Staff Review: "I'll Give You the Sun"
Fraternal twins Noah and Jude have always sworn loyalty to each other above anyone else, but events during the summer before they start eighth grade and the months that follow fracture their relationship. Jumping ahead three years, we see that the artistic, socially-isolated Noah, who had constantly expressed himself through drawing (whether just in his mind or on tangible media) and visual imagery, has become decidedly “normal,” and fearless, surfer-girl Jude is now the “weird” one with her over-sized, unattractive attire and adherence to dictates in her late grandmother’s unique Bible. Loss, betrayal, secrets, and guilt have reduced communication between the twins to a minimum, with neither sibling sure of how to bridge the gap but longing to do so. The earlier events are seen from Noah’s point-of-view, and the latter events are from Jude’s, and the novel intercuts between the two, so readers will empathize with the protagonists, each of whom lack the full story.
This coming-of-age novel is realistic young adult fiction (albeit with a few flourishes) intended for older teens that captures the rush of ever-changing emotions of adolescence and the many ways they can be expressed. The novel is infused with vivid imagery and explores the power of art as means of self-expression, catharsis, grief, and healing. I enjoyed this book and appreciated the distinct personalities and voices of the two protagonists and the care taken to develop them. In addition to the novel itself, I can vouch for the audiobook, which was excellent.