I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Two posts in one day! And finally, my next book review! I haven’t reviewed a book on here in a while and I’m excited to get back to it! Now, I wrote a short summary for the beginning of the book, but in my opinion neither this summary nor the official one does the book justice so get ready to dive very deep into this masterpiece in order to teach yourself that you need to get this book right away.

Noah is quiet and keeps to himself. He hides in the pictures he loves to draw and lets his twin sister do all the talking for him. No one notices that he’s falling in love with the boy next door. Meanwhile, Jude does more than enough speaking to make up for her brother’s silence. She’s a daredevil, a surfer and a sky diver who wears lipstick and kisses boys just to spite her mother. However, three years later their worlds have flipped upside down and their personalities have changed drastically. Now, both are each other. Jude is the quiet one, hanging out with no one and obsessed with art. Noah has immersed himself in the world that Jude had been in, with friends and late night parties. Each of them are dealing with the gap that has emerged between them in wildly different ways and each of them only hold half the reason that the gap is even there. Only if they can piece together the story can they find their way back to each other.

I loved both of the characters in this book. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is an extremely character driven novel and throughout the story both Noah and Jude absolutely shone.

The book starts with the introduction of thirteen-year-old Noah. At this age, he’s shy, quiet, keeps to himself. He loves to draw and is constantly coming up with what pictures should look like in his head. In this same chapter we get to meet his sister, Jude. It’s immediately obvious that Jude does not have a good relationship with their mother and does everything she can to spite her. Jude is loud, a risk-taker, basically everything Noah isn’t and I think this is why they fit so well together–it’s as if they were one person who was just split in half. They need each other.

Which is why reading the next chapter is so very jarring. Suddenly it’s three years later and the story is being told from Jude’s point of view. The twins have practically switched places in life; suddenly Noah is the one going to all the parties and Jude is estranged from everyone. And both are estranged from each other. And yet through Jude’s point of view you can tell that they still need each other. That they need to find each other again in this mess we call the world.

And thus goes the book, weaving through the lives’ of thirteen-year-old Noah and sixteen-year-old Jude, piecing together what happened in between those years that made them break apart so shockingly. There are many layers to the time between and it takes time to unearth them all.

I think that the next thing we should focus on is the writing. Oh, the writing. Jandy Nelson makes a book come to life in your head. I have never read a book that was so full of color and images, I could perfectly picture every single scene in my head–it was like watching a movie that only I could see but it was so much better. Movies have the pictures, they can show things, but when you are reading a book and you are inside someone’s head like you are when you read a story told in first person, you get a whole other level of feelings and this is magnified tenfold by Jandy Nelson. Reading this book, I felt like I was Noah, I was Jude. I felt like I was living their lives, the happiness, the hurt, all the emotions. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is, quite possibly, the best written book that I have ever read.

Let me say one thing: this review does not do this novel justice. It is very hard to do this story justice because it is so unlike anything and it is so much more than any book I have ever read before. It is impossible to describe this book to someone else without shoving said book into their hands and sitting them down on a comfy chair, standing guard over them as they read for the next three or more hours. So if my review didn’t convince you to go get this book and read it, go get it and read it anyways because let me tell you, it is worth it.

More information on IGYTS:

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Amazingness
Publication date: September 16, 2014
Representation: Gay main character, strong female main character
Page Number: 371

What did you think of this review? Did you like it? Have you read “I’ll Give You the Sun”? What did you think? Do you want to read it? Post in the comments and be sure to give this post a like if you enjoyed this book review!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I am going to do this review slightly differently than my first review and hopefully it’s just as good! I will focus on four different elements of the story: basic plot, characters, setting and writing, as well as adding a few notes to the bottom.

Plot:

Orisha used to be a land of magic, but everything changed several years ago, when magic vanished and maji all over the country were killed by the ruthless King Saran. Now, Zelie is without a mother and the country is without magic. However, a chance to return the powers to the country arises and she must embark on a dangerous journey to bring it back to her people. But she has a time limit, which is closing in fast. And with the crown prince on her trail, the stakes are higher than ever. If Prince Inan catches her and her companions, she will die and magic will be gone for good. But if she can finish her quest before the end of the month, the maji will have hope once again.

Characters:

Zelie is the first character introduced. She’s amazing at using a staff and is extremely loyal to those she loves. Above all, she wants to protect her brother and father and live a life not in fear. However, as a diviner, someone who carries magic in their blood (but is unable to use it since magic vanished years ago) this is difficult. The king and his men despise diviners and with diviner taxes and constant attention on the white hair that marks diviners for who they are, it’s hard for Zelie to fade into the background. Zelie is the fierce, driven, strong female character who everyone wants to root for the whole way.
Amari is the catalyst. As the Princess of Orisha, she lives in the palace with her father, King Saran, as well as the rest of the royal family. For years she has been fairly clueless to the cruelty her father inflicts on the diviners. However, when she witnesses her father kill her diviner best friend, Binta, after there are hints that magic could return, she escapes the palace. Holding the only thing that could ever bring Orisha to it’s former glory, she meets Zelie and begs for help.
Tzain is Zelie’s older brother who follows Zelie anywhere, no matter how reckless what she does is. Originally furious at Zelie’s choice to help Amari, he still follows the two as they leave on a quest to return magic. However,
Inan is Amari’s older brother and captain of the army. After his sister escapes, he is tasked with tracking down the trio to stop magic from returning and to kill Zelie. Can he reach them in time or will he see what he most despises rise again?

Setting:

The setting, too, is absolutely beautiful. I can just imagine all of Orisha in my mind, it is so vivid. The book starts out in a seaside town, but we get to see the capital city, a forest temple, a desert and even more!

Writing:

The writing, however, is what makes this book truly special. Adeyemi’s writing jumps off the page. Everything is described in rich detail and it is easy to see the entire story in your mind’s eye. I love how Adeyemi uses words to craft a masterpiece.

The things I did not like about this book were few and far in between. WARNING: spoilers up ahead. I advise you skip this section of the review if you do not want to read spoilers. I think that the romance was not written as well as it could have been. Inan absolutely despised Zelie for a good part of the book. He literally imagined killing her! Then, they begin working together for a short while and suddenly the two of them are in love! And suddenly he’s promising he’ll do whatever he can to help get magic back. It just seems so sudden. He has been educated by his father his entire life, he looks up to his father, so how does this one person jump into his life and change his mind so suddenly? Then, when he meets his father again, he immediately begins thinking about how awful magic is. But this is a small part in the story and there are many more important things about it.

The most important part of this book is not the story, not the setting, not the writing. It is why Adeyemi wrote this book. This may not even be obvious until you read the author’s note – it is certainly subtle – but it brings the story into so much more being. The author wrote this book to spread the awareness, the pain, the hurt of the lives of black people lost to the police. She wanted to do something, to say something about the black people – men, women and children – who were killed, who will continue to lose their lives at the hands of police officers who never looked past the color of their skin. So when you are reading this book, when you read about the death of a beloved character in this fiction book, think about the deaths of so many more who were real people and could not protect themselves.

All in all, this is a 5/5 star book. There are strong female characters and the entire cast are POC.

One more thing: I buddy-read this book with Katie from The Storybook Sisters’ blog! Check out her review as well to see her thoughts on Children of Blood and Bone. Plus, you can view all of her other posts as well, to find even more fascinating books to read! Here is the link!