This LGBTuesday is about the book I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The Library has one copy of this book in our YA collection, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. This book has a wide appeal to a range of ages and tackles subjects like affairs, death, and of course sexual identity.
The story is about fraternal twins, Jude and Noah, who grow apart during their teen years. The book jumps between events that occurred when the twins were 13 which are narrated by Noah and events at age 16 which are narrated by Jude.
Throughout the two different time periods the twins’ personalities have changed a lot and the reader gets to see how this came to be as the story progresses. More details get revealed that show why they changed and how the death of their mother affected the two leads.
At its heart this is a story about sibling relationships and family struggles and is packed with lots of personal drama. Noah is gay, but closeted when he’s younger and still hides the fact from his sister later. Jude has her own burdens over not being there when her mother died and pining after this guy, but trying to resist after swearing off dating.
The gay identity and relationship does affect Noah’s personality and character, but it does take a backseat to the family struggles of the story. This book isn’t as focused on his identity since it’s really a character piece on two siblings and their distance and relationship to one another. It can be refreshing at times to see a character’s sexuality be present, but not take precedence of the story and that is what readers will get with this book.
The biggest flaw of the book could also be its biggest strength for some readers, which is its two narrators. If you care about one’s story more than the other it can be trying at times to get through the portion of the story you care less about.
I’ll Give You the Sun offers a well-crafted narrative that might appeal to those who like drama and a sense of mystery, as they try to piece together parts of the story before they are fully revealed. What more could you ask for? Perhaps, two queer leads instead of one, but we’ll be sure to highlight some queer ensemble items at the Library soon.