I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy NelsonI'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You The Sun

byJandy Nelson

Paperback | October 27, 2015

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The New York Times Bestselling story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, Jojo Moyes, Emma Straub, and Rainbow Rowell

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”


At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Printz Award Winner
Stonewall Honor Book


"A wild, beautiful, and profoundly moving novel. Jandy Nelson’s writing is so electric, so alive, her pages practically glow in the dark." —Ransom Riggs, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City

"Jandy Nelson is a rare, explosive talent, and one of the best writers working today. Her prose is vivid, breathtaking, and drenched in passion, and her stories remind me why words can change the world." —Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series.

"I love this book. Jandy Nelson is my new writing hero. Read this book. She'll be your favorite author as well." —Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s

"Jandy Nelson’s writing is poetic and mesmerizing. More importantly, Nelson weaves a novel that seeps into your bones like fire on a cold day . . . I’ll Give You the Sun is a novel that promises a story like nothing else and then delivers it.” —Garret Freymann-Weyr, author of Printz Honor book, My Heartbeat

"This is a stunning, artfully woven story. My heart burst open at the blazing, unforgettable end. Magnificent." —Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone

"An extraordinary book! I've never read anything like it. Lyrical-unique-passionate-magical-tragic-hopeful—Nelson's characters will fly off the page and into your heart." —Nancy Garden, author of Annie on my Mind
Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give you the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fic...
The Sky Is Everywhere
The Sky Is Everywhere

by Jandy Nelson

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Le soleil est pour toi
Le soleil est pour toi

by Jandy Nelson

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I'll Give You the Sun
I'll Give You the Sun

by Jandy Nelson

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Title:I'll Give You The SunFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:October 27, 2015Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142425761

