Friday, October 28, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Chat Review ~ I'll Give You the Sun ~ Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Source: Borrowed from Sky's friend
Rating: 5 Beautiful, Exploding with Color Bookworms
Challenges: #OctobeRecFest
Recommended by: Sky

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways...until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else - an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing - often all at once.


As y'all know, Sky was home last week for her fall break. Her friend, Maya, at Reed lent her I'll Give You the Sun because she thought it was such a moving read. Sky devoured it in a day and then asked me to read it. Since it was her recommendation and she wanted us to fangirl over it, I decided a Mom/Daughter Chat Review was in order. Enjoy!

Sky: How do you start these conversations with Lexxie?

Me: We just start talking like we would if we were sitting together talking...

Sky: Ummmmmmm
How was your day?

Me: LOL Silly - we're supposed to talk about the book! 😛

Sky: You said like we were if we were sitting talking together! 😛

Me: Stinker! ❤
I'll start...
I'll Give You the Sun was very impactful (is that a word?) Why did you want me to read it?

Sky: This is a hard question to answer!

Me: Ooh, I've stumped you already 😉

Sky: Oh my goodness. Hmmm.....

Me: How did you feel about how the story was conveyed - with the switching POVs and timelines?


Me: What?

Sky: I'm answering your question right now
that's why my dots are moving 
the first question that is
A lot of the time I convey thoughts in separate bubbles

I'll stop doing that for this conversation

Me: Tech-challenged mom, remember?

Sky: I guess something about it just really left a mark on me. It's not really that there's an important moral or message, necessarily, but the way that the book is written is just masterful. It really takes you on a wild ride. Also, I love character-driven books like this one. I think maybe that was why I wanted you to read it. The characters from IGYTS have a way of getting in your head and they're just so real.
Also the emotional roller coaster that is this book is something else... Books that make me cry the whole way through I feel are always really amazing.

Me: I'm a character-driven story fan as well and I agree. The way Nelson described every little detail (in an incredibly way) about how both Noah and Jude were feeling...I just...they did get in my head and I wanted to hug them. It made me so sad that something, that many siblings experience, was able to drive a wedge between them. Competitiveness. Selfishness. All normal, I suppose.
And yes, it was quite the emotional roller coaster. And that's a mark of a fabulous book in my opinion as well. 🙂

Sky: I don't know really if the wedge was driven between the siblings or if it was between the characters themselves! By that I mean that I feel as if Jude and Noah both isolated themselves from who they truly were, and thereby each other.

Me: You don't think there was a wedge? I agree that they isolated themselves from each other - and that was heartbreaking. But they intentionally did things to the other knowing what the repercussions would be. Those things were done with intent.
I liked when, I think it was Jude, said that they weren't recognizable anymore. They'd removed from themselves all that made them who they were. I know this was done after the tragic event but I also think the competitiveness had placed a barrier between them. They didn't have twin-speak for awhile...

Sky: Hm, I guess so.
It's been awhile since I read it.

Me: You're going to have to re-read it since you devoured it the first time! 😀

Sky: I know!

Me: It's okay to disagree with me though 😉
Did you have a favorite character?

Sky: Noah and Brian!
What about you?

Me: I don't know...I felt for Guillermo and also...oh shoot, I can only remember his last name (Ralph) the British guy.
But yeah, Noah and Brian made me smile quite a bit. I loved the stargazing, the search for meteorites (is that the right term?), and Noah's descriptions of his feelings when he was with Brian...when he thought about Brian. It was incredible!

And as a mom, I felt for Jude as well. She'd been going through a "normal" teenage phase when what happened happened. She needed her mom and she didn't have her anymore.

Which makes me think...both Noah and Jude really withdraw after "the event" and they think it's for the same reason but it's not. And they both feel so much guilt for something they had no control over. (well, Noah had control over a few things, but...)

Sky: Oscar!

Me: Yesssss!

Sky: Oscore

Me: They all experienced so much early in life or at least at critical stages and they had to grow up much too quickly!

Sky: I agree!
How did you feel about Mom's actions?

Me: That's tough. Because of course, I don't agree with what was going on. But I also can see where she was coming from - especially the being true to yourself element. She couldn't very well tell Noah to be himself when she wasn't being true to herself. (but don't worry, I wouldn't do that)
How did you feel about her actions?

Sky: I felt similarly conflicted, but most of all I felt like it really showed how human she was. How we change, we make mistakes, and mostly we're just doing our best. I felt like she did a disservice to Dad -- that aspect, I really felt like she did a poor job of handling. But you're right. Her situation was such that what she ended up choosing would have been best for everyone, I think. But I like that Mom drives the entire book -- that she's the focal point of everything that happened and everything that happens. I really think Noah might be onto something when he said she seemed like she was from a different planet, because she is a very good human, but she's like the black hole at the center of the galaxy that is IGYTS.

