In this Michael Printz award-winning novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson tells a story of loss, love, family, and acceptance where past and present collide. The novel follows the story of twins, Noah and Jude, with rotating sections being from each of their perspectives—Noah’s chapters are about the past and Jude’s chapters are about the present time. Jude is trying to pick up the pieces of her family as she and Noah have drifted apart. Their father is absent most of the time, and their mother is dead. Going back and forth between past and present, readers try to understand what splintered the family in the first place, while Jude tries to reconnect with her brother and while Noah struggles with his identity and acceptance. Readers are also trying to navigate infatuation, romance, and betrayal as Noah and Jude make snap decisions that not only push them further apart but also damage their other relationships. In taking readers back and forth through time as well as with perspectives, Nelson leaves readers constantly teetering on the edge of their seats. We become so invested in each story that we don’t know whether we want to stay present with Jude or travel back in time with Noah. Weaving in elements of superstition, rare diseases diagnosed online, ghosts, and art, Nelson enriches her beautiful prose with weird facts and scenarios. This colorful prose and your inevitable investment in the characters suck readers in and makes the novel impossible to put down. This book contains mature content (sex, alcohol, bullying). I recommend this text to teens ages 14 and up. This review was completed as part of a course requirement. Connection to Summit Learning Outcomes: A large part of being at a liberal arts college is the importance placed on developing as a writer. With this book review, I engaged with the Summit curriculum by effectively communicating through writing. With this review, I was asked to not only be laconic in my writing (a word limit of around 300 words was placed on this assignment) but also to dabble in a new form of writing (This was my first attempt at a written review– I have given oral reviews before). This word limit as well as writing a formal review was foreign to me, however, with this assignment, I believe that I effectively communicated to readers what they owudl be gettign into when they read I’ll Give You the Sun.
[Photo by me]