ISBN - 13:9780142425763

Customer Reviews of I'll Give You The Sun

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was ok! The story is beautiful, but I sometimes got unconnected to the characters. Just couldn't relate I guess... but the writing is very different and I would still recommend!
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Conflicted This story is told in the dual perspective of twins, at two different points in their lives, and whilst I adored Jude's perspective and would have easily given it a five stars, Noah's perspective simply bored me to death. My friend also felt the same way, but she ended up not finishing the book, which I actually don't recommend, as I feel like the book only gets better as you get closer to the end. Deeply emotional and touching, this is most likely to make you cry, and ignoring Noah's perspective, might be the best YA contemporary I've ever read. No matter how bored I was at times, I still recommend this book to everyone, and I also recommend powering through and not giving up if you ever feel bored like I was.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorites! I was initially attracted to this book based on it's beautiful cover and the title itself. The story is an amazing one and turned out to be so much more than I initially thought it was going to be. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I'll Give You The Sun I really enjoyed the art aspect, the writing maybe leaned a little too into pretension at times, but that didn’t get in the way of caring about these characters. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A feel sad, but then really GOOD read! I never could have guessed at the beginning how things would interconnect throughout this book. It was a very enjoyable and well written read.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing It's going to be very hard to find a book I love more than this one.
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from favorite SO FREAKIN GOOD. This just became one of my favorite books of the year, and one of my favorite contemporary novels of all time! It was funny and romantic and touching and so beautifully written! I loved it. I literally just finished it and I already want to reread it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVED IT It took me a while to get into this book but once I did I was hooked I loved the character development and the characters' specific style of narration. I cant wait to reread it!
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hesitant at first, shouldn't have been I originally heard about this book on a list shared by a local librarian regarding young adult books and mental illness/wellness. I waited until this summer to purchase and read it, as I wasn't sure how I would relate or how it would portray things that I consider to be very important. I'm glad I took the chance and read this book. Beautifully written, I felt every emotion as I lived the story of Noah and Jade. I didn't want it to ever end.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Favourite Book! I've read a lot of YA LGBTQ+ books and this one is one of the best in my opinion. The struggles of being closeted, the fears of coming out are so well portrayed by the male protagonist (this is coming from someone who is queer). Having had parents separate myself, this was a far more realistic and understanding approach than some of the material I've read. Throughout the story, the two protagonists struggle with grief (as I was when I was reading this book) and it hit the nail on the head with how hard it is to lose someone. Jandy Nelson's use of metaphors throughout the entire book gave it a very magical and powerful feel. I am so, so glad I read this book.
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites Stared at it on the shelves for months before actually reading. An amazing page turner with a little bit of everything. Loved how little bits of detail were discovered throughout the story making it a captivating story. Absolutely loved it.
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yes yes and yes! This was such a beautiful story about family and love. It was vivid and sharp and colorful in its characters, storytelling, wording, everything.
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was absolutely incredible; in my short life I have probably read hundreds of YA novels and very few have made me cry like this one did. Emotional and well-written with relatable characters, I wouldn't hesitate to read it again.
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 4.5 Stars Despite a few odd quirks in this book, it was a most enjoyable read! The characters were fabulous and the writing was so unique.
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Book! Wow. I know some people found this authors writing style different or repetitive, but I sure didn't. This was emotionally packed, and I still find myself flipping to page 271 every now and then to just appreciate the book more and more.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing This book was beautifully written. A must read!
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book among books Stunning use of metaphor to evoke emotion and make the reader feel as if they are truly inside the mind of Noah and Jude, Revolutionaries. A picture painted with all the right words in the right order, a torrent of rich indigos and bright yellows.
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely loved this I fell in love with this book really slowly at first, and then all at once. The beginning was a little slow but then I just got captivated with the novel and read it too fast. Everything about the book is wonderful and touching : the story, the characters, the prose, etc. It's one of those unique book that makes you want cry and smile.
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was alright. I couldn't finish it and I didn't like it that much.
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best stand alone novel ever I promise that I'm not a casual reader, and while I'm not always a big fan of stand alone novels, this one really blew me away! Once you finish it, you'll smile every time you see it on your shelf. It's a truly touching story that will take you on the most intense emotional roller coaster ever. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very impactful my favorite contemporary/realistic fiction novel. great characters & depth. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book! This is my new favourite book! It touched me in so many ways and made me feel like anything was possible. Left me filled with joy. Highly recommend, was very relatable.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning This book is a gorgeous tale of love, family, and finding yourself. I have shared it with many friends- young, old, man, woman- and every person has fallen in love with it. Can't wait to read more from this author!
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Enjoyed reading this immensely.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly beautiful I can't even begin to describe how incredibly beautiful this book is. Jandy Nelson has such a unique, pure, artistic way of telling a story. This book broke me and put me back together again.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page turner I couldn't put this book down. As an adult, I enjoy reminiscing and revisiting the days filled with angst and uncertainty and self realization. This book is on our shelf waiting for my daughter to find and explore.
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from pure pure book with a beautiful cover and lovely characters. sometimes reading in Noah's perspective was weird (ill never understand art kids) but amazing all the same. would recommend
