Friday, 25 September 2015

I would give you the sun for I'll Give You the Sun.


I'll Give You the SunTitle: I'll Give You the Sun
Series: N/A
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publication: September 16th 2014, Walker Books
Pages: 429 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 5/5. I would give it an infinity amount if I could!
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan for sending me this delightful gem.
From the author of The Sky Is Every­where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying - all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.  

I just finished this book and I am an explosion of feelings and colour and love and happiness and understanding right now.

Self-portrait: The Girl With Color Exploding Out Her Brain


DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! DID YOU?! Well done. You deserve a gold star. If not, you clearly haven't read the book and I am ordering you to right this minute go and read it because it is sparkling, glittering perfection splashed with artistic metaphors and sensational realness and I just really wish I could find every mesmerizing word in the universe and string it together to write a review on this book that might give it justice but which never will because Jandy Nelson, I'm positive, is the angel of writing or something of that sort. Seriously. I've read both her books now and both have been works of art that have wrenched my heart out and thrust it back in and have had me crying and laughing and reeling from the literary delight I've experienced. Her books always end up being a favorite and...I can't believe I'm saying this and I'm quite terrified of saying this but...I think this could be my favorite book I've ever read. Or, at least, in the modern contemporary section. Tied with The Sky is Everywhere, of course, choosing between the two would be utter sacrilege.Yes, it was that good.

I'm also really really really happy that I read I'll Give You the Sun now because I've been in an art frenzy so I just felt like I could relate to Noah and Jude that much more! Like you know sometimes you get a feeling that NOW is just the right time to read the book, like at this moment you'll appreciate and relate to it the most (or is that just me?) and that's what happened now. Since painting my friend a university card last week, every single day I've been painting and coloring and sketching and pinning art photos on Pinterest and graphite, paint and ink have adorned my fingers 24/7. So I knew that now was the perfect time to read IGYTS. And gosh, after reading I'll Give You the Sun I just wanted to create more art. I wanted to feel how Garcia/Jude/Noah had felt creating, I wanted to paint in my head and "wish with my hands" and I wanted to draw and unleash all the feelings in my heart onto paper. I want to remake the world with my painting and my sketches, just like all the exquisite characters in this book wanted to as well.

It's hard to pinpoint what exactly I loved about this book because my feelings for it are basically indescribable, so this review will be all over the place (LIKE MY EMOTIONS, GOSH) and I probably won't make very much sense BUT I SHALL TRY.

Okay, so, the characters in this book are so freaking amazing. That's what I really love about Jandy's books is that the characters are SO REAL. Once you've read one of her books, it feels like you can just call the characters up and they'll be ready to have a conversation with you. They feel so incredibly real. Not only in the sense that I can picture them shopping for art supplies or visiting art galleries, but also in the sense that they're entirely genuine. They're fragments of what they once were, they've been broken down, they've made mistakes, they've faced jealousy, engaged in betrayal, they've lied and broken hearts, they've fallen in love and out of love and a plethora of situations that so many of us have found ourselves in, or have yet to find ourselves in. There's something to relate to with every single character and that's an exceptional quality for a novel to possess.

