“The right-handed twin tells the truth, the left-handed twin tells lies.
(Noah and I are both left-handed)”
Read in April 2020
In I’ll Give You the Sun we read the story of non-identical twins Noah and Jude Sweetwine, told in two different timelines. While Noah tells the story of the past, on the summer they were 13, when their relationship is slowly starting falling apart. Jude is in charge of the present, three years later, when they are 16 and barely speaking anymore. The twin’s mother, Dianna, is an art professor and she insists they both apply to a private art high school. At age 13, Noah is very talented and his whole world revolves around art, it’s simple, he sketches everything he sees, whereas Jude is more interested in wearing red lipstick, hanging out with popular girls and going out with boys. That’s when their mother started to treat them differently, being more invested in Noah’s future, seeing him as a better investment and spending more time with him at Jude’s expense. This is when jealousy and resentment start to slip in the twin’s relationship that used to be symbiotic begins to deteriorate.
Three years later, Dianna died in a car accident, June and Noah still live together with their father in the same house, however, they don’t speak anymore. Their relationship sways between blatant hatred and plain ignorance. However, the circumstances that have driven them apart are complex and hidden deep down inside of them. Contrary to Jude, Noah didn’t get in the Art school, he is attending the local public high school and spends his free time drinking and jumping from a dangerous cliff. Jude has changed a great deal as well, she is now on a BOYcott, she became superstitious and she speaks with her dead grandmother all the time. She is also certain that her mother is angry with her and that she is destroying her pieces of art, so Jude decides to work with new and more solid material, and seeks a new mentor to help her master it.
“His soul might be a sun. I’ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.”
Honestly, this book could have been great, I’m always craving for stories about siblings, however, I disliked Jude so much, even in Noah’s chapters, and that made all the present chapters really hard to read and enjoy at all. Therefore, I couldn’t connect with Oscar either, he was such a cliché character (is 5 years older than Jude, rides a motorcycle, has a British accent and a mysterious past…). I’m really tired of this basic bad boy, that is a womanizer until he meets MC and falls in love, who looks dark and tough to everyone and who deep down is just a true romantic. Needless to say, their “fling” fell flat for me, I felt nothing other than an annoyance when they were interacting. But let’s see the glass half full, I don’t need an orthoptist appointment anymore, because the amount of eye-rolling was as efficient as one year of monthly consultation for eye gymnastic.
However, I quickly fell in love with Noah’s voice. His narrative was very poetic portraying perfectly well his imaginative mind and I enjoyed him describing scenes he saw as though he was painting them. I adored reading about him falling in love for the first time with the new kid, Brian. How they both pretend to be straight because they are afraid of what people would say, Noah keeps repressing his feelings and forbidding himself to see too much into what Brian could say or do that could hint reciprocate feelings. It was really difficult to read but their every interaction were so cute and heartwarming to read about them, and it’s really the reason I continued this book. I also understood how he probably felt being the side piece of his family, his father, mother and grandmother all loved Jude more, and when he started to be seen by his mother -because he was good with art- I felt genuinely happy and Jude cruelty to get back at Noah and her petty schemes to get her mother’s attention back really made me angry. Like you can’t share your mother’s love with your own twin?
“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”
However, I was a bit exasperated at the lack of communication between them when they grew up, it made things totally unrealistic in that regards. I’m a teacher in a middle school and I can tell you that teenagers speak in real life, they speak a lot, and they express feelings way more than in this book. I am growing tired of books where the plot revolves around miscommunication, as it’s an easy (and almost lazy) way to make the story drag. Brian and Noah should have communicated more. Jude and Noah should have communicated more and that book would last less than a hundred pages. Also, I wanted to address that I was not happy with the negative portrayal of women, regarding how they are treated by men and how they treat men. Both Jude and her mother were awful examples. Also, I’ll always feel bad with all the crap Jude gave Zephyr at the end of this book.
Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?