Saturday, January 21, 2017

i'll give you the sun: stardust reread reviews

I'll Give You The Sun

Jandy Nelson

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (yeah I gave this book 10 out of 5 stars. COME FOR ME)


A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

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 story 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.

full review of this book... since I've somehow never review it before... under the cut! 

 Okay. I'm going to attempt to do this. I'm going to attempt to talk about this book like a normal human being and not like the squirmy ball of illumination and love that I turn into when I think about this book. It probably isn't going to work, but at this point I've read this book four times and never gotten all of my thoughts about it down, so I'm just going to try. Be forewarned, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with this book, that it is a paradigm of literature that should be held as the standard of perfection. So if you disagree, you may be nauseated by the review to come (insert crying laughing emojis here, fam!) I LOVE THIS BOOK AND I WILL PROCLAIM IT FOREVER!

If you haven't heard of this book yet.... um hi? You've probably never been to my blog before (because I talk about it all the damn time), and also you probably are not on goodreads or blogs in general in the YA sphere very much. Because everyone loves this book. (no, not everyone, okay. but, like, enough people that I feel justified in saying everyone) BUT! Everyone comes by their favorite book in different ways, so if you haven't heard of I'll Give You the Sun, or if you have but haven't read it yet, let me tell you what it is about.

Besides being about growing up, finding your place in the wider world and just within your own family, love, discovering your sexuality, art, dreams, friendship, rebellion, star-crossed lovers, being who you truly are, and the magical bonds between people; it is about a boy and a girl: twins Noah and Jude. The story is told from two different perspectives. 13-14 year old Noah, and 16 year old Jude. The twins do not know that they hold two halves to the same story, but to the reader it becomes increasingly clear. When the twins are younger, they are inseparable, they read each other's minds, they split up the world between the two of them and make art with their mother. Their familial relationships are whole. When they are 16, everything is different. The twins barely speak, their father is a specter, Noah doesn't make art anymore, and most of all, their mother is dead. The things that happened in between and after are what we as readers have to find out.

So you may be thinking... what the heck is so goddamn great about this book? Why has everyone and their mother read and loved it? It sounds like a fairly standard contemporary book to me! Well... okay. I have ~theories~ about why this book is so good, but I honestly do not know the true answer. I think there is some sort of magic in the words that Jandy Nelson writes, because somehow they manage to touch the people that read them in so many different ways. Everyone that I know who has read this book absolutely loved it for a different reason than the reasons I loved it. I think there is something in this book for everyone, and that might be one of the reasons that it is so widely loved. It combines flawed characters that are truly lovable on a molecular level with a family mystery with art with the most gorgeous prose you've ever read, and somehow they all mixed together to form a work of art in itself.

Let's talk characters. First there is Noah, aka my precious beam of light, aka my gay son, aka protect him from everyone and let him make art all day. When I first read this book, all I could do was think about how pure Noah is and how much I love him and how much everything went wrong for him and it was totally not his fault. Now, a few years later, I can appreciate that he is actually not 100% perfect, but that doesn't make me love him any less. I guess I was just immediately drawn to the way Noah views the world, constantly reimagining it as paintings, more beautiful than it actually is. His half of the story, when he and Jude are both 13, is heartbreaking for a lot of reasons and breathtaking for a lot of reasons. We get to see their family when it is whole, we get to see Noah discovering who he is and what his passions are. We get to see Jude and Noah when they were judeandnoah, not separate like they are in the second part of the book. We get to see Noah making his first real, bone-deep friendship, and also we get to see him fall in love for the first time. I swear so many of my favorite quotations are from Noah's parts of the book.

It took me way longer to appreciate Jude. When I first read the book, I was annoyed by her. I was annoyed by her rebellious phase in the Noah parts of the book and that carried over into her chapters. However, when I read the book again, I began to realize that there are so many valuable things about Jude that I didn't see at first. The way she is fearless, even when she is telling herself that horrible things can happen, she still has this streak of utter fearlessness and ferocity that she cannot get rid of. She's talented, just like Noah, but in a different way, so it is more difficult to recognize. She's loyal and protective, even when she hides it under erratic behavior. And she is burdened by guilt and feeling like she isn't good enough, which I think all of us can relate to. Jude and I have now become BFFs basically, and I will hurt anyone who tries to come for her! I absolutely love her part of the story now, just as much as Noah's. I love her bond with the sculptor Guillermo Garcia, her romance with Oscar, her weird habit of talking to the dead, her talent with sculpting and designing, and the way she keeps trying to make things right with Noah, even when years have passed.