Let's start with Noah, MY PRECIOUS NOAH who I just wanted to hug. He's so adorable. Noah is an extraordinary, erratic nebula of colour, creativity and ethereal beauty. I loved reading from his POV so much. His creativity just imploded my brain and I LOVED IT! He's so sweet and sensitive and slightly awkward and has this bright but somehow tormented soul that was so misunderstood. I just wanted him to be accepted and for people to see his effulgent brilliance, talent and creativity but they wouldn't understand because he just saw the world so differently, as if it was shrouded in a cloak of magical qualities and thousands of possibilities. But it also broke my heart how he would doubt himself, like at times he thought he was good but there's a part in the book where he just loses all hope in himself and it BROKE MY HEART. I was like no no no no, you're incredible and so talented and please do not put down that paintbrush. I honestly just can't describe how spectacular Noah is. So beautifully inspirational, he is. I loved how he was always himself (well, mainly) and I loved how he didn't conform to society's rules (initially..the contrast between before and after the tragedy was utterly heartbreaking). But my oh my, the way he viewed the universe was entrancing. The brightness that the earth burned with through his eyes and the painting in his head and just...wow. It was a spectacular display of artistic explosion.
“In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I’m not.”
“It occurs to me that Jude does this too, changes who she is depending on who she’s with. They’re like toads changing their skin color. How come I’m always just me?” 
“(Self Portrait: Boy Remakes World Before World Remakes Boy)” 
Jude! If I'm being honest...I wasn't really keen on Jude in the beginning. She was portrayed as a popular/mean girl type figure in the 13-14 years but I ended up adoring her! I did find it quite sad how much she changed and it was almost as if the vibrancy from her spirit had been dislodged, however, her growth throughout the book was momentous. Seriously. She went from a slightly judgmental, popular, free-spirited girl to a quiet, despairing hypochondriac, subdued invisible figure who wasn't quite sure how to be a burst of motion and laughter again to a combustion of fiery light turned up to full brightness - a girl who lives freely and fiercely. Her character development was just...flawless. All the characters' development was perfection, to be honest.
I'm falling forward with the force of two years of buried grief, the sorrow of ten thousand oceans finally breaking inside me-
I let it. I let my heart break.” 
“They do make love stories for girls with black hearts after all. They go like this.”  
I also loved how independent Jude was, and not the type that kicks butt and is sarcastic and outgoing but the type that is ferociously determined to be her own person and to have her "own soul", as she puts it. It's almost as her soul, her persona, was too bright and too energetic to even consider the possibility of being anything but a singular thing. I loved Jude. It was such a heartwarming sight to see her go from lost, floundering and unsure to being a vibrant and passionate girl. I could physically feel the difference from when she was in her limbo mode to her activated mode again, to the point that the significance of her transformation left me with chills.
"But what if I don't need her permission, her approval, her praise to be who I want to be and do what I love? What if I'm in charge of my own damn light switch?” 
Then you have the side characters that you get to know just as well (this is another thing I love about Jandy Nelson's books, you get to know everybody SO WELL!). Who shall I talk about first, they're all so remarkable...Let's start with Oscar (my future husband). He was so remarkable and such an incredible sight (I can imagine), he was so funny and charming and sweet (the little notes that he wrote and the pictures he took of Jude?! SOMEONE HOLD ME.) but yet so broken and GAH, it killed me when he finally let someone in (which was Jude, by the way, I ship them so hard) and all the raw, gritty truth of his tortured background came pouring out and it was so, so sad but also so very inspiring to see how he rose like a phoenix from the ashes, from broken and battered to so powerful and full of life. I just love him so much, you literally have no idea. He's so funny. And kind. I just found him utterly captivating and can we just get married already?

Then there was Garcia, I LOVED HIM SO FREAKING MUCH!!! He's this giant, foreboding sculptor that everybody is terrified of and at first I was kind of wary of him but he grew to be one of my favorite characters. He has a solid rock for a heart but it's just an exterior to prevent him from being exposed to the malicious knifes of heartbreak, such as the ones he has faced in the past. He is actually such a passionate, caring, compassionate, funny person and the love for his work just shone through the pages and I could just feel the love and pain and anger and betrayal he sculpted his art with. It was so very enchanting.
“What is bad for the heart is good for art. The terrible irony of our lives as artists.” 
I watch him [Garcia] throw his head back in supreme happiness, like he's hearing that he gets to choose the colors for all the sunsets from now on.”  
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  
“We wish with our hands, that’s what we do as artists.”  
And thennnn, there's Brian. The boy with the squinty eyes and the lightning struck hair and who carries the galaxy in a bag. He's the boy Noah falls in love with and he is just such a magnificent creature. I'd love to be a character in a Jandy Nelson book because they are all so insightful and creative and amazing and dammit, why can't I be like that?! What I absolutely LOVED about Brian was his fascination with outer space and how he would rattle on about stars and galaxies to Noah and how he would collect meteorites and that basically meant he held parts of the solar system between his fingertips. As you might, or might not know, I want to be an astrophysicist so I could relate with Brian because I'm also in love with learning about outer space and I'm also fascinated with it so THAT WAS AWESOME. He just had this mesmerizing quality about him because he was such a compelling character. He was also so funny and so kind and so good to Noah, when those two found each other I swear I died inside. It was honestly like he was some being from a different planet, not as in a weirdly bizarre way, but in a fascinating how-can-you-be-so-amazing way...I CAN'T DESCRIBE IT OKAY. Just read the book and you'll understand where I'm coming from. He's otherworldly - THAT'S THE WORD. He's mysterious and fascinating and so unlike everybody else it's so utterly magical. 
“He floated into the air high above the sleeping forest, his green hat spinning a few feet above his head. In his hand was the open suitcase and out of it spilled a whole sky of stars.” 
His soul might be a sun. I’ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.”  

