For every book we read during the book club, one of our book club members will write a review. This way anyone who couldn’t be there, can still join in with the fun! Our second YA book is I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and the review is written by Saskia den Ouden. You can read more of her writing over at thepunchlineisprose.wordpress.com/.
Do you think the world is a magical place? Do you think things happen for a reason? Or do you believe in any form of soulmating?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, this book is not for you. This doesn’t mean you’ll hate it, but your suspended disbelieve will run thin.
I’ll Give You the Sun is a tale of two parts told by the twins Noah and Jude. Noah, at 14, is an aspiring artist, trying to cope with his budding sexuality. Jude, at 16, is dealing with the guilt she feels after a bunch of unfortunate circumstances that take place in between the two narratives. She has become lost in a world of superstition.
The writing style captures both voices excellently. Noah’s is very visual (not counting the mind paintings) and Jude’s is build around the weird rituals that people use to control their lives. Their differences and similarities in voice are very clear and make the book quite interesting.
However the plot is based on a lot of coincidence and circumstance. The way both characters happen to meet all the same people makes me believe that the town of Lost Cove has only 12 inhabitants. As the plot develops the use of ‘cosmic strings’ starts to feel trite and forced. Nelson tries to wrap the story in shiny paper and a nice bow. She manages, but at the cost of the quality of the plot. The point of the book is that you can remake the world and the author demonstrates that, but in doing so loses the last bit of realism she had at her finger tips.
However, I am a cynic. I don’t believe in cosmic forces driving me towards my destiny. I believe that bad things happen, because statistically they have to happen and since many bad things have to happen chances are they’ll happen to me or someone close to me at some point.
But this book was meant for young adults, many of whom still have that sense of magic and destiny. And for them this book is definitely a good choice.