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All Time Favourite Book This book just shot to the top of my favourite books list. I loved everything about this book from the plot to the characters to the relationships. I finished this book with the largest grin on my face and tears of happiness running down my face. The only other book that I can also say this about it the Sky is Everywhere, also by Jandy Nelson. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favorite Book on Earth I read this a few months ago and whenever I see it on my shelf my heart explodes. I loved reading it almost as much as I loved re-reading it (again and again and again and...). It made me want to start writing again. It's such an unconventional structure and an even more unconventional story line, and with its wholly unique characters and ideas and imagery, there really is something for everyone in this book.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deep There are definitely some underlying themes in this book. There's so much content in here, and every detail makes the book better. Every time I reread it I find something new. Give this book all of your attention because it is worth it!
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning! This book will make you feel grief, joy, love, loss, and hope and leave you wanting more!
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Book I just finished this story and now I feel like there is a galaxy in my heart. Will definitely be re-reading in the future.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful! The writing style isn't for everyone, and I can respect that, but I found it to be lovely and right up my alley. I hesitate to say that Jude had the weaker storyline but her relationship with Oscar was not compelling and I found myself skimming those sections. Also, not to sound like the emotional wreck that I am, but when Noah and Brian kissed I astral projected right to the top tier of heaven and had to put the book down for a few hours to relax.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very unique Beautiful, poetic writing. The story is very good and different. Loved it!
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not your average YA The book was almost like an entire poem. I loved the flow of the wording it was beautiful and different. I liked that the story was between siblings and not just girl meets boy.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book was great! The writing style is a little different but once you get used to it it's worth it!!
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing! Difficult to start as I'm not used to a lot of character development as other reviewers mentioned, but I am so glad that I powered through! And the writing! So beautiful! Will be a part of my personal library forever.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gorgeous and heartbreaking/heartmending "This is us. Our pose. The smush. It’s even how we are in the ultrasound photo they took of us inside Mom…Unlike most everyone else on earth, from the very first cell of us, we were together, we came here together." That’s almost-fourteen-year-old Noah, one of the twins who narrates Jandy Nelson’s remarkable YA novel I’ll Give You the Sun. Alternating between Noah and his sister, Jude, who tells her part of the story at age sixteen, the novel traces the siblings’ journey from innocence to experience. Jude and Noah are artists who dream of getting into California School of the Arts (CSA). Their parents, both professors, are going through something neither understands. Noah observes “Dad used to make Mom’s eyes shine; now he makes her grind her teeth. I don’t know why.” The summer they turn fourteen, though, their world is rocked by tragedy. When Jude picks up the story, it is clear that whatever closeness the twins shared has leeched away, their “twin-telepathy long gone…because of all that’s happened, we avoid each other – worse, repel each other.” Jude and Noah are both eccentric as heck. Jude channels the spirit of her dead Grandma Sweetwine. She’s a self-proclaimed bible thumping klutz who is boycotting all boys because of a traumatic experience she had with Zephyr, the three-years-older than her surf god who “made [her] feel faint every time he spoke to [her].” Noah has his own issues. For one, he paints in his head – elaborate pictures that he’s never told anyone about, not even Jude when they were speaking. Then there’s Brian, the boy next door. And Noah’s strained relationship with his father who wants him to man up. When the unthinkable happens and Jude is accepted into CSA and Noah is not, the rift between the twins grows larger. It takes a long time before either realizes that the secrets they’d been keeping in an effort to protect each other were, in fact, part of the reason they were estranged. I’ll Give You The Sun is one of those amazing (and rare) YA novels that actually treats its target audience like they are intelligent (which as a high school teacher, I can tell you with certainty, they are). Everything from the novel’s narrative structure, to its examination of art, love, grief, jealousy, personal happiness versus personal responsibility, and family dynamics is designed to make you think and question. Once you’ve settled into the twins’ strange world, you will fall in love with them. They are resilient, brilliant, and endlessly fascinating. They are also just barely hanging on on their own and when Jude finally lets her heart break “Noah is there, strong and sturdy, to catch me, to hold me through it, to make sure I’m safe.” Jandy Nelson writes beautiful books (check out her first exceptional novel The Sky is Everywhere) peopled with flawed and totally sympathetic characters. That says nothing of the beautiful prose – resplendent language that spills out of every page. I’ll Give You The Sun is deserving of its copious praise and numerous awards. Jude and Noah will certainly stay with me in the days ahead. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book This book makes you dream and wonder. It's beautifully written. Romantic and fun. Would recommend
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! This was such a fantastic story. It was exhilarating. Shocking. Surprising. And it tugged like hell on my heart strings. I loved the descriptive writing style and the characters' inner monologues. There were so many quotes that stood out to me from this book. I couldn't believe the bipolar emotions I was experiencing while reading this; one page would have me heartbroken and deeply saddened, the next page would have me bursting with happiness only to crush it almost instantly in the next paragraph or page (if I was lucky) and then it would have me laughing the next page or so. I loved the characters and their personalities. I loved the romance and the intertwining plots and the overall heartbreaking and "tugging on the heart strings" emotional and riveting journey of this book. I enjoyed it so much!
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of those books you know you will read again This book was so beautifully written, I wouldn't be surprised to see quotes on tumblr! So many important themes are perfectly woven in to the story.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING the story is beautifully written and planned, it truly is a collision course. the characters are so alive, you miss them when you finish the book. its just amazing and unqiue and I'm gonna reread it soon, soak it all up and never forget it. phenomenal story
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Book Was Krazy Good There aren't words to describe how amazing this book is, well there are but I'm too lazy to type them because I would end up writing a book about how amazing this book is. Anyways, flawless, fabulous, and beautiful in general. Definite recommend. :)
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JUST AN AMAZING READ this book was just wow. it was beautifully written, unlike anything ive ever read, and the characters are so special, you tend to miss them when you finish the book.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book This book was so full of character development, so if that isn't your thing, this book might not be your favorite. It is very good though, and I think everyone should read it because of the powerful themes within the novel. I really loved the way the story was told, with both Jude and Noah's perspectives at different ages. Overall, a very enjoyable read.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JUST AMAZING beautiful writting and beautiful characters. favorite book of the year so far
