The Best Book I Read Last Year


It may be a little late for a “Best of 2014” post (it’s right on time for awards announcements, though!), but I wanted to make sure I highlighted this book– my favorite YA of last year:

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.

Nelson’s sophomore novel delivers. Her first book, The Sky Is Everywhere, is one that will stick with me forever, and I was not disappointed when I picked up this one, hoping for something on par. It’s not a sequel by any means, but it has the same magic.

I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of twins, a boy (Noah) and a girl (Jude), each describing life from either side of an event that changed them forever. This narration technique is really effective; telling the story this way creates a mystery of sorts, building characters and events piece by piece rather than in a linear fashion. You get to know the narrators from multiple perspectives: their own and their twin’s; from the past and from the present. This mirror effect makes Nelson’s characters stand out, three-dimensional and bursting with life.

Nelson’s writing style is singular. Her word choices and ways of describing things are so unique, and her use of metaphor is unlike anything else I’ve read. As Jude and Noah navigate the maze of adolescence, exploring their identities and their talents through art, their thoughts and emotions come across almost as if they were painted instead of written. Family dynamics, first relationships, crafting reputations, dealing with betrayal and loss– Nelson explores all these themes with compassion and skill.

I highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun, and I’m already not-so-patiently waiting for Nelson’s next novel.

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