I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Summary: The New York Times Bestselling 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.
I’ll Give You the Sun received a Printz Award, a Stonewall Award, and was named a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults.
Find the book in our library: I’ll Give You the Sun
YA Book Club discussion
****Do not read beyond this point if you do not want SPOILERS****
These are more or less the responses during the discussion.
How does the dual-narrative affect this story?
“I preferred the story this way. It makes me more curious about what happens next. It builds suspense. I really, really like the style and the narration.”
Who is/are the protagonist(s)?
“Although narrated by both Noah and Jude, it felt it was really more of Jude’s story. She’s the actual hero. While Noah was losing himself and Jude was struggling with guilt, Jude’s really the one who develops and grows throughout the story. She solves the problems and comes to terms with her guilt.”
Which twin did you like more?
“I felt more invested in Jude’s story, but Noah’s prose was remarkable.”
What do you think about the romances?
Noah + Brian – “These two should have had more page time. There also should have been more of a confrontation when they meet up again. What Noah did to Brian seemed unforgivable.”
Jude + Oscar – “These two were sweet, but a bit predictable. It seems the denial part of their relationship (Oscar being too old; Jude dealing with her commitment issues) was also solved quickly.”
Should the characters be forgiven for what they’ve done?
“Even though Brian benefited from being outed, he shouldn’t have forgiven Noah so quickly… and Noah shouldn’t have forgiven Jude so quickly for what she did to him. The twins should have had far more of a confrontation, but everything seemed to resolve itself neatly at the end anyway.”
What surprised you?
“There was no actual magic in the story. For a while, I thought the grandmother was an actual ghost. Same with the mother smashing things. This makes Jude somewhat of an unreliable narrator.”
“The mother trained to be an artist. Didn’t see that coming.”
“How everything tied up all neatly at the end. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I like happy endings, but perhaps this was too perfectly neat of an ending to a grief-ridden story.”
What are your feelings about the family dynamics?
“The mom is selfish, the dad is annoying, the grandmother is quirky, and Jude and Noah are far too jealous of each other–probably encouraged by their parents playing favorites. It’s not a healthy relationship. It’s interesting to see Jude’s personality being shaped by her late grandmother and mother.”
Average of 4.5 stars
YA Book Club, Pasadena Central Library, 7/29/2015