections with characters; or at least I do if the book is working its magic. But I also find it really difficult to engage with characters - who would otherwise pull me in - when the prose is so nauseatingly bloated with metaphors. Do any of you remember Shatter Me? Bloody hell... do I remember Shatter Me *silently fumes*

And it's a shame because there were moments when I came close to feeling for these characters. Noah tugged at my heart strings because of his passion for art and how he wasn't allowed to pursue it fully; Jude's feelings of guilt and grief felt like genuine pain. But I never got into their heads because I was too busy being drowned by the metaphorical prose. Plus, I'm not even going to get started on the stereotypical way the British guy is portrayed... I'll just say that we really do not use slang words in every single sentence.

The reveal at the ending can easily be guessed from reading Jude's first POV and it was a little anticlimactic. Not just because it was guessable but because it was kind of blah. I still won't give this book one star because there were some touching moments that I liked but, overall, I was pretty disappointed.

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
January 22, 2021
'maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.'

and maybe some people are just meant to love the same story over and over again. the colour and brightness this book continues to add to my life puts the sun to shame. every word is such a thing of radiant beauty, i know my soul is incapable of feeling anything other than joy when reading this. this book is true art at its finest.

i try not to have any regrets in life, but i do regret that i read this book too quickly and that it ended before i was emotionally and mentally ready. a book like this is meant to be cherished, to be savoured - but i was incapable of putting this down. i dont think ive ever read such transformative writing, it gave the story such a lyrical feel to it. i needed every word, every image, every emotion, every feeling. even if it did leave my heart a devastating wreck in the process.

also, this exchange is something i think about daily -
“i love you,” i say to him, only it comes out, “hey.”
“so damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “dude.”

5 stars
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
November 4, 2022
I turned the last page of this book into a strange, surreal feeling. I had the sudden, headlong desire to go for a walk, or bake some break, or reach out to an old friend. I felt full to the brim with something I could begin to wrap words around. Like the feeling of being in love, but not with any particular person but just in love. With the moment. I don't know. Maybe I just need to fucking lie down for a second.

That is to say, I loved this book.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 19, 2018
"I love you," I say to him, only it comes out, "Hey."

"So damn much," he says back, only it comes out, "Dude."

i think this one was also a 3.5 for me. there were things i liked SO MUCH about it, and then there were things that bothered me a little. (and not just my fear of twins this time)

first to the good.

i enjoyed the unusual structure - the fact that it alternates between the voices of twins noah and jude where noah's story takes place when they are 13 and jude's takes place when they are 16. in the three years separating the stories, a number of circumstances have driven them apart to the point where they have gone from being spookily twinclose to barely speaking.

both threads are compelling - in noah's, we see an introverted young artist falling in love for the first time; discovering that with brian, he is able to really be himself, gawky dorky bits and all. this is the first time in his life he has been able to make an emotional connection with someone he hadn't once shared a womb with, and their scenes are all giddy excitement and quiet uncertainty and incredible attraction. it is perfectly written. but things in his life are not all puppy love and romps through the woods. the twins have always been competitive for their parents' attention, and at this point in their lives, the feisty cliff-diving surfer girl jude is daddy's favorite, while the talented noah is the apple of his artist mother's eye. their parents are going through a rough patch, fighting constantly. jude is growing into a young woman and carrying her wildness and risk-taking into new realms, and she's in a reckless emotional tailspin as she begins to covet what little noah has of his own - his mother's affection, a spot at the art school he desperately wants to attend, and even brian.

three years later, so much has changed. jude is living a life of self-imposed penance, dictated by superstitious rituals, wearing only baggy jeans and sweatshirts, talking to the ghost of her dead grandmother, and on a complete boycott from boys. she is attending the school of noah's dreams, but is wracked with guilt over what she has done to get there, and what has happened between herself and noah to drive them apart.

the writing is very gimmicky in noah's thread. it is full of these little imaginative flourishes like

Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.


Mom picks up a knife and thrusts it into his gut, twists. Dad forges on, oblivious.


We're sprinting at the speed of light when the ground gives way and we rise into the air as if racing up stairs.

and he captions every scene as though it is a painting:

PORTRAIT: Jude Braiding Boy After Boy into Her Hair

PORTRAIT, SELF-PORTRAIT: Gray Noah Eating Gray Apples on Gray Grass

PORTRAIT, SELF-PORTRAIT: Brother and Sister on a Seesaw, Blindfolded

which can be cloying after a while if that kind of thing irritates you, but once you get past the first couple of instances, you just kind of roll with it and it didn't personally bother me overmuch. however, because of this writerly quirk, this is one of those books i hope they never ever try to make into a movie, because the temptation to film those bits would be there, and would be the worst kind of student-film indulgence to attempt to reproduce visually. seriously - big shudders when i think of it.

okay, now on to the other stuff that i wasn't crazy about.

oscar. oh, oscar. i assume we are meant to swoon over oscar, a boy who appears in both noah's 13-year-old and jude's 16-year-old storylines, but i just couldn't take him seriously. oscar is the boy who tests jude's boy boycot, and he's essentially just a collection of every stereotypical teen-girl dreamboy list.

- older man
- english accent
- motorcycle
- scars
- tattoos
- dark past. says things like "I'm pretty sure the things I've done are far worse than whatever it is you've done.
- bad boy vices
- romantic cheesy lines: "Your eyes are so ethereal, your whole face is. I stared at pictures of you for hours last night. You give me chills.
- leather jacket
- james dean slouch
- tomcat tendencies but oh-so capable of troo luv if given the opportunity
- tough-guy posturing but also soooo sensitive
- orphan
- enigmatic
- unconventional good looks
- charismatic and passionate speechifier: he's like a roller coaster that talks.

he's just a little silly, to me. but i am not a teenage girl, so that probably accounts for it.

here is something else that bothered me:

and another rant about something that seems to happen in every book ever and MAKES NO SENSE:

there's one or two other things that bothered me - their father's transformation, the convenient arrival of oscar at the end, that other novelistic convention of characters making revealing speeches when (ostensibly) alone that other people overhear, a couple of other things i can't recall just now…

but overall, i liked it. i don't think i looooved it as much as most people seem to, but the early scenes between noah and brian are themselves worth the price of admission. which in my case was free (thanks, nancy!) but you get my point. it's a sweet and sad little book that gets a little cloying in parts, but its heart is in the right place, and it's ultimately a charming little book.

