I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy NelsonI’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson.

Printz Award, 2016 Abe Lincoln Nominee, Rainbow List, Stonewall Book Award Honor

NoahandJude are twins. They can feel each other’s thoughts and like to squish their shoulders together and breath together to calm down during their parents’ fights. Noah sees colors everywhere, paints in his head, and would rather talk to himself than any of the surftards that haunt the woods ready to throw him over Devil’s Dive. He paints and draws whenever he can. The only person he can stand is the one that lights him on fire. He falls in love with Brian, their new neighbor, but doesn’t know if Brian’s feelings are mutual in the way that Noah hopes.

Jude is that girl, according to her mom. That girl who wears too heavy makeup too young. That girl who sews short dresses and wears heals to school. That girl who sneaks out her window to hang out with older guys at The Spot. They both want to go to the fine arts high school next year. But then several tragedies change both twins.

Three years later, they are barely speaking to each other. Jude starts dressing in her “invisibility uniform,” failing out of school, and boycotting boys, while her superstitious behaviors become worse. She is hanging out with her dead grandmother and carrying vegetables and herbs in her pockets. Then she meets a mysterious and similarly broken boy.  Noah is now the cool kid who hangs out with all of Jude’s old friends and is now close with their dad (whom he avoided like the plague before). He is hiding in his own fake skin of popularity. But no one quite knows what before is…

The story is told alternating from Jude’s present day perspective and Noah’s perspective three years ago. As the two perspectives and stories come together, explosive realities are revealed and the story of the twins unraveling and reunion is laid out. No words can describe how artistic, magical, superstitious and mind blowing this book is. The two teens speak in artsy metaphors and imagine that the turmoil in their heads effect the very landscapes they are in (imagine Ally McBeal mixed with an angsty art student).

All the characters are connected and affected in shocking ways and the mystery is not solved until the very end. Suspense and interior is expertly weaved together and the imagery is outstanding. I like how it discusses the many ways people can betray others even when they mean a lot to us. How good people can do bad things. How bad people can do good things. And that the lines between all of this is confusing and fuzzy. How secrets can lock a person into themselves more than lock people out. How you think you are perceived can affect your own actions more than you thought. How the decision about who to let in and who to keep out makes all the difference. And how to go about righting wrongs when there is no taking them back. Every character except for maybe two insignificant ones are highly dynamic and intriguing with distinct personalities and problems. I loved every one of them.

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