I’ll Give You the Sun is Jandy Nelson’s second novel, and her most acclaimed - it won the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2015. The story follows twins Noah and Jude Sweetwine as they struggle with love, death, art, and each other. It’s set on the California coast with a cast of artists, surfers, and occasional vengeful ghosts. The audience switches between Noah’s point of view in their younger years, and Jude’s after they’ve grown up a little. The twins used to be so similar they could nearly read each other’s minds - but jealousy and tragedy rip them apart. I’ll Give You the Sun follows their journey to become one again – but is that what they really need to be complete?
This book will force inspiration down your throat in the best way possible. It made me want to create a huge mural on an abandoned wall or drive to California and work with an acclaimed sculptor. It also had some nice queer representation. However, it’s written for young adults and falls victim to a good amount of clichés and occasional bad writing that plague the genre. Another major problem I had with the novel was that 16-year old Jude has a relationship with a guy in college, and the author sends mixed messages about whether those kinds of age-gap relationships are okay or not. Overall, I would give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to teens who want an engaging read to pass the time.