"When Castor died," he says, "Pollux missed him too much, so he made a deal to share his immortality with him and that's how they both ended up in the sky."

"I'd do that," I say. "Totally."

"Yeah? Must be a twin thing," he says, misunderstanding.

...I feel my face flush because I'd meant him, duh, I'd share my immortality with him. I meant you, I want to holler.

sigh. NOAH!

you kick oscar's ass in the "romantic dude" contest.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.8k followers
December 26, 2015
This book was perfect and beautiful and everything.

EDIT: 04/02/2015

Quería editar este review porque aunque ya he hablado maravillas de este libro en mi canal, siento que también merece que diga aquí cuánto me gustó.

I'll Give You the Sun es un libro muy hermoso y conmovedor, lleno de cosas que no me había encontrado en otros libros. Creo que la escritura de Jandy Nelson es la razón principal por la que este libro me pareció tan arrollador. Como he dicho ya en mis videos, Jandy escribe de una manera única y llena de vida, sus palabras están cargadas de pasión y de magia y de electricidad pura. Además, tiene un talento increíble para cambiar de POV. ¿Ya ven cómo algunos autores utilizan dos perspectivas y ni siquiera se nota el cambio? ¡Con Noah y Jude se nota muchísimo! Cada uno tiene una personalidad y un estilo tan entrañable y especial que incluso si al inicio del capítulo no viniera "NOAH" o "JUDE" en grande, podrías saber quién lo está narrando. ¡Bravo por eso!

También quiero decir que aunque la familia y la hermandad son la parte más importante en esta novela (por lo menos para mí), los romances me han fascinado. La relación entre Noah y Brian me tenía fangirleando, llorando y gritando de a ratos, y la de Jude con Oscore simplemente me quitaba el aliento, ese amor que tenían ellos dos era tan fuerte, que hasta lo sentía palpable.

Además me gusta demasiado que el libro tiene su razón de llamarse "Te daría el sol", uff, lo recuerdo y se me pone la piel de gallina. No quiero spoilear por aquí, ¡pero simplemente me fascinó!

“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.”

Todo dentro de este libro me tiene enamorada. Vale la pena mencionar que Jandy Nelson le da al arte un significado más allá del que yo conocía. Claro, sé apreciar el arte, pero verla a través de los ojos de Noah y Jude fue una experiencia nueva para mí. Y ay, Guillermo, qué bello señor...

Le recomiendo a todos este libro. En español se llama: "Te daría el mundo" y lo publicará Alfaguara este 19 de Febrero.
Profile Image for Brian Yahn.
310 reviews599 followers
July 23, 2017
One of the best books I've read in a long long time, I'll Give You the Sun, gave me the chills, gave me a heart attack, gave me everything I ever wanted from a love story.

(Self-portrait: boy in love with a book)

The narrators have such fun voices, the writing and use of artistic metaphors is beautiful, and the pacing is amazing. Pretty much everything about this book is perfect. It's essentially Gone Girl meets Romeo and Juliet. The characters connect so cohesively with their incredibly dark-twisted histories that all collide into the craziest, most fulfilling love story ever.

Jandy Nelson, thank you. I needed this.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,209 reviews19.7k followers
February 18, 2019
It’s reread no: 4 and I don’t know how this book still has the ability to make me feel the way I do right now. Like I believe anything is possible and magic is tangible. It’s healing. I can never seem to get enough of it. Slice of heaven of a book if there ever was one.

Original review
My heart. Words will fail me. This book did something to my soul. My heart exploded about a hundred times whilst reading it and I cannot express how much I loved it! How much I'll continue to love it. It was expressive, imaginative, and so god-damn gorgeous. I want to bask it its beauty forever. Everything about it just worked! I was gushing throughout the entire thing, internally weeping, because it was just perfect. Utter perfection. Sublime. I absolutely drowned in it and had no intention to come back up.

It's the type of book you want to shove into everyone's hands, urging them to read it, so they can relish in its beauty. It left me with a renewed sense of wonder for the world, about people, our capabilities, myself. It's tragic and it breaks you, and it puts you back together again in the best possible way. And what's better is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to pick it back up again.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,642 followers
February 26, 2018
5 Stars

Overview: Fourth Read:

This is my favorite book.

It’s a blanket statement—of course. Ask any bookworm their favorite book and we’ll either ask for more parameters (“What genre? Classics too? Of all time or this year?”) or rattle off four or five. While I’m certainly guilty of that, every time I answer I see this cover in my mind. This is my favorite book.

Sometimes I wish it was something else. Something akin to Joyce or Tolstoy, so I’d sound a little smarter. Or maybe something not classified as Young-Adult, as I’ve slowly grown out of the age range. Or maybe just something where the protagonist doesn’t use the phrase ‘toilet-licking’ as an expletive on the first page.

But I also don’t want it to be anything else?


I understand the critiques, the one-star reviews, and criticisms. These opinions are certainly valid. And I understand

The writing style is as artistic as the characters and the whole book drips with prose. The metaphors are eccentric, dramatic, and consistent. If you don’t like the writing style, you won’t like the book.

(And I feel so very, very sorry for you.)

”Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you've been in before--you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers. You could find your way around in the dark if you had to."


“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”

It’s okay, because not every book is for everyone. But this one is for me.