Me: You're absolutely right about Mom being flawed. In fact, I think that all the characters are shown to be flawed...very human. We do all make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.
What you said is very profound. I don't think I really thought about Mom driving the story in those terms but she certainly did. And I also liked Noah's description of her - what did her call her? A blow in? I like your black hole analogy though. Very accurate.

I really liked how everyone was all tangled up in the same story. You know I firmly believe in things happening for a reason and so I liked the interconnection in the story.

Sky: Me too!! That was something I really admired about it. The plot made me think of those funny pictures of people with string tacked all over their corkboard

But really, the humanistic aspect of the story was something super important to me. It was so refreshing to see characters who were so human, even if in a lot of ways they really weren't normal at all. It meant a lot to see them making mistakes, and I liked that none of them were really FIXED at the end! Everyone just learned to live with what happened and go from there; there was no magical remedy. I really appreciated that.

Me: I liked that as well - the fact that there wasn't a magical cure. They did what they did, learned what they learned, and coped...AND LIVED. That's what Mom would have wanted. Although it might have broke her heart to know the route they took to get there. But that's part of life as well.
We can't not mention the art. Oh my goodness the art! I felt as though I could almost see it all in my mind. I loved the interconnection there as well. But the color, the passion...really, it's how Noah communicated for a long time, I think.

Sky: I definitely headcanon Noah as autistic.
Especially the lack of verbal communication and his art...I dunno, that's just really the way it struck me.
He kind of reminded me of Anna from Soul Walker. 🙂

Me: headcanon?
Yeah, I could see that but in the end I don't think he was

Sky: Trendy teen term
you don't think so?

Me: Hmm...maybe?

Sky: Not even high-functioning?

Me: So yeah, now that you mention it, Noah does remind me of Anna 😉
High-functioning for sure though
I don't know why it didn't hit me while I was reading but now that I think about it - his inner dialog about not knowing what to do with his hands, etc., yeah, that does sound like autism.

Sky: Also how single-track he is, and his art

Me: True. I couldn't believe how Jude described him drawing and drawing until he had to stick his hand in the freezer.

Sky: Dad's scientist side made me laugh. "Oh that makes sense." Hahahahaha

Me: LOL That made me laugh as well. And it's funny that neither Noah nor Jude got much of his science-y brain. 🙂

Sky: It is!
Oh, Guillermo!
We have to talk about Guillermo.

Me: Yes, let's...

Sky: Oh, but first!
How much of the end did you guess?
The only think I was missing was Jude's dancing sand women. 
I liked that aspect of the book - getting to figure out everything and try to guess what was coming

Me: I was wrong about the "who" with Jude's dancing sand women.
I enjoyed that aspect as well. Again, everything was so interconnected. It was a fun element - trying to guess.

Sky: Maya said that she didn't see the thing with Mom coming at all, haha.

Me: Hmm...I did. And I always felt something was off. Mom's secret...why do you think she was hiding that one part of herself that she didn't have to hide?

Sky: Society. 😛
No, haha, I think she did it for her kids

Me: How so? (I know we're being obtuse here but I don't want to be spoiler-y)

Sky: I think that she felt their lives would be healthier if she hid everything and tried to make it seem like nothing had changed. What she didn't understand is that kids are perceptive.
I think eventually it got to the point where she and Dad had to change something, though. So she tried to do it in a way that would break things gently for her kids.

Me: True - kids are very perceptive!
But I felt like the one thing she was hiding was something she could share with her kids - bond over
Guillermo, how do you feel about him?

Sky: I agree. And I think that was her mistake.
I think Guillermo needed Oscar, because he didn't know how to cope.

Me: Of course, it's easy for us to see that.
And Oscar needed Guillermo as well, for sure!
Isn't it interesting how that one little piece of information, once Guillermo had it, completely changed his perception of things and thereby his life?

Sky: Yes! And I think it did for all of them!

Me: True. How did you feel about how Jude handled that?
And what else do you want to say about Guillermo?

Sky: I don't remember what Jude did.
I think something about the stone could be a metaphor for the people in this book...I liked the way the stoneworking was described.

Me: I felt Jude handled it all very maturely - that's all. I was impressed.
I loved the stoneworking as well. Guillermo's work - particularly the woman coming out of the man's chest and the stone giants. Oh, and the angel! But I also liked Jude realizing she had something to say but it had to be said through that particular medium. And then when she went to work, the piece that came first wasn't what she'd intended but was something she needed to say as well. 
Yes, the stone could be a metaphor for the characters...perceptive of you. 😉

Sky: Hahaha, thanks.

Me: Is there anything else you wanted to discuss? I'm wondering if we've covered all your "more on that later"s... 🙂
By the way, I loved Jude's "That Girl" epiphany. That was awesome!

Sky: Oh yeah!
I was telling you to wait and see, haha.

Me: I'm so happy that Maya shared this book with you and that you then shared it with me. I can't say enough glowing things about it. It was sometimes tough to read but it was a beautiful story and beautifully told. I loved it!

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