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ONE OF MY FAVOURITES!!! I absolutely loved this book. Its a book about coming of age, love, and relationships. The first couple of times, I picked up the book, but I would put it down because I didn't think it was worth, But one day I decided to read it and I fell in love. This book has a great art aspect to it which made it really unique as well as an LGTBQ component. The story is told by a pair of twins, Noah and Jude, you hear the story from Jude's POV when they're 16 and Noah's when they're 13. At the age of 13, Noah is an introvert who really just discovering himself, while Jude, on the other hand, is the wild extroverted child. But when they turn 16, events in their life cause their personalities swap (not a supernatural cause like freaky Friday or something). They both have parts of the story at different times which is the reason why they fall apart. This book will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. it is absolutely amazing and I definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson With some novels which switch the narrative between two characters, and two different time periods, you can lose the flow of the story. This novel is clever in the way that the two characters not only have completely different voices, but the very look and feel of the pages themselves are different. SO FREAKIN GOOD. This became one of my favorite books of the year when it was released and one of my favorite contemporary novels of all time! It was funny and romantic and touching and so beautifully written! I loved it. I literally just finished it and I already want to reread it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! Everything about this book is beautiful - the cover, the characters, the plot, and, most importantly, the writing. This book reaches deep inside you and touches your soul. It is truly a can't miss.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was completely blown away by this book. I loved it so much! The characters were more than your typical YA characters, the story has twists and turns that I didn't expect. this became an instant fave! beautiful writing, extraordinary story, & rich characters.
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson SO FREAKIN GOOD. This just became one of my favorite books of the year, and one of my favorite contemporary novels of all time! It was funny and romantic and touching and so beautifully written! I loved it. I literally just finished it and I already want to reread it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Read this book. It's so beautiful and now I just want to read every single thing by this author.
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Good! This book had me hooked from the beginning and I really enjoyed reading it. I definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written This book will make you feel emotions and have you wanting more. I loved it and will Definitely be checking out more of Jandy Nelsons books.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really enjoyable! It was really good and a pretty easy read, though a bit slow at times it was a touching story.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't describe the feeling... I really really really enjoyed this reading! Light and simple writing, but extraordinary story! Loved it!
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from :) This book is basically perfect
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So cute! I read this book whenever I feel down
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! One of my favourite books :)
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not the usual fiction book Beautifully written and the plot is quite original. I loved how family relationships were shown in a realistic way.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful novel! When I read that book, I didn't know what to expect... but it was AMAZING! The prose was fantastic and the story so beautiful!
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the best stand-alone I've read in my life. Please buy it, read it, and put it on your shelf. It deserves to be a part of your world. This book was so beautiful and changed me as a person. It was sooo fun! I read this book for an ISU English assignment and it was amazing! If you like Rainbow Rowell you'll love this!
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I read last year I absolutely loved this book, though I found it difficult to get into at first...I didn't want to care about the twins after seeing the split between them, but it's impossible not to fall in love with both of them. I absolutely recommend this for anyone.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So great Beautiful message, even more beautiful characters and delivery. Nelson's style is so unique and heartwarming
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Overrated I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped. Noah and Judes jealous behaviour towards each other in the beginning was hard to rap my head around, I could not relate to either charater. I have always had a good relationship with my brothers and sisters even from a very young age. I was happy they were able mend their broken relationship by the end!
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing beautiful characters and story. really heartbreaking.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected More I have high expectation for this book that were not met. Noah and Judes jealous behaviour towards each other in the beginning was hard to rap my head around, I could not relate to either charater. I have always had a good relationship with my brothers and sisters even from a very young age. I was happy they were able mend their broken relationship by the end!
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I loved this book so much, the different perspectives made this a great read!!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I love the writing in this book, the descriptive style of the author is amazing. The characters are so well-developed and have such unique voices. I loved this book!
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing. I've read a lot of books this year and yet, this was one of the few that really stuck to me. It's incredibly well written with an interesting storyline, and there's even some built up suspense every time the reader changes between Jude's 16 year old POV and Noah's 14 year old POV, keeping in mind that the two are actually twins. You get to see how it all began, how it all ends, and everything in between all at once and yet also spread throughout the entire book. I would (and have) definitely recommend giving I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson a read..
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Beautiful writing and very complex characters and story.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! This book was so good, and so real! You could really relate to all the character and understand their pain, happiness, and struggles! The writing and the story made for a perfect novel for the ya audience.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Writing Style. Exquisitely Euphoric. Wow, this book took me less than a day to finish. The poetic style of narration is artistic and hypnotic. Well-developed characters, plot twists, reflective voices, metaphors that are unique and vivid, a relaxing setting. A cocktail of tragedy, coming-of-age, and romance. A new favourite! Get this right now, please. PLEASE.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Takes a bit to get into, but well worth it I had this sitting on my shelf for a while with the first bit read, and I had a hard time getting into it, but when Jude starting tellin her story, I couldn't put it down. Excellent!