Other notable characters are: BRIAN: space nerd, all around mom of the friend group, baseball god?, super in the closet and then super out of the closet, obsessed with Noah like damn son try to be cool!, carries around a bag of space rocks because that is what Brian is about, honestly so pure
OSCAR: #rebel, wears leather jackets and rides a motorcycle and it isn't a phase!!, has super cool scars on his face but is actually really prone to reckless behavior so protect him, B R I T I S H, lowkey great at chess, obsessed with Jude but doesn't know how to handle his emotions
GUILLERMO: father figure, modern day Michelangelo, high key angsty, bilingual aka always talking shit in spanish, probably the most talented person in existence but uses his talent to keep sculpting the love of his life who he lost, low key very much want to give him a hug
DAD: wait i can't remember the twin's father's name... o well. starts off shitty but then you realize he is actually rlly cool, fuckin loves animal planet like WOW, v sad bc one time his whole family forgot his bday like if that doesn't break your heart idk what will, cool dad, v obsessed with parasites bc he is a professor of that material, actually my hero for raising these kids

I don't really know what else to say because I'm just going to start rambling about how much I love this book. I guess I want to say that this book means a lot to me. It follows these two kids who very much do not fit in, and it makes them the heroes. It makes this boy who likes boys and makes art and sees the world through a very different lens the hero. It makes a girl who is fearless and believes in superstitions and loves with her whole being the heroine. It shows that there is no one right way to grow up. It shows that growing up is hard, especially when you're different. It shows that there are many different ways to grieve a loss, and none of them is better than another. It shows that families come in many different shapes, and the family that you choose can be just as important as the one you're born into. It shows that relationships can be mended when they are broken. It shows that art and love and acceptance are so important, especially for kids. It shows that sometimes life is too difficult, and it is okay to just get through the day minute by minute. It shows that some bonds go way deeper than the surface. And it shows that even in dark times, you can be filled with light and love. I absolutely adore this novel, and I will leave you with some of my favorite quotations from my (very beat up) copy.

<3 nbsp="" p="">
"Because I can see people's souls sometimes when I draw them, I know the following: Mom has a massive sunflower for a soul so big there's hardly any room for her organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share: a tree with its leaves on fire."

"People think people are in charge. They're wrong; it's the trees. I start to run, start to turn into air, the blue careening off the sky, careening after me, as I sink into green, shades and shades of it, blending and spinning into yellow, freaking yellow, then head-on collinding into the punk-hair purple of lupine: everywhere."

"I shrug. 'Don't do social events. Don't wear the dresses.'
'You used to.
I don't say 'And you used to make art and like boys and talk to horses and pull the moon through the window for my birthday present.'"

"Mom used to say that when you look at art, it's half seeing, half dreaming."

"The blindness lasts just a second, then the colors start flooding into me: not through my eyes but right through my skin, replacing blood and bone, muscle and sinew, until I am redorangebluegreenpurpleyellowredorangebluegreenpurpleyellow."

"I close my eyes and drown in color, open them and drown in light because billions and billions of buckets of light are being emptied on our heads from above."

"Whole forests are burning out of control inside me."

"Noah once told me he could hear horses galloping inside her. I got it."

"To awaken your spirit, throw a stone into your reflection in still water. (I never believed Noah and I shared a soul, that mine was half a tree with its leaves on fire, like he said, I never felt like my soul was something that could be seen. It felt like motion, like taking off, like swimming toward the horizon or diving off a cliff or making flying women out of sand, out of anything)."

“Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

“I gave up practically the whole world for you,” I tell him, walking through the front door of my own love story. “The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.” 

"'I love you,' I say to him, only it comes out, 'Hey.'
'So damn much,' he says back, only it comes out, 'Dude.'
He still won’t meet my eyes.”

“When people fall in love, they burst into flames.”

“His soul might be a sun. I’ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.” 

“It's never occurred to me that the stars are still up there shining even in the daytime when we can't see them.”

“He floated into the air high above the sleeping forest, his green hat spinning a few feet above his head. In his hand was the open suitcase and out of it spilled a whole sky of stars.” 

“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”


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