Book Review: I’ll give you the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

Available now in bookstores nationwide.cv_Ill_give_you_the_sun

I’ll give you the Sun is a tale resplendent with eloquent prose, with rich and evocative metaphor, engaging characters and an enveloping plot.

It is a tale of love and broken friendships, of betrayal and forgiveness, of misunderstandings and shattered dreams. It is also the tale of two twins, Noah and Jude, with the plot interweaving the two.

Noah’s, written at the age of 13, speaks of first love, love that, if not precisely forbidden, differs from the generally accepted social norms, and of his hopes and dreams of becoming an artist.

Jude’s thread, written 3 years later, speaks on the aftermath of the tragic event that more-or-less tore their already fragile family relationships apart. She has been hiding from herself, living a life in the shadows of regret.

Together the two entwine into a tale filled with bittersweet, seasoned with humour, filled with larger-than-life characters and ultimately leading to redemption and acceptance.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

I’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406326499

Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson

cv_the_sky_is_everywhereAvailable in bookstores nationwide.

The sky is everywhere, is a tale of death, mourning, love and following one’s own heart. It is lyrically told, interspersed throughout with heart-wrenching pieces of poetry.

The protagonist,17-year old Lennie, lives with music in her veins. For most of her life it has been just her and her sister, Bailey, living with their larger-than-life (at least in personality) grandmother and irrepressible uncle, Big. Then one day, suddenly, tragically, Bailey dies. It is impossible for her sister to grasp – too long has she been her sister’s shadow, her companion pony. Her body reacts in strange ways, craving desire and belonging. This leads to some uncomfortable moments with Bailey’s bereaved boyfriend, Toby. The two are drawn together by a connection that they feel no-one else can quite comprehend.

Enter into the picture, the charismatic new boy, Joe Fontaine. Joe embraces life with an enthusiastic glee and embraces love with the same uninhibited enthusiasm. But a heart so big is easy to break, and as Lennie and he are drawn closer together, misunderstandings and misguided actions strive to drive them apart.

The poems are fragments of Lennie’s soul, poignant and emotional. She sketches them on music paper, on discarded coffee cups, in the margins of her favourite books. She sets them free. And they are the final touch that turns this tale from a simple teen story of falling in love into something much deeper and more intense – an exploration of falling apart and then beginning anew.

This is a book of family, of friendship, of making the wrong choice and making the right choice. A book of losing oneself, then finding oneself.

Of falling in love. Of loss and forgiveness.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

The Sky is Everywhere
by Jandy Nelson
Published by Walker Books (re-issue)

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.