Or at least, that’s what it felt like. Maybe one day I’ll be able to explain my deeply personal love for this book. How I hadn’t really read a book in three-years, before picking this one up on a whim. How it was one of the first LGBT+ books I read when I was in the middle of realizing I wasn’t 100% straight. How this book made me feel known and helped me process the world around me.

But all I can say is this: It reignited my love of reading.

I find the writing beautiful, vivid, creative and something about it just works.

Jandy Nelson manages to take all the mixed up feelings of being a teenager and somehow puts them into words. That emotion I never could quite name was beautifully illustrated in a way that made my chest ache.

“People die, I think, but your relationship with them doesn't. It continues and is ever-changing.”

Noah and Jude are twins who used to be inseparable, but have grown apart as tragedy hits their family. They are completely different, completely dynamic characters. Their progression is some of my favorite character development ever and I loved them both. (Noah seems to be the fan-favorite, but I will defend Jude to the death.)

I have no artistic ability whatsoever, but the relationship both characters have with art was astounding. Noah especially captures moments in his life by determining how he'd paint them, and what he would name the piece. It’s a compelling way of moving the story forward that matches the imaginative style.

“What is bad for the heart is good for art. The terrible irony of our lives as artists.”

One of the romances happens very quickly. And one of the love-interests is a mash up of several bad-boy archetypes. I understand why some wouldn’t like this.

…but the book is completely aware of it??

Nelson subverts the tropes, in my opinion. Noah’s whirlwind of feelings is a tool for showing his character mature, as the scope of his emotions change as the romance unwinds. Because the focus is on Jude’s development and her coming into her own self, her perception of her love interest changes and evolves with her. There’s a strong focus on mutual support and respect, while still being able to laugh and love.

“I don’t want a split-apart,” I say. “I think I need my own soul.”

The characters make mistakes and some of their actions are horrible. I won’t excuse them, but I’m not supposed to. These actions have consequences that affect all their relationships.

At its core, this book is about family dynamics. The ever-changing, complicated mess that reminds us how interwoven our lives are. But it’s not condescending or over-the-top, as it discusses these important issues with brevity and humor.

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

In summary:

Recommending this book is odd. Not because I worry about negative opinions or criticisms--- like I said, I understand those, and they are valid. But because I have a separate, personal love for this book.

But it takes a pretty damn remarkable book to make me love it so deeply… I think my personal love stems from how special this book is artistically.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
January 29, 2021
“Maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people. Maybe we’re accumulating 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.”

This novel started out weird and confusing and colourful. It took me a while to adjust to the style of writing and a few pages in I finally started to understand what was actually going on. It was still weird and colourful, but not confusing anymore.
I fell in love with the characters, all of them. I normally have difficulties picturing a book's characters, like really seeing them in front of me, but not this time. I could actually perfectly imagine all of them, head to toe, and it was amazing.
There are so many thoughts in my head but I can't really put them into words, especially not in English words so let me just say that this book was beautiful, in every way.

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Profile Image for Alice Oseman.
Author 51 books76.8k followers
March 22, 2016
I don't usually like to leave reviews or rate books on goodreads anymore but I just had to for this one... rare is the book that can so subtly capture the visual, spiritual, and emotional beauty of life and love and the whole world. And despite all the terrible, awful mistakes they made, I loved Noah and Jude so much. The writing style is genuinely like painting, or like sculpting, or both... this book really is art. You can tell Jandy put her whole soul into this and I completely look up to her.
Profile Image for Miranda Lynn.
789 reviews96 followers
August 20, 2014
DNF after 116 pages.

I feel like I'm probably going to get shot for this, considering the (currently) 4.30 rating and plethora of rave reviews on Goodreads...but I honestly really did not like this book. I made it to page 116 before I had to give up because I just couldn't take it anymore. I kept hoping that it would get better or that I was missing something that would somehow finally click — but it never did. This book is just  not for me .

First of all, the chapters are so long. I don't think I've ever read a YA book that had chapters this long. I mean, I made it to page 116 and I was still on the third chapter. How is that even possible? It made the whole thing even more torturous, because I felt trapped, like it was forcing me to keep reading and reading and reading when I really didn't want to.

My biggest problem with the book was its writing style. Normally I'm a fan of unique and different writing styles (i.e. the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi), but I could not stand how this book was written. I thought that it sounded a little immature (not helped by the fact that one of the characters is 13, which in my opinion is too young for YA — I prefer the characters to be at least 15-16), and it all seemed very herky-jerky, like the prose version of "shaky cam," and had some super weird hyperbolic metaphors that seemed kind of pointless and just plain weird (like when one of the characters said that he threw up bright green puke all over the dinner table...but, like, he didn't actually do that). The word "toilet-licking" was also used no less than 8 times in the first hundred pages (as in, another word for "stupid." Like: "this conversation is so toilet-licking, I hate it.") I just...umm...what??

There also wasn't really a plot. Sometimes a plotless book can be fine...I like being able to simply sit in a character's head and experience their life. If it's well-written. But I was very bored with this book. Nothing happened. And the male protagonist came off as really annoying to me with his constant complaining and general immaturity. If there's nothing going on and the protagonist is unlikable...it's hard for me to be able to like that kind of book. There's nothing for me to connect with or enjoy.

Ultimately, while I think that this book had potential — I really liked the idea of alternating perspectives of twins at different ages (one is in the past and one is in the present) — and I appreciate it's LGBT content, I could not get into this book enough to keep reading. It might've somehow ended up being great if I'd managed to get beyond the third chapter, but unfortunately this book and I did not get along.

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,194 followers
April 29, 2020
3 stars

Okay, for starters I am so proud for finishing this book in the exam session.

Probably by now you all know what I'll Give You The Sun is about so I'll skip straight to my opinion on this book.

This is my second time trying to finish this book and I did succeed this time. The beginning was both times too boring for me. I did not care about the characters at all. The middle part was actually my favorite, and the last one was a good conclusion, but not that exciting.

What I love about this book is the importance that it gives to relationships inside a family.

