Leisure Literature: I’ll Give You The Sun

Pre-post notes: The next few posts (3 books and 1 baking) were all done by me well over a month ago. Unfortunately, I’m bad at writing so I did not complete these posts until now.

When I can find extra moments, there is always a list of books I want to read. Some I anticipate for months, some for years before I find the time to get to them, and some of them live up to the hype and some don’t. Leisure Literature is a book review column that details my thoughts on my recent readings.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is a newer YA book that I decided to pick up simply due to the semi-popularity of it recently. So, yes, I was just opening it and seeing what it had to offer without any real expectation.

Boy, did it deliver. For some reason, after finishing the book, I couldn’t stop raving to myself about how magic the book was. I could not explain exactly how, but I really felt an element of emotion and connection beyond logic, stuff that books aren’t supposed to be powerful enough to make one feel.

Noah and Jude (cool names, guys) are pretty well-developed characters. They each have clear wants and personalities, and admirable attitudes and realistic reactions. Yet, I never felt invested in them as people. In addition, the plot, upon zooming out, is rather unordinary, and could be cliched. So if the book is not character driven or plot driven, why was it so magical?

I think it was because it was meaning driven and word driven. I didn’t find satisfaction in Noah’s drive or Jude’s passion, but in the way things were said. In the way Noah thought, the painting titles. The metaphors used. How Jude would explain how she felt about something. And if I didn’t relate to the words every time, I definitely felt connected to how it was said. My brain works like that. I must have said “yes, exactly!” to myself fifty times. What little thoughts or lines meant in a micro sense felt more important than the book overall. That much made me feel like I understood Noah and Jude very personally. After I closed the book, though, and forgot the tiny moments that happened line by line, I was like, what made me feel like I knew them? I’m not like them at all!

One larger plot point I related to was Noah and Jude’s sibling relationship. The feeling of drifting and not wanting to, yet not feeling in a place to fix it. Hating each other, yet knowing each other better than can be explained, and still working together.

Other things: I enjoyed Noah’s artistic mind and how he can paint anything in his head, and I loved how Jude’s belief in the spirits and supernatural was so integrated into her perspective of the world. The way it was presented kept the book out of fantasy and in the real world, yet somehow brought the fantasy to the real world. I personally don’t have any inkling of bringing up in anything remotely similar to what Jude believes, but this writing made me accept it and believe it for Jude.

A couple things I wish were different: Oscar was a little too storybook to be real, and sometimes broken love stories (Noah’s) are meant to stay broken. Happy endings are cool too, but I value realistic ones even more.

Personally, for me, this book was magic. The words spoke to me personally, and something in the story connected with me beyond explaination. This is definitely a will-buy-my-own-copy-for-my-own-bookshelf book. Of course I think it’s an amazing book–you should read it, but this review is more of a personal experience I had with this story that I’m not sure everyone will have. Yet, I’m pretty sure it’s a great read even if you don’t find the same magic I did.

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Leisure Literature: I’ll Give You The Sun

Thoughts

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