Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson






DNF at 55%

I haven’t abandoned a book in so long… I felt bad about breaking such a long streak of powering through shitty books. But I really didn’t want to suffer through this one any longer. I’m an adult, damnit. I have the right to stop reading something that’s boring my face off.

I was trying to find a picture or gif to describe I’ll Give You the Sun, and this is the best I could come up with:


Like Prince, this book is so purple. And also like Prince, this book thinks it’s a lot more important than it actually is. (Sorry, Prince fans.)

I think my dislike for poetic prose is a personal taste thing. I still can’t understand why anyone would be moved by a sentence like: “The world is a wrong-sized shoe.” But whatever, to each their own. The writing style isn’t why I stopped reading this book. I stopped reading because the plot is thin and the characters are unbelievable and annoying.

The thin plot: 13-year-old fraternal twins, a guy and a girl, are both trying to get into a pretigious, fine arts high school. They’re also both crushing on boys. And then something goes down and the twins stop speaking to each other. Then there’s a tragedy. Jump forward 3 years and they’re still not really speaking to each other. Even though they live in the same house, which is totally how it would go down IRL. Neither one of them would try to make things right, nuh-uh… And yah, after about 100 pages you know exactly where the story’s going and you don’t care.

The unbelievable and annoying characters: I kind of liked Noah, even though I’m not sure if I buy that real artists think like he does. He was a little whiny, but so are all 13-year-olds. He interested me at least. I found Jude to be obnoxious. Yah, she’s been through a lot, but she’s so “I’m not like other girls” I just feel like I’ve come across her character in so many other books and I’m tired of it. No, I don’t believe that she has no friends. And no, I don’t believe that she became an entirely different person after the tragedy. Yah, that shit’s gonna change you, but not that much. And her crush on Oscar? Give me a fucking break. Borderline-statutory-rape vibes aside, the guy is so stereotypical British it’s almost offensive, and he’s a stock character damaged bad boy that is evidence of (again) lazy writing. These two are really just Edward and Bella with better vocabulary. And from what I understand [spoiler here: they get together in the end.] Which is total bullshit and should not be encouraged. I thought YA was past this crap but I guess not.

I feel bad, because a co-worker recommended this book to me as part of a “readers advisory” exercise that was supposed to help us librarians make better recommendations to our patrons. I told her that I don’t like purple writing or unrealistic romances, but I guess I didn’t explain myself well enough… I hope I enjoy her other recommendations.

2016, you better step it up. No more pretentious novels with characters named “Jude.” Please. (My angry review of A Little Life: coming soon!)


4 thoughts on “Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  1. Urgh, I know the type of book, way too well. Either way, nice review, first time I’ve ever read something of yours but your writing style, along with your excellent sense of humour is going to make me an instant follower.


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