Saturday, 29 August 2015

Book Review: I'll Give You The Sun

I’ll Give You The Sun

By Jandy Nelson

So when I was out my friend, initially wanted to get myself the new Adam Lambert album and because the music store didn’t have the album in stock, I decided I would go get a book instead.

I had planned to get the Robbie Rogers autobiography but I decided that I needed something light because it had been a while since I actually bought a hard copy novel and read it. Also I am a Young Adult person, which at age 22/23 I am not ashamed to admit. 

I feel like I will move on to “adult” books when the time is right but for now I am content reading Young Adult fiction.

Anyhow, getting back to the novel that I want to speak about:

It was really a delightful read.

I had planned to take my time with this book but then I got sucked into it and within three days of starting it, I finished it. 

Here is the plot description:

Jude and her twin Noah are close until a tragedy drives them apart. 
Now they are barely speaking – and both falling for boys they can’t have. 
Love’s complicated.” 

The novel tells the story of Jude and Noah in a split narrative.

Noah’s part of the story is told between the ages of 13-14, while Jude’s is told at age 16.

Noah and Jude are fraternal twins, who are inseparable but over the course of the novel they let jealousy and their own emotional difficulties push them further and further apart from each other.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because it manages to make both Jude and Noah’s perspectives of the story interesting.

Personally, I am always concerned about when authors tell the same story from a different character because it can be very boring to the reader, but Jude’s was interesting and I became invested in her story.

Another thing in terms of structure that I really enjoyed was that the novels follows the three act structure building towards a climax  but the time/age gap between their two perspectives is what made it so interesting.

There were so issues with the book that others online readers pointed out:

  1. Oscar being this young adult bad boy trope who then manages to get “saved/fixed of his emotional issues” because of his love for one of the characters.
  2. Zephur who gets reduced to being thrown into this bad guy role and made to be viewed negatively when there wasn’t enough evidence to make it believable why he would be relegated to that role.
  3. The unnecessary delay of resolution because it adds to the drama and tension. As a writer, I understand why writers have their characters avoid certain discussions because it adds tension to the story, but we live in an age where readers are getting tired of this device and see it as lazy writing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               - I think that while a certain amount of tension can be necessary, if your characters are not having a discussion (which they need to have with each other) only because you don’t want them to, then you have a problem and need to find another narratively logical justification for characters not speaking to each other.
  4. The twin’s father subplot being erratically dealt with. This is something that I felt was an issue because this subplot was dealt with okay but could have been handled better to have the ultimate resolution feel that much more earned.
  5. Noah’s narrative was made to feel a little immature. I understand that there had to be a separation and distinct difference in his characterisation at different ages, but he came off feeling a little too petty at times. 

Outside of this, I really enjoyed the deconstruction of the kids’ mother because so often we idealise out parents and in this novel, Jandy Nelson manages to deconstruct the twins’ parents (more their mother) in a very interesting way.

Every person has that moment when your parent is no longer this perfect person that you idolise but rather someone who you love, that also has their flaws and makes their own mistakes.

I loved that after the resolution of the climax the novel didn’t just end, it gave you time to process that we were reaching an ending. So often I find myself frustrated with how many novels don’t succinctly enough resolve the novel. You reach the end feeling like you had to jump over a ditch instead of the ditch being filled.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I know that eventually I will be reading the book again because of how everything managed to tie together.

I think part of my enjoyment came from the fact that I imagined these characters being slightly older than they are, which in some way may be a issue because it speaks to how Young Adult books a written where these young kids feel wise beyond their years, and can be unbelievable for some.
I enjoyed that they felt older than what their characters were. I only realised this after finishing the novel that when I kept imaging Noah as 16 when was 13, and then when Jude is telling her side of their narrative at age 16, I pictured them as 18 if that makes sense.

In summation though, you should make up your own mind about this lovely story.

I will give this an 8/10 because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I do tend to skew my opinions of things in a more optimistic way because I enjoy something for what it is rather than actively find fault. 

I really hope that you at least take the time to give this book a try. If you don’t like it then at least you tried, if you do then welcome to the club.

Theo over and Out.

PS - Here is my favourite extract from the book: 

Love does as it undoes. It goes after with equal tenacity: joy and heartbreak.”
- (I’ll Give You The Sun, pg 412)

I really loved the use of metaphor in the book, it did colour in the world more and just felt natural instead of planted in and shoved in for the sake of it.

Author : Jandy Nelson

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