I feel like I am alone in this but I did not like Oscar as a person that much??? And his relationship with Judy was a bit rushed in my opinion.

And I feel like no one is talking about Noa putting Judy's toothbrush into the toilet everyday. That part freaked me out like literally freaked me out.

I see that I have lost my ability to form genuine reviews so I will shut up now and yeah the book's great.
Profile Image for Samantha.
441 reviews16.8k followers
August 12, 2016
This was the perfect book to finish on my birthday. I adored Jandy Nelson's first book, and didn't think I could love this one just as much!
Profile Image for Tiff.
581 reviews537 followers
September 24, 2014
Review originally posted at Mostly YA Lit

I don't think I can properly review this book without just throwing flails and gifs and barbaric yawps into the air. It's that lovely, that exquisite that any review I write will just pale in comparison to the writing in the book. That said...I want you to read this book, so I have to try.

P.S. I borrowed all the quote gifs from Penguin Teen, because who doesn't want to see more of that gorgeous cover?!

I'll Give You The Sun is probably the most literary and imaginative YA novels I've ever read.   Everything works - the writing is expressive and nuanced, with unique imagery. You can really tell that Jandy Nelson thought and thought, and thought again about every word in the novel. Every metaphor, every description fits in with the themes of breaking and remaking, family and relationships, art and inspiration. It's an incredibly tight novel, and it's one that could easily have been placed in the literary fiction section of a bookstore.

The themes of I'll Give You The Sun are explored exquisitely - and the plot follows in a very sophisticated manner. This is a definitely a form-follows-function book - but it's done so damn brilliantly that you'll be in awe. The premise/form of the book is that Noah and Jude, fraternal twins, each have their own side of the story, Noah at age 13 and Jude at age 16.  As a reader, we see both sides and how mistakes and choices change and shape each of them. The brilliance comes through how each reveal is made - to the reader and to the characters. And what makes the book even more complex is how each of those reveals follows the themes of breaking and remaking, of splitting apart and coming together that shape the characters and the novel.

The characters and relationships between them are full and clearly realized. I already mentioned the premise of the book, but let me just say that Noah and Jude are probably the most flawed and complex teen characters I've read EVER. I honestly can't think of more broken, fragile and alive characters that exist in YA fiction. We get every crazed, messed-up thought in their heads, all of their stupid actions, all of their esoteric behaviors...and it's just gorgeous to behold.

I'll Give You The Sun has one of the most realistic - and sexy - LGBTQ relationships I've ever read. This sounds weird to say, but in most YA I've read, I've never had to fan myself at a gay relationship - maybe that says more about what I read than what I don't read. This book, however, had what I imagine to be a very realistic gay relationship in its teens, and it's tumultuous and hard and beautifully steamy at a few moments.

The portrayal of art and the way it touches people will leave you inspired. I am probably the worst artist in the world (I can't even draw a straight line), but I was amazed and gratified by how art shapes the characters, how it changes and hurts them, and how it strengthens them. Art is almost like a secondary character in this book, and the way that Noah and Jude create and destroy is not just a metaphor for what they do but it almost turns into a way of living for them.

The romances are soul-crushing and soul-illuminating. Here's the thing: when Noah and Jude meet their respective partners, it's pretty much instantaneous intrigue. It's not quite total insta-love, but it's close. You guys know how I feel about insta-love (and one of them is a bad boy!)...but somehow, Jandy Nelson's writing can break all my rules and make me believe. I'm just going to give you one unbelievable passage, and you tell me you're not intrigued and kind of in love:

I know he's taking a hundred pictures, but I don't care anymore. A hot series of shivers is running through me as he continues clicking and saying: Yes, thank you, this is totally bloody it, perfect, yes, yes, sodding hell, God, look at you. It's like we're kissing, way more than kissing. I can't imagine what my face must look like.
 "You're her," he says finally, putting the cover over the lens. "I'm sure of it."
"Who?" I ask.
But he doesn't answer, just walks down the aisle toward me, a lazy, lanky walk that makes me think of summer. He's completely unwound now, went from high gear to no gear the moment he covered the lens. As he approaches, I see that he has one green eye and one brown eye, like he's two people in one, two very intense people in one.

Jandy Nelson perfectly understands how closely entwined joy and sadness are. Guys, Jandy Nelson KNOWS. She understands why exquisite happiness is sometimes achieved only through understanding loss. She understands how grief can engulf and change and break a family, and how art can save and remake us.  I don't know how else to explain the mingled feelings of happiness, bittersweet joy, and infinite sadness that engulfed me while reading except to say that Jandy Nelson is the YA Walt Whitman.

The Final Word: 

I could go on and on about I'll Give You The Sun, but honestly, it won't hold a candle to the book itself. If you like literary novels, if you want all the feels, this book needs to be on top of your TBR list. Read it now. Bask in the beauty. And then give it to a friend, because a book this good demands to be shared.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,919 reviews33.1k followers
December 30, 2015
5 stars

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I’ll Give You the Sun is different than any other book I’ve read. The writing style (it was lyrical to me), the story line, that themes, the characters, they were all excellent. There were a few things that I didn’t love, but overall it was a memorable and brilliant story that deserves 5 stars. Also, I listened to the audio version of this one and the narration was fantastic.

Twins Jude and Noah are both artists. So is their mother. This story is written in dual POV, from past to present. We get the perspective of 13 year old Noah in the past, and 16 year old Jude in the present. Noah and Jude are so different. Noah draws, he sees things in techni-color and paints in his head. Noah is by far my favorite character in this story. His past chapters were the best. His relationship with Brian, it was the best part of this book. Something between Noah and Jude broke around the 14 year mark. And we are left with 16 year old Jude who is nothing like her 13 year old self (and this is a good thing- 13 year old Jude annoyed me)

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When we first get to the present chapters, I’m so curious as to what happened with Noah and Jude. Why is Noah different? Why has Jude completely changed? Little by little things start to come together and we see what happened and what made these two change.

