Apart from the horrific mustard coloured cover, I was really intrigued by ‘I’ll Give You The Sun’. The title was ambiguous enough to not give any of the story away, and it’s about twins, which is always a bonus for me. So, I dived straight in and was not disappointed! I was a little scared, seeing as one page of the book is just ‘In a set of twins, there is one angel and one devil’ in really big font, but after reading the book in its entirety, I realised I’d taken that out of context, and all was going to be A-OK.
Seeing as the book is told from both Noah and Jude’s perspective, I’m going to split up my review as such:
The perspective of Noah we get to read is when he’s 13-14, trying his hardest to get into a prestigious art school. Noah is a artistic genius, and sees the world differently to everyone else. We all have spirit animals in Noah’s head, and the world is a smash of colours waiting to be captured. Nelson’s writing style in this section very much resembled E. Lockhart’s from ‘We Were Liars’.
Noah falls in love with Brian, the boy next door. I really enjoyed reading their love story, and how, to begin with at least, Noah was so true to himself. I think it’s really important to have LGBT+ representation in young adult fiction, and it was definitely one of my favourite elements of the story. But, their love had to remain a secret, because Brian feared what it would do for his future. Brian and Noah, when they were together made a great pair. You knew they both liked each other, so it broke my heart as well as Noah’s to see him being sidelined by fear.
Jude, at this point, is finding her feet, being a rebellious teenage girl. Throughout the whole story, there’s this impeding sense of doom. You know the siblings are going to fall out, and you’re just waiting for the final straw to break them apart completely. Their problems were rooted in jealousy, and the malicious acts of sabotage they played upon one another were difficult to read. Of course twins fight, Bee and I can testify to that, but the intensity of their hatred towards each other I felt was a little strong. It was like their twin bond was only superficial, and it didn’t take much to break it. I can’t imagine staying mad at Bee for two days, let alone two years. Sure, everyone’s different, but I was expecting a more durable and unconditional relationship between the pair.
I’d say that I preferred Noah’s perspective to Jude’s. She was just so lonely at 16. A lot had gone wrong for her, and clinging to the kooky beliefs of her dead grandmother was doing her no favours. She got into art school and Noah didn’t. Jude is weighed down by this sense of guilt because of the things she did, but, if the pair had communicated better, they would have realised they both had things to be sorry for.
The romance Jude experienced was a little bit circular, with the same problem hindering her from being with Oscar. I think her emotional backstory had more depth than Noah’s, however, so when more of her 13-14 past was revealed, I felt a lot more sympathy for her. I think that’s what so magical about this story. There are so many layers and so many crossed paths that it takes a while for it all to unravel. I really enjoyed the pace of the book, and how we got to find out more and more about the past and present lives of the characters, and how they were all connected. It probably took a lot of planning, but it really paid off!
Overall, I was super pleased with the way it all turned out. Everything was reconciled and resolved, in the least complicated way possible, which I really appreciated. Jude and Noah’s passion for art and creation was really inspiring, and their experiences were really extraordinary to read about. These characters will definitely stay with me. It feels like so much happened within the book, I can’t remember it all. But I think there are some really great messages about being true to yourself and loving those around you disguised in this beautiful prose. I’d give this book 4 stars, missing the perfect rating because I wasn’t fond of Noah and Jude’s relationship with each other. Everything else was excellent, but the twin element of the book let it down for me. However, I would 100% recommend you read this!