Genre: contemporary fiction, YA
Cover Illustrator : Sophie Heywood
Setting: 2010s, California
Rated : 9 Stars
This is how it all begins. With Zephry and Dry - reigning neighbourhood sociopaths - torpedoing after me and the whole forest floor shaking under my feet as I blast through the air, trees, this white-hot panic.
–Jandy Nelson - I'll give you the sun - c.2015
Jude and Noah are as close as twins can be. They’re also as far apart as people can be. Because Noah tells us the early story, aged 13, while Jude tells the what happened after, aged 16. After what? Well, I can’t tell you that cause, you know, spoilers.
The story is told in alternate chapters, the two narrators switching as well as the time. So we get an immediateness to both stories. Jude’s chapters let us know that something terrible has happened, and lets us know how they are dealing, or not, with that fact. Noah gives us the build up, the how it all happened, the before. Not the perfect before because Noah’s life is far from perfect. He knows he is gay, but he hasn’t come out, not even to Jude. She, meanwhile, thinks she is having the time of her life. Puberty has hit and she is loving being a teenager and hanging out with all the boys. But that is having an adverse impact on her relationship with her mother.
I’ll give you the sun was a recommendation from ErisLovesMovies and I was just about to order a copy when it came in at work, obviously I’d already ordered it without even noticing. And it was awesome.
It took me a few chapters to get into, it is very much a teen story of self-discovery and coming of age, so there is a whole heap of emotion and drama.
But once the story got going I read it in one day, it just is so easy to keep on turning pages.
In a way, although it is totally different, it reminded me of Code Name Verity1 in that it all about the characters and the emotions and the tears. In this case it is family rather than friendship that is the relationship at the heart of the book.
It’s funny, but it was the development of the father that made this book really work for me. Initially he is almost a minor character. The mother is the artistic one, the one both twins almost fight over. Their father, however, they seem to agree belongs to Jude. She is the outgoing, unfearing, sporty type who seems to enjoy all the same things as her father, Noah feels pretty rejected by him at times. Yet over the course of the novel that idea, that he is the straight-forward, boring one, is challenged and rejected by the unfolding plot. It just shows how tightly written this is; everything has a reason and a role to play. Everything and every one is developed and as fully realised as they can be.
In conclusion, awesome!
so high praise there ↩