After finishing this one, my first thought was- I really need to start reading more YA books. When you read so much of the same genre (for me, it’s romance) sometimes you need something different. I’ve picked up a lot more YA this year and I’ve loved a majority of the ones I’ve read. I didn’t love every single thing about this book, but it was so well written, so powerful and so stunning that there was no way I could give it less than 5 stars. Nelson is an author I will for sure be reading more from! If you’re looking for a powerful and whimsical YA book, pick this one up!

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Profile Image for Liam.
290 reviews2,309 followers
May 14, 2015
what a truly beautiful book!!


I got so emotionally invested in this book that I became hooked and fell completely in love with it!

When I first started reading it took a while to get into purely because of how unique the writing style is. But when you do get used to it you see just how amazingly well written this book is.

One of my favourite things was the way the story was told from different point of views from years apart! It kept me gripped as I desperately needed to find out how it would all end.

The book ties together in such a beautiful way and it has such a fantastic ending that overloads you with a vast amount of emotions!!

I will never forget this book. It will always have a special place in my heart!
Profile Image for Juliana Zapata.
280 reviews4,197 followers
July 11, 2016
Una historia maravillosa, perfectamente narrada, sin una sola frase de relleno, con personajes perfectamente construidos, con un ritmo que no cansa, con frases que llegan al corazón, con imágenes que aportan magia y con un mensaje que te deja una sonrisa en la cara.

Este es uno de los pocos libros que he leído en los que me encariñé con todos los personajes principales, todos tan diferentes, tan imperfectos y tan reales; es imposible no amarlos, no vivir sus historias, no sufrir con sus errores y fracasos y no sonreír con sus alegrías.

Me encantaron todas las referencias al arte que tiene el libro, a pesar de que no se nada de arte, los sentimientos estan tan bien plasmados, los colores, los momentos, no se como es que el autor logra que sientas y que veas el arte como lo ven los personajes.

Un libro absolutamente maravillosa y altamente recomendable, creo que 5 estrellas no es suficiente para calificar esta historia.
Profile Image for Jessica.
265 reviews3,538 followers
August 5, 2015
Finished my first book for the BookTube-a-Thon!

This was definitely one of my favorites of the year.
I honestly love everything about it. The writing was so beautiful... The way it switched between young Noah and older Jude's perspectives. The love stories, the art. Literally everything. Read this book. It's so beautiful and now I just want to read every single thing by this author.
Profile Image for Katie.
43 reviews1,098 followers
June 17, 2015
OH MY GOSH this book was so beautiful. It was a little bit of a slow start for me, but wow. I loved everything about it.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,118 followers
April 10, 2019
"Can I have it?' This shocks me. She's never asked for a drawing before.
'For the sun, stars, oceans and all the trees, I'll consider it.'
'Okay. Trees, stars, oceans. Fine.'
'And the sun, Jude.'
'Oh all right. I'll give you the sun."

What a beautiful book. I feel like I'm slowly playing catch up on all these popular contemporaries I've missed because I didn't think they were for me. Oh how wrong I've been!

Jude and Noah broke into my heart and tore it to shreds. They are both so artistic and so full of love and power and just LIFE.
I'm finding this book really hard to explain, because to describe it in just one word would be - FEELS.
The book switches POVs between Noah at age 13/14 being arty, and different and just Noah, and the POV of Jude aged 16. We have an air of mystery as so much has happened to the twins between these times and we eventually find out what.

I loved this mainly because the relationship between Noah and Jude is not perfect. At times they are jealous and even cruel to one another, which is just so relatable. Every character in here is flawed in some way. I won't say much more, just that I was fully invested in this story, and despite the pain, these characters are strong, and I cheered every single one of them on.


Quite possibly one of the most hyped/most reviewed books on my TBR. Finally available from the library to pick up, so I am excited to give this a go :)
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,270 followers
February 7, 2021
february 2021:
I was so scared I wouldn't love this book as much as I did the first time I read it, back in 2017. so scared. but I shouldn't have been. this book is everything. it still speaks to me, still makes me feel seen. what a masterpiece.

april 2017:
I think I’ve just read one of the most beautiful books ever written.

I had no idea how much I needed this book in my life, right now. But I’m so glad it found its way to me. I felt understood like this book knew who I was and had this story in stock just for me.

I’m a miserable mess right now, I don’t even know if I’ll ever be able to write a proper review one day, it seems so impossible to put all my thoughts in order.

I felt an immediate connection with Noah. We’re both the younger sibling who lives in the shadow of the oldest, always trying to prove ourselves - even though we don’t need to. Noah and his incredible world inside his head, this world with all these different colours. Noah, this precious boy who sees everybody’s soul, who paints in his head, and had all this rage inside of him for so long. I loved him so deeply.

It was harder for me to like Jude, because like I said she reminds me so much of my own sister, of how hard it is to look good next to her. But I learned. I saw she was just as broken as Noah, just in a different and subtler way, but broken nonetheless. And even her way of seeing the world was extremely beautiful, but also quite messy, and who cares? She remakes the world.

This entire story broke my heart, I didn’t know I could cry for so long, but that’s what happened: I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my face. This book touched me deeply. What a fucking perfection.

“You are very powerful, you and your brother. Like gods,” he says. “But honestly, I do not think you make a good trade.” He shakes his head. “You say you are so sad, maybe this is why. No sun. No trees.”
“I lost the stars and the oceans too,” I tell him.
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,023 followers
July 9, 2015
emotionally, this book deserves 13049820394234 stars.

when i take into account the rushedrushedrushed ending and the predictability, i feel like it deserves 4 stars.

so, 4.5 stars it is.

the characters are so alive, so well-developed, so flawed, and so beautiful. the story is gorgeous.

this book is a must-read.
Profile Image for Ninoska Goris.
269 reviews162 followers
May 8, 2018
Español - English

Noah y Jude son gemelos, pero son totalmente diferentes y no solo físicamente.

