Clover Book Club: I'll Give You the Sun
Grab the snacks, get comfy, and see what we thought about our June pick.
Every sibling relationship is a little complicated, but nothing—nothing—is as complicated as the relationship between brother-sister duo Noah and Jude, two twins/artists/hopeless romantics trying to figure out how to survive life in Jandy Nelson’s second novel I’ll Give You the Sun. The book has everything: love (your heart will melt a little), sadness (and then your heart will break a lot), death (you will cry), and a cover that you’ll be happy to have on your bookshelf. It’s written from the point-of-view of both siblings, both of whom manage to perfectly encapsulate how it feels when everything falls apart—and then how you can slowly put it back together again. It’s also painfully relatable. Look no further than this bit of dialogue that’s been circled in our own copies of the book:
"I love you," I say to him, only it comes out, "Hey." "So damn much," he says back, only it comes out, "Dude."
Too. Real. Also, if you didn’t pick up on it, that’s about a romantic conversation between two high school dudes, which adds yet another layer of coolness—and importance!—to the book. See what we loved most about the book. Then, enter to win our July book club pick, Rebel of the Sands (or buy it here) so you don’t have FOMO next time.
What Casey thought:
I read this on a six-hour flight. I got to the airport super early, flight was delayed, and then the taxi line to get home was very long. But I loved it so much I finished it and immediately started rereading it.
In this story about the deeply intertwined and yet very separate lives (love lives, social lives, inner lives) of two twins, Jandy touches on three of the things I wanted most as a kid. 1) A twin. Which, to be fair, I sort of had since my brother is just a year older. 2) A talent for making any sort of art, be it sculpture or paintings or sketches, like the characters in the book all seem to effortlessly possess. 3) An imaginary friend. Jude’s imaginary friend is her dead grandma, who randomly shows up to offer wisdom. Can you imagine if your deceased grandparent floated into the air with advice whenever you needed it? After reading this book, I couldn't stop imagining it. (I need a lot of advice.)
What Liza thought:
Be prepared to spend an entire afternoon totally absorbed in I’ll Give You the Sun. The storyline sucked me in immediately, and I didn’t stop reading until I had to go eat dinner (#priorities).
On the surface, Jude is a popular girl-turned-art student, and Noah is a sensitive artist-gone-athlete. They’re also dealing with the complexities of first crushes, family tragedy, and finding their own identities. I loved how Jandy turns the classic twin bond inside-out. As Jude and Noah fight, grow apart, and stop talking to each other as much, I felt as though I got to know them even better. We get a peek into their innermost thoughts and secrets—which are pretty big, by the way. But you’ll need to read the book yourself to find out.
What Clover readers thought:
Janine Lau: I've read this book a while ago and I loved it! TBH, Jude and Noah are sibling goals. All the ships in the book are adorable and I have no other words than that. This book is amazing.
Stacey Yu: Reading Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun was like wearing 3D glasses–Noah and Jude’s technicolor personalities dove as deeply into my heart as they did the glittering Pacific." I loved the raw and lyrical quality of Nelson's writing and how honestly she conveyed the tumultuous, quick coming-of-age of two very special teenagers.
Kelsey Weekman: This book does what you want every book to do—change the way you see the world. And it does so with two entirely different narrators, so through one novel you get two refreshing, artistic lenses with which to view what's around you.
Luke Bagdon: Oh my goodness, I loved the book so much. Every detail of being a young, scared, closeted gay kid is perfectly set in fragile glass, something I'm so grateful for. The way the book is written is absolutely brilliant, and the twists it sent my mind through while I read it are so beautiful. The myths about the family and the witch aspects and the way everything is described is beautiful. I legitimately might start carrying it around with me so whenever I have time I can re-read. It's a beautiful book and I recommend it to everyone.
Kelley Tackett: I'll Give You the Sun was heartfelt, endearing, funny, and agonizing. I loved the way Jude and Noah's stories intertwined and my favorite scene is undoubtedly the moment Noah, Jude, and Oscar are finally in the same place at the same time. More than anything, though, the final page was the best. The closing words about remaking the world will stay with me forever, because somehow this beautiful story was also a beautiful message. I'm recommending this book to all of my friends!
This post was brought to you by our friends at Penguin Teen.