Then there are the parents of Noah and Jude who I both loved so much as well. Their dad who was also misunderstood in his own way and who you could see just loved his family with his whole, big heart and the mom who, in a way, was like Jude with her free spirit and fierce way of living life. I loved how she encouraged the twins and took them on art trips and saw their potential and pushed them in that direction because so many people whose kids are interested in art are like "Well, you can't make a career out of it and it's a waste of time and blah blah blah", so I loved the belief and enthusiasm she infused into them to keep them inspired and motivated.

What I also loved was that each character was a frond of string and how at the end they all became interwoven, they had all somehow, in some miraculous way become intertwined with one another and each collided together to make them all whole. There was closure and understanding and the finding split-aparts and it was so completely beautiful how they had all come together like that.
“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” 

Another thing I loved about IGYTS was the family dynamics. It's so rare to find a book that aptly describes the tumultuous, chaotic, lively, loving nature of families but this book just did it perfectly. 

I loved how it described a mother/daughter relationship in the teens years and how it's constant warring with the other and both believing that they're right and how you think you know everything but then something changes and you realise that your mother is so much wiser than you give her credit for. It absolutely obliterated my feelings when Jude does something that she was way too young to do and she feels so dirty and ashamed with herself and she needs her mother so badly *spoiler*BUT THEN NO, her mom dies in a car crash. I cried okay, there were actual tears because she just needed her mom to talk to and tell her it was going to be okay and then her mom died. Then there was all the added guilt on both Noah and Jude's sides because they had spat awful words at her for different reasons the night before and I could just feel their guilt and sadness weighing me down. I felt so, so sorry for them.*spoiler* so basically my emotions were all over the place. 

Then the story focuses on a father/son relationship and good heavens, if that didn't slash my heart to pieces too. Noah and his father aren't on the best of terms because Noah's dad is like wrestling, muscles, no crying, be a man, surf and Noah would rather draw the colours of the sea then actually swim in it. I felt really sorry for Noah because you could see he was craving his dad's love and acceptance and it totally broke my heart that he didn't feel like he was receiving that. Like, you could see the dad loved him and everything but they were so different (or so I initially thought) that I think it was hard for them to really connect in the beginning. Their relationship was written in a sensitive manner and I loved how it was realistic and heart-warming and it also really developed throughout the novel so I was like YASSS! 

And then there was the twins' relationship. Gosh darn it, I want a twin. Really badly. It was so amazing, like they just knew how the other was feeling, the knew what the other needed, they were best friends and they could share parts of their souls with each other and reveal things about themselves that no one else would understand. It completely broke me when they started drifting apart. Like, you'd get fleeting moments when it was like before but then something would happen which would cause the rift to broaden even more and I would just be like NO YOU IDIOTS STAHHPP, just be how you used to again, just become close again but because they had changed so much and were unrecognizable to who they once were, they had no idea how to find the way back to each other and it just made me seriously ugly cry okay. But gosh, the ending was totally perfect. I just love their relationship so much and I love how honest they are with each other and how they will do anything and everything they can to protect one another. UGH EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO CRY.
“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.” 
NOW FOR THE ROMANCE.

love animated GIF

IT WAS FRIKKIN' BEAUTIFUL, OKAY. It was calamitous, painful, honest, spellbinding and radiant. I just can't even begin to describe how much I loved it, so I'm just going to give up on trying to be eloquent and just activate full fangirl mode. I apologise in advance.