Este libro está narrado desde ambos puntos de vista. Desde el de Noah cuando tenían 13 años y tenían un fuerte vínculo.

Noah es introspectivo, ve el mundo y piensa en techni-color y pinta en su cabeza. Solo tiene 13 años y ya está claro que es homosexual, lo que no es un problema para el, quien se enamora de su vecino Brian.

Desde el de Jude en el presente con 16 años cuando ni siquiera se hablan. Es supersticiosa, habla con su abuela muerta y aunque juró no estar con chicos, se está enamorando de uno hermoso y problemático.

Algo pasó cuando estos hermanos tenían 14 años. Cada uno tiene parte de la historia, la cual es grandiosa, triste, desgarradora y feliz con personajes tan profundos que no podrás evitar enamorarte de cada uno de ellos.

Mi favorito es Noah y sus Retratos mentales y me encanto que el nombre del libro tenga un significado importante en el libro.


Noah and Jude are twins, but they are totally different and not just physically.

This book is narrated from both points of view. From Noah's when they were 13 and they had a strong bond.

Noah is introspective, sees the world and thinks of techni-color and paints in his head. He is only 13 years old and he knows he is homosexual, which is not a problem for him, who falls in love with his neighbor Brian.

From the the point of view of Jude in the present with 16 years when they are not even spoken to each other. She is superstitious, talks to her dead grandmother and although she vowed not to be with boys, she is falling in love with a beautiful and troublesome one.

Something happened when these brothers were 14 years old. Each one has part of the story, which is great, sad, heartbreaking and happy with characters so deep that you helpless will fall in love with each one of them.

My favorite is Noah and his Mental Portraits and I love the fact that the name of the book has an important meaning in the book.
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews824 followers
January 4, 2018
Me: *lies down on bed*
Me: *holds book close to heart*
Me: *curls up and whispers “this book” over and over again*

What a perfect book to start 2018 with.

I haven't written a complete review in over 3 months probably, simply because I wasn't feeling motivated enough. However, this book? This book's sheer awesomeness made me want to write a full one, because that's what it deserves! Ignore the fact that it'll be a crappy one; I can't write reviews anymore okay? Plus, I'm so in love with this book I can't find the right words to describe justly.

Okay, okay... where do I start? The characters? The writing? How amazingly the plot unfolds? This book is just so hard to review. I'm going to start with the characters because I love them so much my heart's going to burst. The main characters are twins Noah and Jude. My small, baby children. I love them so much I would die for them okay. They're so flawed yet you can't help but want to protect them against all the bad things in this world. Guillermo, Brian, Oscar, Jude and Noah's mother and father (all are secondary characters but are actually very important to the story too), are all equally complex and flawed. My favorite? Hands-down Noah. I love him so much, my heart broke for him so much throughout the book. Let's be real, my heart broke for Jude so much as well, but the attachment I felt for Noah was something else! All these characters are so imperfect. They're so human. They do mistakes, some of which are really bad mistakes. It made me want to punch them for it. However, at the end of the day, I couldn't help but love them anyway!! All these characters' development was spectacular! Especially the twins' development. By the end of the book, each finds their voice and their strength and their path and it's just beautiful.

“It’s time for second chances. It’s time to remake the world.”

The twins were basically inseparable; however, as the blurb states, tragedy hits, and they barely speak anymore. We see that clearly. Each one of them is conflicted and scared in their own way. Each of them has their own secrets, and slowly finding out all about them was just great. Seeing how the plot unraveled? Spectacular! At one point of the book I was questioning where this book was headed and then suddenly it all started coming together and things were revealed and my heart started breaking because I was feeling all the pain my babies Jude and Noah were feeling.

“In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I’m not.”

The writing was weird. Yet beautiful. At first I was confused; not the type of confused where you don't understand anything, because as weird as it was, you understand everything clearly. But it was weird in the sense that I've rarely read books with that writing style. I can't explain further what weird actually means in that context, you just have to find out for yourself! Gosh, as weird as it was, I fell in love with it. It took me a bit to get used to it, but once I did, I was appreciating it a lot. My tiny problem with this book was the chapters. I think the entire 429 page book is made up of 6 chapters give and take. The chapters were humongous!! The chapters alternate between Jude and Noah, whereby Noah narrates at 13-13.5 years old and Jude narrated at age 16. And every single chapter ends in a cliffhanger and it would shift to the other twin and I'd have to wait 50+ pages to find out what happened next.

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating 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.”

I don't know you guys, I feel like I need to say more about it? Like there's so much depth to this book, depth which I personally find hard to portray justly with words. Such as the complex family dynamics of Jude and Noah's family, the relationships each of Jude and Noah have with their significant others, the problems each of them go through, the strength each of them find, the importance of art for them... so much more!! I think each and every one of us will appreciate it and relate to it differently and that's the beauty of it.

“I didn’t know you could get buried in your own silence.”

My friends, when you are in the mood for a good contemporary, let it be this book!

Read this for my first ever 24-Hour Readathon and what a beautiful, wise decision it was.
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews724 followers
June 23, 2017
“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.”


WOW! What a wonderfully written spectacular tale. Are there perfect words to delineate the way I feel about this? Absolutely not! It's been such a long time since I actually genuinely enjoyed a book this much. Any book can make you laugh, it's the ones that break your heart, I treasure. For months I haven't been motivated enough to get my lazy ass up & properly review a book. It kind of works, if you ask me, less drama and more time to read. That being said, i would like to say a couple things about "I'll give You the Sun". 99% of my GR friends have rated it 4 stars and above.

First thing first, I would like to thank Kaylin for her recommendation. Otherwise, I would have never picked it up myself. I KNOW! Also for putting up with my nonsensical bipolar rants while I was experiencing this emotional journey. I kid you not, this girl is a blessing!

