Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - Book Review

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: June and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dive and wears red lipstick and does the talking for both of them.

But three years later, at sixteen, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways... until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life.

The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to each other, they'd have the chance to remake their world.

Review: I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned the last page of this magnificent novel—I hadn't felt such a vast array of emotions all at once in a very long time, and I definitely wasn't expecting this book to give me a punch in the gut like it did...

In all honesty, I went into this book with relatively low expectations. I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary novels, as they usually turn out to be less grand than I hope they'd be, and with this novel, despite the high ratings on Goodreads, I just wasn't really expecting much. The synopsis hadn't seemed very persuading when I first read it, and the only reason I had picked it up at all was because of the raving reviews I had seen all over the internet, and I wanted to see the reasoning behind it first hand.

This book tore me apart.

But, it was a good tore me apart. Like the kind where I want to hug the book when I'm finished and hold it close forever.

This novel follows two twins—Noah and Jude—and, already that was something that completely set the story apart, because, I mean, how many books have you read with alternating perspectives between twins? Jandy Nelson did a flawless job at making Jude and Noah two distinctly unique characters, and despite being twins, I was never confused. Each point of view was written with such individuality in tone, that I developed separate feelings for each twin, and truly felt that they were more than just characters on a page, but real life friends. I know an author is doing a wonderful job with developing the voice of a character when I no longer see them as words on paper, but as living beings sitting beside me.

Nelson's writing was gorgeous. Very colorful and descriptive. I don't know how she managed to keep the voice casual and cool yet elegant and poetic, but she did. I must confess that there were a few times when the writing was so lengthy that I found myself getting lost in a paragraph of a single long sentence, causing me to forget what the original subject and intended purpose of the sentence actually was. Nonetheless, everything ultimately seemed to flow together very well, and the enriched sentence structure helped create some serious in-depth imagery, so I didn't have much trouble picturing the story in my head.

This contemporary was so much more than a love story, and I think that's the principal reason as to why I adore it so much. It's a very atypical contemporary revolving around a broken family whose trying so hard to hold on and not get washed away in their own personal problems. It really touched me on a wholly new emotional level—not the kind where I get all silly over swoon-worthy romance (although that was in there, too) but where I found myself truly heart-broken and empathetic towards the twins and their family. I was brought to tears multiple times throughout this novel, and each time it felt as if what were happening to the characters was genuinely happening to me. An extremely emotional connection developed between myself and the characters.

I took my time with this novel, as the pacing isn't exactly quite fast. Although, each chapter ends on a mild cliff hanger, so I usually found myself continuing on to the next chapters because I needed to know what was going to happen next. So, definite props to Nelson for that. What I definitely liked most about the structure of the story was how, in the beginning, the reader goes into this novel thinking that they understand everything that is going on—but as the story progresses everything begins to unravel itself, and suddenly you're kind of left dumbfounded whilst you sit there thinking, "Did that really just happen?" (Yep, it did.) In the end, everything ties itself together in a very practical manner, which personally left me quite satisfied. As what usually happens when I read contemporary novels, is that everything is solved in the most unrealistic, cheesiest, cringe-worthy way possible, and suddenly you realize that the story is over and you're unhappy because the ending was just so rushed. But I'll Give You the Sun's grande finale was beautifully written, with perfectly natural pacing. So when I closed the back cover of the book, I just felt so content within, and it was truly a wonderful feeling.

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