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ IT!!! This book was absolutely beautiful, the way it's told from two different perspectives at two different times really helps make it more interesting. The perspectives really show you how Noah and Jude each saw each other and what they thought of them. The characters were absolutely amazing, they were described in so much detail that they were easy to imagine, but I loved all their personalities. Though some of it was easy to guess other things really surprised you and I like books where you don't always know what's going to happen next. I definitely recommend reading this book. Also Oscar is goals
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Honestly had the biggest twist ever! I wasn't expecting any of it. An extremely relatable and deep novel. It's not much of thrill, but it has so much value to it...amazingly written. You'll love it!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stunning I thought it was creatively and beautifully written. It's more of those "journey" books, and less of a thrilling plot kind of book, if that's what you're looking for, I'll Give You The Sun is more of a reflective, deep novel.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful By far, one of my favourite YA novels. It has a really good narrative, and it's really heartbreaking beautiful. It's a really stunning book. I haven't read a good YA book in awhile, so I'm happy I picked this book up. I would for sure recommend this book to anyone who's stumped for stuff to read. I'm pretty sure this book changed my life, and I will never forget it.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an amazing story This book blew me away. The beginning starts off a little slow, but once you get through the first maybe 60 pages or so you'll get sucked in. The relationships in this story are so beautiful and unforgettable. It's been weeks since I've read it and I still find myself thinking about it. I would definitely recommend this.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Didn't like it This book has been so hyped up and I didn't even finish it. I didn't like it at all and don't understand why everyone loves it!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I heard really great things about this book, and I was not disappointed! If you're looking for a fun, but really deep, novel, this is for you. I'll Give You the Sun was just really touching to see Jude and Noah's relationship, how it's changed over the years, and all that. I really liked the small twists and reveals throughout, it felt just so real. And I especially liked how Noah and Brian's sexuality was handled. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I enjoyed it, but the story felt a little thin and I would have loved some more depth and backstory. I enjoyed it, but the story felt a little thin and I would have loved some more depth and backstory.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite book of the year. This book was so good I couldn't put it down. Its got teen angst, a little bit of mystery. It's funny and honest. 10/10 would read again.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absolutely Loved It! One of the most amazing books I've ever read! The reason why it was great was because of the intertwining story lines. I enjoyed reading and recommend everyone to read it!
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it a lot This book was one of the best contemporary books I've ever read. The way Nelson weaves the past and the present together is absolutely mesmerizing, and she does it with a cast of characters you can really relate too. I felt so connected to the characters and the story, and the heart and message of the book was truly beautiful.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mind-blowing Firstly, I bought this book, because I saw a very good review on it. Buying this book was certainly one of the best book purchase I've ever done! If I had only to read 10 books in my entire life I'd choose this book in the list! It was so relevant for me. It definitely has a plot twist really well-written. Throughout my reading, I was sitting on the edge of my seat (this is how fantastic it is)! I recommend this book for everyone (teenagers as well as adults). Every person can truly relates to a certain character, story, feeling, etc. This book is incredible and need to be read! This book is astonishing! It gives a tremendous amount of hope and love overall! READ THIS.
Date published: 2016-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from There weren't enough stars to give it a proper rating! This book had me hooked from the very first page. There are honestly no words to describe how amazing it is! i couldn't get enough of the book and i don't think i will ever come down from this book's high. I would recommend this book to anyone at anytime!
Date published: 2016-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Honestly Love This Book I read this about a year ago and every time I think about it, I want to read it again. The characters were amazingly written and the amount of details in this book was incredible. This is by far my favourite book ever.
Date published: 2016-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Was not expecting much as I tend to veer away from YA fiction but wow...this one gave me a total book hangover.
Date published: 2016-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! This book was great! Really unique characters that had me laughing and smiling while reading. It's a book that I will surely read over and over again
Date published: 2016-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing this was just Amazing I loved this book. The way it was written was so pure, and funny, and so different from anything I had every read before. The story gripped me, the characters moved me, I actually felt something for them.
Date published: 2016-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Artistry at its finest Omg. This is probably my favourite YA novel. I love the main characters, Noah and Jude. the way they express themselves is so artistic that you sometimes feel as though you are reading a fantasy novel. This is a must read. love it.
Date published: 2015-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OH MY GOODNESS I'm not gonna lie it starts out a little but slow, but it is now my all time favorite book.
Date published: 2015-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I found the plot amazing, it was well written and well laid out. Events that seemed to have no connection were ingeniously wound together.
Date published: 2015-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Loved this book way more than I thought I would. As much as I hated finishing it the ending was worth it.
Date published: 2015-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book I’ll Give You the Sun it was a really good book, it was really well artistically written. It had chapters of the past mixed in with chapters of the present both telling the stories of how they got where they are. It was really a story about lies and how they can change a person, Since, and a little before, Noah’s and Jude’s mom died they both told (and did) significant lies which altered the courses of their lives and made the twins fall out and stop being friends. I will admit when I learned that Jude didn’t submit Noah’s application for the art school, I didn’t see that coming. It was also so cool to read all of Jude’s superstitions and her seeing ghosts, and Noah’s gallery of paintings in his mind.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really, really good This book deserved its Printz Medal! It's really really good--as a literary book and as a consumer book. Many books that win prestigious awards, like the Printz Medal, are more literary than entertaining, but this book is both! I loved the two twins' POVs. You fall for one of them and despise another, then the roles reverse and it makes you feel for Jude and Noah and puts you into both of their shoes. You feel and grow with these characters through their teenage years and become a part of the mysteries and puzzles that surround Jude and Noah. But unlike some books, all the mysteries and puzzles add up at the very end and it leaves you saying "wow". I loved it cover-to-cover. Great read for fans of The Fault in Our Stars.