The plot:

“She gives off light. I give off dark.
Twins: The Flashlight and the Flashdark)”

Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable.
Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-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. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s.


“Self Portrait:
Boy Remakes World
Before World Remakes Boy”

My revolutionary pumpkin! Noah is a dreamer, an outsider. He doesn't fit in with "normal" kids his age. Not even with his own twin. Noah is such a well-written character he almost feels real. I have a younger brother myself, therefore I feel extra protective of him. There isn't much i can say about him, you really have to experience it for yourself. Trust me you don't want to miss out on this! Where little Noah fills your heart with hope and rainbows, older Noah is intense and much darker. THIS I DID NOT SEE COMING! Like, WHAT'S WRONG BOOBOO? TALK TO ME! Oh, wait, he can't! He is just a character on the pages. Older Noah has been defeated and beaten. He is straight and in a fucking gang? UMM WHAT? WTF INDEED! I still loved the shit out of him though. Dare i say, i prefer this wretched version of him? We witnessed at the very beginning Noah is petrified of heights. When he started throwing himself off of cliffs, hit me hard! I literally sat there sobbing because that's how deeply i care about him. I cried myself to sleep that night. And we aren't talking a teardrop here and there, more like full on wailing. I am extremely sensitive when it comes to family drama. Broken families are my weakness. Noah has definitely become one of my most favorite characters!


“They do make love stories
for girls with black hearts after all.
They go like this.”

Jude was interesting, to say the least. Where Noah was an instant favorite, it took a while for me to warm up to Jude. At first, in Noah chapters, she is tremendously obnoxious but in a realistic way, most teens her age are. She just wants to be normal. She wants to draw boys' attention, sneak out with her friends, and of course disobey parents. She surfs like a badass, which earns her popularity. However, in her own chapters, she is a completely different person. She's chopped off her hair, wears baggy clothes, almost feels like she wants to disappear from the face of this planet. Jude is dealing with her own guilt conscious and grief in a rather creepy/sad way. My eyes would start bawling anytime she mentioned how her mother is angry at her for what she did to Noah. I fucking knew it! Can't say i don't want to stab her in da face because that would be a big fat lie. It was pathetic! How ould she take that away from him? OKOKOK I'm calm.*deep breath*

Though this was an emotional rollercoaster, i can't say it was entirely unpredictable. This is a short list of events/plot twists I called before the big reveal.


-I didn't enjoy the romantic aspects at all. Jude or Noah's. I guess Noah and Brian were okay, but i would have been much happier had they left out Oscar and Jude's little thing. Meh, no biggie. It was just cliche AF & made me roll my eyes... a lot. I think i even skipped their scenes here and there. Whatever.

Okay, so, am i the only one who is altogether uncomfortable with 13 year olds being sexually active? What the fuck are their parents doing? I, myself, didn't think it was realistic or normal simply because I've never encountered such preteens. However, I've spoken to a few friends of mine, and Apparently, it is normal? I'm sorry, but I'm fucking disgusted by this. Parents, get your little shits under control, would you?

These are some of my favorite quotes:

- "I am my brother’s keeper"

- “Reality is crushing.
The world is a wrong-sized shoe.
How can anyone stand it?”

- “I love you," I say to him, but it only comes out, "Hey"
"So damn much," he says back, it only comes out, "Dude”

- “I'm falling forward with the force of two years of buried grief,
the sorrow of ten thousand oceans finally breaking inside me-
I let it. I let my heart break.”



It's the pride month, we all know what that means! If you have any, please recommend me your favorite books with LGBT characters. Oh maybe it's time to revisit The Dream Thieves after this. 🏳️‍🌈
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,521 reviews9,011 followers
November 27, 2014
In Creative Writing we learn about shallow abouts and deep abouts. A story's shallow about might revolve around a bunch of kids forced to kill one another. The story's deeper about (yes, The Hunger Games) centers on themes of war, the sacrifice of one's private self to transform into a hero, and how to achieve justice in a corrupt system. I'll Give You the Sun disappointed me because its deeper about - family, miscommunication, secrets - all sounded good on paper, but the characters and some of Nelson's stylistic choices obscured the deeper messages overall.

The twins' voices rang clear. Nelson gave Noah and Jude distinct tones, and the transitions from a younger Noah to an older Jude kept the book fresh. However, Nelson's writing itself came across as trying-too-hard-to-sound-like-quirky-teenagers. She inundated the twins with artistic similes and metaphors, to the point where in some scenes I felt like I floated away from the characters and their tangible actions, such as when Jude observes Michelangelo's David "jumping off the wall and swooping [her] into his massive stone arms," or when Noah notices that Jude "barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table." These images and passages took away from the realistic, grounded qualities of the story; they felt like a half-hearted attempt at magical realism.

Jude's relationship with Oscar came across as contrived as well. Oscar, as a whole, read like an amalgamation of every other attractive young-adult straight male character: an orphan, mysterious, imperfect but in a sexy way, British, and has a super hot pseudo-girlfriend who turns out to just be a close friend he sometimes kisses. Instead of devoting time to their relationship, I wish Nelson had fleshed out Noah's relationship with Brian, or the siblings' relationships with one another. The ending came across as rushed and , and it made me wonder how much of the conflict could have been resolved if the characters had just spoken with one another.