Let's start with Noah and Brian - OH MY FREAKING SOUL. I shipped them so much. They were so utterly perfect and EXCUSE MY TEARS. This is the first LGBT book I've ever read and I've always avoided them because (please don't be offended or hate on me) homosexuality is something that is kind of against my beliefs as a Christian and secondly, it makes me slightly uncomfortable. But because this is a Jandy Nelson book and everything she writes is golden, I decided to go ahead and read this and step out of my comfort zone. *applauds self* Yes, at times, I was a bit uncomfortable with the kissing but you know what, I had come to love these characters so much that I was just so ecstatic that Noah and Brian had found each other. That they completed each other. That they had both found someone who could understand and accept them. I loved how Brian could give Noah galaxies and stars and Noah could give Brian the colours of his soul, because that's what art is, isn't it? I loved how Noah had finally found someone to confide in, someone to love and it was so overwhelmingly magnificent. I loved their banter and how they would go hunting for meteorites and how Noah would paint and paint and paint Brian and how they would utter their secrets and I honestly can't describe how much I love those two. Their relationship truly was beautiful.

When Noah showed Brian a painting he did of him and Brian responded with.
"'I look like the freaking aurora borealis.' I don't know what that is, but I can tell from his voice it's a very cool thing."
I honestly could not even at that very moment. 

And I loved how Brian introduced to Noah to the splendors of outer space. 
"I go behind the telescope, peer into the eyepiece, and all the stars crash down on my head. It's like taking a shower in the cosmos. I gasp."
Then there was Oscar and Jude. Oscar was astonishing beautiful and him and Jude were so magical together. They were both so broken and so hurt and consumed by grief and guilt and it was the most spine-tingling sensation to see them unlock each others hearts and wash away all those awful emotions they had been experiencing. I loved how they saw each other as a work of art and a divine being, I loved how they would banter and then talk about things they'd never revealed to anybody else. I loved how in a way they saved each other and how you could see they were true soul mates, they were split-aparts and that their love would cause the stars to explode and the moon to crash down. They were so powerful together and it was utterly breathtaking.
“I gave up practically the whole world for you,” I tell him, walking through the front door of my own love story. “The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.” 
“And I know [other] faces aren't this colorful, this vivid, this lived-in, this superbly off-site, this brimming with dark unpredictable music. 
Then there was the writing which was sublime. I can't really say anymore except that you need to read it to understand because each sentence in this book is a stroke of genius that will snatch your breath away and you'll love every second of it. Trust me.

I'll Give You the Sun was hands down the best book I've read this year and one of my all-time favorites. It captured the haunting feeling of loss and betrayal, as well as the heavenly sensations of first love. This book was art itself. It was an an inspirational masterpiece that left me at loss for words, it left me with an ache in my gut because I knew that I had just experienced a book that painted experiences before my eyes and so accurately captured the plethora of situations that we've gone through or have yet to go through. I honestly think that everybody should read this book, because it is in this very book where you might just find yourself. It was a captivating treasure that crushed my heart to smithereens, stitched it back together and gave it back to me with an imprint of itself so that I would never forget it, not that I ever could. The creativity in this book blew my mind, the characters tugged at my heartstrings and the romance made me believe, once again, that an earth-shattering love like the ones that featured in this story can be found. You have to read this book.

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes.

So! Tell me! Have you read this? (YOU HAVE TO) Have you read The Sky is Everywhere? (READ THAT ONE TOO) Do you sketch/paint/scuplt/do artsy things? What's your favourite book of 2015?

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