Date published: 2015-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent. Took me out of my comfort Zone I would never have thought this novel would bring up so much emotion. I could read it again tomorrow!
Date published: 2015-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Great Book That You Won't Want to Put Down This is such a fantastic story that is so well laid out that the puzzles piece together in every chapter. The twins Jude and Noah are very close at a young age, but competitiveness and betrayal causes them to drift apart. The author does such a fantastic job of describing the characters in each scene that you almost feel like you're watching it live. My favourite part of the book were the side notes/side bars from Noah and Jude (inside thoughts that really added to my appreciation of the scene/character). So many twists take place and the way the story unfolds makes you want to keep reading. You will have trouble putting the book down so you will finish it much faster than you think! I would love to read other books by this author because I really enjoyed this one a lot!
Date published: 2015-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind Blown.... when I thought I would never be able to claim a book as my favourite among all of the wonderful books, this book changed everything. This book was so different, it captivated me from the very first chapter. I couldn't put this book down! So many emotional roller coaster rides in this novel. I felt like I was there in the book watching everything that was happening. Honestly I am still breath taken by how Jandy Nelson was able to create such intriguing, amazing book. Overall the book was absolutely worth it, I definitely recommend this book and if I could give it a higher rating I would.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Book Worth Reading Great book! It started off slow [and a little odd], but became a book that was hard to put down. The different perspectives, struggles and coping in a family dealing with a tragic loss is portrayed very well. I recommend this book as a quick read!
Date published: 2015-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! When I heard about a new book from Jandy Nelson, I was a little nervous. I enjoyed her last book, but the writing sometimes rubbed me the wrong way and this new book is about twins- which is always a hit or miss for me. But I gave it a try, and I am so happy I did. Because let me tell you, I LOVED THIS BOOK! (that totally needed bold.) Noah and Jude are twin brother and sister, but in the past 3 years, they’ve had a falling out. Starting with Noah’s point-of-view at 13, and Jude’s at age 16, I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of heartbreak, love, friendship and just magical-awesome-fun-shocking-stuff that only Jandy Nelson can write. (that last point was all my own, I am clearly an intricate speaker) First of all, let me state that this review will probably be biased towards one character. While I liked Jude, I am completely obsessed with Noah. He is a complex, real, compelling and just heartbreaking character. I loved his point-of-view, and seeing how his life changed over the course of 3 years- in Jude’s eyes. I liked Jude and also found her just as fascinating but she didn’t compel me as much as Noah. I want to describe every single magical thing about this book, but I think that’ll ruin it. So instead, let me just say that if you read the synopsis and it sounds right for you- read it! If you read the synopsis but are iffy about reading it, here’s what I will say: If you are looking for an awesome, compelling and lyrical novel, I highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun. The writing is very lyrical and metaphorical, which isn’t always something readers look for, but if you give it a chance- I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Date published: 2015-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want to hug this book I want to hug this book. So I am going to need to buy it in "actual book form" as well. Seriously, I am. And I don't do that. Basically: it is beautiful. It is a beautiful book. And the writing is delicious. (Portrait of a girl hugging a book).
Date published: 2015-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Without a doubt, my fave book of 2014! When I heard about a new book from Jandy Nelson, I was a little nervous. I enjoyed her last book, but the writing sometimes rubbed me the wrong way and this new book is about twins- which is always a hit or miss for me. But I gave it a try, and I am so happy I did. Because let me tell you, I LOVED THIS BOOK! (that totally needed caps + bold). Noah and Jude are twin brother and sister, but in the past 3 years, they’ve had a falling out. Starting with Noah’s point-of-view at 13, and Jude’s at age 16, I’ll Give You the Sun tells the story of heartbreak, love, friendship and just magical-awesome-fun-shocking-stuff that only Jandy Nelson can write. (that last point was all my own, I am clearly an intricate speaker) First of all, let me state that this review will probably be biased towards one character. While I liked Jude, I am completely obsessed with Noah. He is a complex, real, compelling and just heartbreaking character. I loved his point-of-view, and seeing how his life changed over the course of 3 years- in Jude’s eyes. I liked Jude and also found her just as fascinating but she didn’t compel me as much as Noah. I want to describe every single magical thing about this book, but I think that’ll ruin it. So instead, let me just say that if you read the synopsis and it sounds right for you- read it! If you read the synopsis but are iffy about reading it, here’s what I will say: If you are looking for an awesome, compelling and lyrical novel, I highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun. The writing is very lyrical and metaphorical, which isn’t always something readers look for, but if you give it a chance- I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Date published: 2015-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The most beautiful book I've ever read I came on this site just for browsing, and I came across this book, and it looked so interesting so I bought it without question. I finished reading it and it is so beautifully written. I have never felt so much emotion in one novel. As the perspectives changed I got mad because it would always end at cliffhangers and I want more! It gave me shivers, made cry and feeling everything in between. Descriptive, passionate and beautiful. I can't get enough of it.
Date published: 2015-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'll give you the sun Very inspiring and emotional story! Highly recommend it.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Read When I first saw and heard about this book, I was very excited because it was such a unique idea. But then when I started reading it, it was hard to get into because the writing was everywhere. It felt like I was reading all their thoughts and ideas, a jumbled mess, and it was hard to wrap my head around it. But then... then I realized why the book was called 'I'll Give you the Sun' and this hooked me. I had to finish it to the end, and I'm so glad I did! I fell absolutely, deeply, amazingly in love with Noah and his point of view, and his story stole my heart. With Jude, it was harder to empathize with her, since she was such a unique character, but eventually my heart warmed to her. Their story goes back and forth between the two of them, and between the two time periods that changed their lives. It is definitely worth it to read to the end, and yes, I did shed a few tears!
Date published: 2014-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love love love If you like John Green and/or Rainbow Rowell, than this book is for you!
Date published: 2014-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This was one of those books that I tore threw because I couldn't stop reading. And yet I never wanted it to end.
Date published: 2014-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'll Give You The Sun is everything A wonderful, imaginative, vivid and deeply moving story of a family torn apart by jealousy, sorrow and love that you will wish should never end.
Date published: 2014-09-23