I enjoyed reading Nelson's debut novel The Sky is Everywhere, but I'll Give You the Sun did not sit well with me. The novel felt a little too abstract and focused on fleshing out the artistic metaphor instead of solidifying the characters and giving them more realistic room to breathe. However, if the synopsis intrigues you, I would recommend giving it a shot and reading the first 50-100 pages. I still look forward to reading more of Nelson's writing in the future, and I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving!
Profile Image for alexandra.
230 reviews1,523 followers
September 3, 2020
this book is so complex, so poetic, so emotional, and so powerful. it's the kind of book i want to reread a million times, overanalyze, and cover the margins with notes. i felt every sentence's second meaning and it hit me really really hard. it made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS and i can't even pinpoint exactly why.

i'll admit the first few pages were a bit rough. the writing is very different from what i'm used to; everything is a metaphor and i wasn't sure if this was literally happening or if it was all in his head. (it was all in his head.) after i got over that, i began to fall in love with the beautiful and complex prose. the depth of everything is... crazy.

the story is told from two POVs: one twin – noah – at age 13, and the other – jude – at age 16, three years later. there are a lot of layers as to why this or that happened and we truly get to watch the story unfold. it's more complicated than the average "love triangle" or average contemporary issue; it's much more tangled than that with family issues, romance, sexuality, etc. i had such a strong connection with the two of them even though their voices are COMPLETELY different. and even though they were different, there were still undeniable parallels that connected them as siblings.

what surprised me most about I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is the family aspect. a lot of the problems arise between the twins and parents themselves and i find everything else is the "subplot." although i really liked the romance, i felt just a biiiiit insta-love-y and too good to be true but eh that's alright.

all in all, this book blew me away. it definitely holds a spot on my favorites of 2016 shelf and it's only been ten days into the new year. although there were parts of the book that felt a little artificial or a little dragged, i think that's all irrelevant compared to the impact it had on my perspective. truly and completely eye-opening. go read it.
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184 reviews836 followers
July 15, 2017
“If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill”

nah man, that's easy for you to say.

I'm sitting here debating whether I should give up on writing this entire review and instead type: shfjdsfhdkjshskjghjsfhdsjf i rather live as an apple bye.

but no, i'm forcing myself to put some effort. I can't be a procrastinator forever.


if i was the president of a country, i would totally make everyone read this book. This book is absolute perfection and feels like a personal assault to the heart. It will make you cry buckets of tears. Basically, it will make you emotional, okay??? You've been warned.

Also, it needs more stars like wtf is 5???? This rating system needs to be fixed because sadly the #5 ain't working for me. How about 3849328490328439 stars???

Yeah?? Okay ??? Thanks :)

You know what else ain't working with me??? The title of this book. It needs to be changed to "I'll give you the knife" Why?? Probably makes no sense but I'm not feeling very creative right now so ssh let's just roll with it. I felt like Jandy Nelson stabbed me in the heart with her captivating plot, A+++++ characters, and swoon worthy romance.

Yeah thanks, Jandy Nelson, very much needed.

Guys, I didn't ask for this. I didn't need this type of stuff in my life.

I thought I'd be going into this book like :

but nope, half way into this book, I realize:

and obviously at the end, I was left like:

So yeah thanks, Jandy Nelson, very much needed.

If you ever see this book, please add it to your tbr or you know, pick it up. Trust me, from one reader to another, don't regret this. Yeah, the writing may not be for everyone and maybe will have you like ??? what ??? but listen......it's so worth it. Once you understand what's going on, you will treasure this book. The writing went from 0 to 100. I loved it. I don't think I'd have it any other way, to be honest. Also, I loved the feeling of reading how everything comes together. How everything unravels. How everything connects together and begins to make sense. Relating to the characters. The twists. Everything. Just yes. It's amazing how my expectations were met in every single way. I needed this book months ago. I don't know why I waited this long.

Note to self: read books as soon as you purchase them.

Gosh, I don't know where to begin so let's start off with the plot.


“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.”

○ Alright, I believe, y'all shouldn't know too much info about the plot because it's 10000 times better to watch it untangle. Makes the experience way way WAY better. I think my 5 star rating was truly because I didn't know enough and I wasn't expecting as much. So, don't try to know more. Trust your home girl Tweebs *fistbump*

○ But for the really curious ones, I will tell you what you will find. You will mostly find in this book important issues such as family and finding ones own identity.


“If bad luck knows who you are, become someone else”

○ Let me tell you, y'all better love my children. I will seriously come after you if you try hating on them. I got my pitch fork ready.

○ Since we got that out of the way, dfjkdsfhdkjsfhdskjf ohhhhhhhhhhhhh my goodnesssssssss these characters ahhhhhhhhhh sjdfhjsfhdskjfdhskf

Translation: I love them so much and I want to thank Jandy Nelson for blessing us with these characters. I love how they are flawed, so realistic and yeah, most of the things that occur in this book should make me angry at them but.....i can't help but love them.

“If one twin is cut, the other will bleed”

○ In this book, we have two different POV's telling us the story: Noah and Jude . They are our MC's and siblings; twins. Noah is the odd ball. He's weird and doesn't fit in with anyone. He's such a special snow flake. Each of his POV's made me fall in love with his character even more. I loved how real he felt and I just want to protect him from everyone.

○ Jude is our wild, adventurous girl and is different from Noah in every single way. Unlike her twin, she fits in with everyone. Not going to lie but I felt more of a connection with Noah but that's all good. Her POV's grew on me and I started to appreciate her and then yeah, I ended up adopting her without even knowing. I loved how I was able to feel her struggle, her confusion, basically her emotions. It felt real but i'm still salty over half the things she's done in this book. You ain't forgiven yet girl but i still love you.

○ Like I said, a lot of things occur in this book which are caused by their mistakes. Mistakes that led to terrible ramifications. Read the book and you'll find out more :) :) :)

P.S: did i say how much i love them???

○.P.P.S: because i love these precious cinnamon rolls. 

"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.”


Can we have a moment of silence for the fact that we need more books like these??? Yes ??? You with me??? I honestly love this book and want you guys to read it......and maybe join me in the "what is life because i don't even know???" club. I think i tried my best to not spoil this book. It had taken a lot of self-control, to be honest. And listen, this book is a masterpiece. It is beautiful. It is simply perfection. Don't have any doubts of it being a terrible read.

I don't think y'all need anymore convincing and help me lord, you don't want me to come and do this :

You can find this review and all my other reviews at Booksprens :)
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