Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This is the story of twins coming together, falling apart and rebuilding what is left when the planet they’ve been circling has thrown them both out of orbit.

Disclaimer: Review originally appeared on Women24. A copy of the book can be purchased via Raru.co.za.


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (first published in 2015 by Walker Books)
Jandy Nelson has been a favourite of mine ever since she first wrote The Sky is Everywhere. She casts a spell with words, weaves them together and paints a world mired in linguistic art.

The years between Jandy writing The Sky is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun was interminably long; Jandy certainly seemed content to keep her fans waiting while she churned out yet another masterpiece.

You know what though? The wait was completely worth it.

I’ll Give You the Sun is an exquisitely written novel with a seemingly simple premise.

Jude and Noah are twins who’ve always been close. From sharing the sun, the planet and the stars (metaphorically speaking), to having a telepathic bond and being able to feel each other’s emotions (as some twins are wont to do), these two have always been orbiting around the same planet since they’ve been in their mother’s womb.

When their mother dies in a car accident, the world around them changes and everything they’ve lived for and loved dies with her.

Exploring themes of grief, loss, familial relationships, I’ll Give You the Sun is not so much a novel about death than it is about a journey to re-finding the beauty in living again following the pain that death brings.

It’s a book that’s hard to review because not only is it an encompassing treatise on art and using it as a medium for self-expression but it’s also a novel that explores what happens when the impact of grief destroys that creative outlet.

It’s a little purple prose heavy, but once you get used to the writing style, you’re quickly swept into a novel that is filled with moments of philosophical beauty and searing heartbreak.

It’s about beauty and tragedy, art and chaos, harmony and dissonance, all rolled into one.

Read it for the beautiful characters and read it because it explores teenage sexuality, love and finding your place in society even if you feel as if you’re living on the fringe.

Mostly though, read it because it’s an unforgettable novel that reminds you that it’s okay to fight, flail and fall through the unbearable agony of grief, all before you find your feet again. 

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