Read from the Book

This is how it all begins. With Zephyr and Fry—reigning neighborhood sociopaths—torpedoing after me and the whole forest floor shaking under my feet as I blast through air, trees, this white-hot panic.“You’re going over, you pussy!” Fry shouts.Then Zephyr’s on me, has one, both of my arms behind my back, and Fry’s grabbed my sketchpad. I lunge for it but I’m armless, helpless. I try to wriggle out of Zephyr’s grasp. Can’t. Try to blink them into moths. No. They’re still themselves: fifteen-foot-tall, tenth-grade asshats who toss living, breathing thirteen-year-old people like me over cliffs for kicks. Zephyr’s got me in a headlock from behind and his chest’s heaving into my back, my back into his chest. We’re swimming in sweat. Fry starts leafing through the pad. “Whatcha been drawing, Bubble?” I imagine him getting run over by a truck. He holds up a page of sketches. “Zeph, look at all these naked dudes.” The blood in my body stops moving.“They’re not dudes. They’re David,” I get out, praying I won’t sound like a gerbil, praying he won’t turn to later drawings in the pad, drawings done today, when I was spying, drawings of them, rising out of the water, with their surfboards under arm, no wetsuits, no nothing, totally glistening, and, uh: holding hands. I might have taken some artistic license. So they’re going to think . . . They’re going to kill me even before they kill me is what they’re going to do. The world starts somersaulting. I fling words at Fry: “You know? Michelangelo? Ever heard of him?” I’m not going to act like me. Act tough and you are tough, as Dad has said and said and said—like I’m some kind of broken umbrella.“Yeah, I’ve heard of him,” Fry says out of the big bulgy mouth that clumps with the rest of his big bulgy features under the world’s most massive forehead, making it very easy to mistake him for a hippopotamus. He rips the page out of the sketchpad. “Heard he was gay.”He was—my mom wrote a whole book about it—not that Fry knows. He calls everyone gay when he’s not calling them homo and pussy. And me: homo and pussy and Bubble.Zephyr laughs a dark demon laugh. It vibrates through me.Fry holds up the next sketch. More David. The bottom half of him. A study in detail. I go cold.They’re both laughing now. It’s echoing through the forest. It’s coming out of birds. Again, I try to break free of the lock Zephyr has me in so I can snatch the pad out of Fry’s hands, but it only tightens Zephyr’s hold. Zephyr, who’s freaking Thor. One of his arms is choked around my neck, the other braced across my torso like a seat belt. He’s bare-chested, straight off the beach, and the heat of him is seeping through my T-shirt. His coconut suntan lotion’s filling my nose, my whole head—the strong smell of the ocean too, like he’s carrying it on his back . . . Zephyr dragging the tide along like a blanket behind him . . . That would be good, that would be it (PORTRAIT: The Boy Who Walked Off with the Sea)—but not now, Noah, so not the time to mind-paint this cretin. I snap back, taste the salt on my lips, remind myself I’m about to die—Zephyr’s long seaweedy hair is wet and dripping down my neck and shoulders. I notice we’re breathing in synch, heavy, bulky breaths. I try to unsynch with him. I try to unsynch with the law of gravity and float up. Can’t do either. Can’t do anything. The wind’s whipping pieces of my drawings—mostly family portraits now—out of Fry’s hands as he tears up one, then another. He rips one of Jude and me down the middle, cuts me right out of it. I watch myself blow away. I watch him getting closer and closer to the drawings that are going to get me murdered. My pulse is thundering in my ears. Then Zephyr says, “Don’t rip ’em up, Fry. His sister says he’s good.” Because he likes Jude? They mostly all do now because she can surf harder than any of them, likes to jump off cliffs, and isn’t afraid of anything, not even great white sharks or Dad. And because of her hair—I use up all my yellows drawing it. It’s hundreds of miles long and everyone in Northern California has to worry about getting tangled up in it, especially little kids and poodles and now asshat surfers. There’s also the boobs, which arrived overnight delivery, I swear. Unbelievably, Fry listens to Zephyr and drops the pad. Jude peers up at me from it, sunny, knowing. Thank you, I tell her in my mind. She’s always rescuing me, which usually is embarrassing, but not now. That was righteous. (PORTRAIT, SELF-PORTRAIT: Twins: Noah Looking in a Mirror, Jude out of It)“You know what we’re going to do to you, don’t you?” Zephyr rasps in my ear, back to the regularly scheduled homicidal programming. There’s too much of him on his breath. There’s too much of him on me. “Please, you guys,” I beg. “Please, you guys,” Fry mimics in a squeaky girly voice. My stomach rolls. Devil’s Drop, the second-highest jump on the hill, which they aim to throw me over, has the name for a reason. Beneath it is a jagged gang of rocks and a wicked whirlpool that pulls your dead bones down to the underworld. I try to break Zephyr’s hold again. And again. “Get his legs, Fry!”All six-thousand hippopotamus pounds of Fry dive for my ankles. Sorry, this is not happening. It just isn’t. I hate the water, prone as I am to drowning and drifting to Asia. I need my skull in one piece. Crushing it would be like taking a wrecking ball to some secret museum before anyone ever got to see what’s inside it. So I grow. And grow, and grow, until I head-butt the sky. Then I count to three and go freaking berserk, thanking Dad in my mind for all the wrestling he’s forced me to do on the deck, to-the-death matches where he could only use one arm and I could use everything and he’d still pin me because he’s thirty feet tall and made of truck parts. But I’m his son, his gargantuan son. I’m a whirling, ass-kicking Goliath, a typhoon wrapped in skin, and then I’m writhing and thrashing and trying to break free and they’re wrestling me back down, laughing and saying things like “what a crazy mother.” And I think I hear respect even in Zephyr’s voice as he says, “I can’t pin him, he’s like a frickin’ eel,” and that makes me fight harder—I love eels, they’re electric—imagining myself a live wire now, fully loaded with my own private voltage, as I whip this way and that, feeling their bodies twisting around mine, warm and slick, both of them pinning me again and again, and me breaking their holds, all our limbs entwined and now Zephyr’s head’s pressed into my chest and Fry’s behind me with a hundred hands it feels like and it’s just motion and confusion and I am lost in it, lost, lost, lost, when I begin to suspect . . . when I realize—I have a hard-on, a supernaturally hard hard-on, and it’s jammed into Zephyr’s stomach. High-octane dread courses through me. I call up the bloodiest most hella gross machete massacre—my most effective boner-buster—but it’s too late. Zephyr goes momentarily still, then jumps off me. “What the—?”Fry rolls up onto his knees. “What happened?” he wheezes out in Zephyr’s direction.I’ve reeled away, landed in a sitting position, my knees to my chest. I can’t stand up yet for fear of a tent, so I put all my effort in trying not to cry. A sickly ferret feeling is burrowing itself into every corner of my body as I pant my last breaths. And even if they don’t kill me here and now, by tonight everyone on the hill will know what just happened. I might as well swallow a lit stick of dynamite and hurl my own self off Devil’s Drop. This is worse, so much worse, than them seeing some stupid drawings. (SELF-PORTRAIT: Funeral in the Forest)But Zephyr’s not saying anything, he’s just standing there, looking like his Viking self, except all weird and mute. Why? Did I disable him with my mind?No. He gestures in the direction of the ocean, says to Fry, “Hell with this. Let’s grab the slabs and head out.” Relief swallows me whole. Is it possible he didn’t feel it? No, it isn’t—it was steel and he jumped away totally freaked out. He’s still freaked out. So why isn’t he pussyhomoBubbling me? Is it because he likes Jude? Fry twirls a finger by his ear as he says to Zephyr, “Someone’s Frisbee is seriously on the roof, bro.” Then to me: “When you least expect it, Bubble.” He mimes my free-fall off Devil’s Drop with his mitt of a hand.It’s over. They’re headed back toward the beach. Before they change their Neanderthal minds, I hustle over to my pad, slip it under my arm, and then, without looking back, I speed-walk into the trees like someone whose heart isn’t shaking, whose eyes aren’t filling up, someone who doesn’t feel so newly minted as a human. When I’m in the clear, I blast out of my skin like a cheetah—they go from zero to seventy-five mph in three seconds flat and I can too practically. I’m the fourth-fastest in the seventh grade. I can unzip the air and disappear inside it, and that’s what I do until I’m far away from them and what happened. At least I’m not a mayfly. Male mayflies have two dicks to worry about. I already spend half my life in the shower because of my one, thinking about things I can’t stop thinking about no matter how hard I try because I really, really, really like thinking about them. Man, I do.At the creek, I jump rocks until I find a good cave where I can watch the sun swimming inside the rushing water for the next hundred years. There should be a horn or gong or something to wake God. Because I’d like to have a word with him. Three words actually:WHAT THE FUCK?!After a while, having gotten no response as usual, I take out the charcoals from my back pocket. They somehow survived the ordeal intact. I sit down and open my sketchbook. I black out a whole blank page, then another, and another. I press so hard, I break stick after stick, using each one down to the very nub, so it’s like the blackness is coming out of my finger, out of me, and onto the page. I fill up the whole rest of the pad. It takes hours.