I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson was published in 2014. This book is told from the points of view of a boy/girl set of twins. Noah's part is told at the age of 13/14 and Jude's part is told at age 16. The story goes back and forth in time, but it isn't at all confusing.
This is a story with a LGBT character. This story talks about sexuality and sex. This story has profanity. This story has teen sex and the repercussions that go along with teen sex. This story has adultery.While I have been known to stop reading a book with any one of these things, I am also no prude and will gladly complete and enjoy a book that includes these things if they are done well and not just for shock value. This story also contains death, grief, and sorrow.
This story will also make you laugh, and it is incredibly well written. Jude and Noah have always been close, but as they hit their early teens, things get tense in their relationship. Where they were once each a part of the same whole, they have splintered apart. Art plays a huge part in this story. Both of them try to get into the an art school, but it doesn't work out they way everyone thinks it will.
Noah is a painter and I swear I could visualize the art he describes in his invisible art gallery. I want the pictures to be created. Although the art isn't included in the book, as it is invisible, it sure was spectacular inside my head.
Jude is a sculpture, only she struggles to see herself as an artist. This book shows why as parents, we need to make sure we don't squash a child's dream. This book also shows how important it is not to squash our own dreams.
This is a story of coming to terms and learning to go forward after someone close to you leaves this world. This story shows the raw edge of grief and how it can cause those to change and sometimes self-destruct in its wake. It also shows how healing can happen and how we need others to give us back the sun after it leaves our world.
I found myself writing in the margins on this book. I saw myself in the pages - the mistakes I'd made as a young person when I was making decisions without my adult knowledge.
I appreciated the honesty of the LGBT character and hope that as more books are published with LGBT characters, bullying will diminish and the rate of suicide in the LGBT population will drop.
I felt like this book deserved a better cover. I wanted one of Noah's paintings or one of Jude's sculptures: NoahandJude or a Sand Woman.
Yep, that's the cover.
This book is not for children or young teens. I would wait until a student is mature enough to read this. I would say age 16, but I know that could be still be too young for some and that others may be able to read it earlier. Know your child and what they are reading. I think this book could be very valuable for a student who is thinking about having sex when they are too young or for a student who is LGBT as it would help them feel not so alone.
Read to a child today, but not this book unless the child is you. :)
Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.