Jun 15, 2019

I'll Give You the Sun

by Jandy Nelson

Sorry can't help it there are some spoilers.

I read this book because my teen kept saying how good it was. I asked "what's it about?" and was told: "Relationships". It is, but so much more. Alternate narration by two teenagers- twins- very close, until something happens that splits them, perhaps irreparably. Their mother encourages them in art, they're both vying to get into an artsy California school, but their views and abilities are quite different, also how the parents treat them. One feels supported and praised, the other not so much. There's also the growing schism between the parents, the boy's secret infatuation with a new kid next door- and deep fear of anyone finding out he's gay. The daughter creates three-dimensional art and wants to make the most important piece of her life in stone- and finds a famed, reclusive sculptor who just might agree to mentor her- but there's connections she doesn't realize. Passion and grief and secrets. A dangerous English guy she finds herself drawn to, even though everyone tells her he's bad news. There's surfers and dangerous cliff dives, one kid has to deal with being harrassed, the other with rape. So much awful stuff. But also such lively, vivid language, such kindness and consideration between the characters- although they have their bitter, revengeful moments, too. One of them is really into signs, omens and voices from the dead- I'm not keen of that kind of thing but it didn't really put me off this time. I found it a few things in the story a bit odd, and others I had a hard time piecing together, because not only is it told in two voices, but also skips around in time, so I sometimes lost the context of things. But overall it was rather riveting, and the ending is very nice. After all that twisting and hiding and pain, there is finally acceptance, patience, tenderness and love. I found it rather unbelievable the sculptor would take on such an unpolished student, and teach her to use power tools so quickly. But a part of the novel that really resonated with me was the boy's passion for art, and everything surrounding that. It felt much more true to my own experience than, for example, Egret.

You should look at some of the other reviews I linked to below, because everyone describes this book differently.

Rating: 3/5                    371 pages, 2014

more opinions:
Things Mean a Lot
Rhapsody in Books
Good Books, Good Wine
Reading Rants
So Many Books, So Little Time


  1. I read another novel by this author that I really liked so I'll probably try this one day even though it sounds a little uneven.

  2. I loved this book, enough that I've been nervous to read her other book, out of fear that it won't live up to this one. It made me feel all the emotions; I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I have heard of this one, but haven't read it. It's one I have wondered if I should read, so I'm glad you reviewed it.


Comments are screened due to spam.