A Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences. 


Title: I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Publisher: Dial Books

Copyright Date: 2014

The Sweetwine family is full of secrets. This down-to-Earth and modern family seems to be like every other family in their coastal California town until events begin to shake their family to the core. Dianna, an art enthusiast and writer shares her passion for beautiful art with her twin children, Jude and Noah, although Noah seems to possess more of the gift than Jude.

Noah has some secrets of his own that he has buried deep within himself. At age thirteen Noah sneaks over to the CSA (California School of Art) to participate in some of their technique classes. From his days watching the classes from outside the window he begins to notice his feelings for some of the male models. At first Noah tries to hide who he is and fears what others may think if they were to find out that he was gay. By age sixteen something has happened to turn Noah off to art completely. His days dreaming of enrolling in CSA have gone and he spends most of his time with his girlfriend jumping off cliffs into the unforgiving ocean.

Jude was always the wild one. She knew that Noah was the apple of her mother’s eye so she sought after the attention of her athletic father. Taking to the surf and dressing in minimal apparel Jude seeks affection in all the wrong places. Something happens, however, and she trades in her surf boards for all of the superstitions of her grandmother. She begins to live her life cautiously and begins to boycott boys altogether. Once enrolled in CSA, she is assigned to apprentice a stone carver and he helps to chisel away the broken pieces and indirectly reunites the siblings.

This story is a heart warming tale of the bonds formed between members of the same family. Although things come between the Sweetwine’s they begin to forgive and love yet again. This book deals with so many modern issues: grief, divorce, homosexuality…etc. and brings hope as the characters face these issues. The therapy of art is another strong theme throughout this book and is a brilliant coping mechanism used by both Jude and Noah.

I really enjoyed this book. My favorite books are ones in which you begin to sympathisize with the characters and all of the members of the Sweetwine family were so beautifully described that I felt at times like I was Jude and at others like I was Noah. The story is told from the twins’ perspectives. Noah describes the earlier years (ages 13-14) and Jude describes the present (age 16). The suspense of the novel comes from knowing things that one twin may not know that once spoken will heal their broken relationship. Each can only see one side of the story, but it is important to look at life through more than just one perspective. Secrets can tear people and families apart. This story is about not hiding the truth and letting love win.

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