(A SERIES: Boy Inside a Box of Darkness)• • •The next night at dinner, Mom announces that Grandma Sweetwine joined her for a ride in the car that afternoon with a message for Jude and me. Only, Grandma’s dead.“Finally!” Jude exclaims, falling back in her chair. “She promised me!” What Grandma promised Jude, right before she died in her sleep three months ago, is that if Jude ever really needed her, she’d be there in a flash. Jude was her favorite. Mom smiles at Jude and puts her hands on the table. I put mine on the table too, then realize I’m being a Mom-mirror and hide my hands in my lap. Mom’s contagious. And a blow-in—some people just aren’t from here and she’s one of them. I’ve been accumulating evidence for years. More on this later.But now: Her face is all lit up and flickery as she sets the stage, telling us how first the car filled with Grandma’s perfume. “You know how the scent used to walk into the room before she did?” Mom breathes in dramatically as if the kitchen’s filling with Grandma’s thick flowery smell. I breathe in dramatically. Jude breathes in dramatically. Everyone in California, the United States, on Earth, breathes in dramatically.Except Dad. He clears his throat. He’s not buying it. Because he’s an artichoke. This, according to his own mother, Grandma Sweetwine, who never understood how she birthed and raised such a thistle-head. Me neither.A thistle-head who studies parasites—no comment. I glance at him with his lifeguard-like tan and muscles, with his glow-in-the-dark teeth, with all his glow-in-the-dark normal, and feel the curdling—because what would happen if he knew?So far Zephyr hasn’t blabbed a word. You probably don’t know this, because I’m like the only one in the world who does, but a dork is the official name for a whale dick. And a blue whale’s dork? Eight feet long. I repeat: EIGHT FEET LOOOOOOOONG! This is how I’ve felt since it happened yesterday: (SELF-PORTRAIT: The Concrete Dork) Yeah. But sometimes I think Dad suspects. Sometimes I think the toaster suspects. Jude jostles my leg under the table with her foot to get my attention back from the salt shaker I realize I’ve been staring down. She nods toward Mom, whose eyes are now closed and whose hands are crossed over her heart. Then toward Dad, who’s looking at Mom like her eyebrows have crawled down to her chin. We bulge our eyes at each other. I bite my cheek not to laugh. Jude does too—she and me, we share a laugh switch. Our feet press together under the table. (FAMILY PORTRAIT: Mom Communes with the Dead at Dinner) “Well?” Jude prods. “The message?”Mom opens her eyes, winks at us, then closes them and continues in a séance-y woo-woo voice. “So, I breathed in the flowery air and there was a kind of shimmering . . .” She swirls her arms like scarves, milking the moment. This is why she gets the professor of the year award so much—everyone always wants to be in her movie with her. We lean in for her next words, for The Message from Upstairs, but then Dad interrupts, throwing a whole load of boring on the moment. He’s never gotten the professor of the year award. Not once. No comment.“It’s important to let the kids know you mean all this metaphorically, honey,” he says, sitting straight up so that his head busts through the ceiling. In most of my drawings, he’s so big, I can’t fit all of him on the page, so I leave off the head. Mom lifts her eyes, the amusement wiped off her face. “Except I don’t mean it metaphorically, Benjamin.” Dad used to make Mom’s eyes shine; now he makes her grind her teeth. I don’t know why. “What I meant quite literally,” she says/grinds, “is that the inimitable Grandma Sweetwine, dead and gone, was in the car, sitting next to me, plain as day.” She smiles at Jude. “In fact, she was all dressed up in one of her Floating Dresses, looking spectacular.” The Floating Dress was Grandma’s dress line.“Oh! Which one? The blue?” The way Jude asks this makes my chest pang for her.“No, the one with the little orange flowers.”“Of course,” Jude replies. “Perfect ghost-wear. We discussed what her afterlife attire would be.” It occurs to me that Mom’s making all this up because Jude can’t stop missing Grandma. She hardly left her bedside at the end. When Mom found them that final morning, one asleep, one dead, they were holding hands. I thought this was supremely creepy but kept it to myself. “So . . .” Jude raises an eyebrow. “The message?”“You know what I’d love?” Dad says, huffing and puffing himself back into the conversation so that we’re never going to find out what the freaking message is. “What I’d love is if we could finally declare The Reign of Ridiculous over.” This, again. The Reign he’s referring to began when Grandma moved in. Dad, “a man of science,” told us to take every bit of superstitious hogwash that came out of his mother’s mouth with a grain of salt. Grandma told us not to listen to her artichoke of a son and to take those grains of salt and throw them right over our left shoulders to blind the devil. Then she took out her “bible”—an enormous leather-bound book stuffed with batshit ideas (aka: hogwash)—and started to preach the gospel. Mostly to Jude. Dad lifts a slice of pizza off his plate. Cheese dives over the edges. He looks at me. “How about this, huh, Noah? Who’s a little relieved we’re not having one of Grandma’s luck-infused stews?” I remain mum. Sorry, Charlie. I love pizza, meaning: Even when I’m in the middle of eating pizza, I wish I were eating pizza, but I wouldn’t jump on Dad’s train even if Michelangelo were on it. He and I don’t get on, though he tends to forget. I never forget. When I hear his big banging voice coming after me to watch the 49ers or some movie where everything gets blown up or to listen to jazz that makes me feel like my body’s on backward, I open my bedroom window, jump out, and head for the trees.Occasionally when no one’s home, I go into his office and break his pencils. Once, after a particularly toilet-licking Noah the Broken Umbrella Talk, when he laughed and said if Jude weren’t my twin he’d be sure I’d come about from parthenogenesis (looked it up: conception without a father), I snuck into the garage while everyone was sleeping and keyed his car.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 in her for organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share: a tree with its leaves on fire. And Dad has a plate of maggots for his.Jude says to him, “Do you think Grandma didn’t just hear you insult her cooking?” “That would be a resounding no,” Dad replies, then hoovers into the slice. The grease makes his whole mouth gleam.Jude stands. Her hair hangs all around her head like lightcicles. She looks up at the ceiling and declares, “I always loved your cooking, Grandma.” Mom reaches over and squeezes her hand, then says to the ceiling, “Me too, Cassandra.” Jude smiles from the inside out. Dad finger-shoots himself in the head.Mom frowns—it makes her look a hundred years old. “Embrace the mystery, Professor,” she says. She’s always telling Dad this, but she used to say it different. She used to say it like she was opening a door for him to walk through, not closing one in his face.“I married the mystery, Professor,” he answers like always, but it used to sound like a compliment. We all eat pizza. It’s not fun. Mom’s and Dad’s thoughts are turning the air black. I’m listening to myself chew, when Jude’s foot finds mine under the table again. I press back. “The message from Grandma?” she interjects into the tension, smiling hopefully.Dad looks at her and his eyes go soft. She’s his favorite too. Mom doesn’t have a favorite, though, which means the spot is up for grabs.“As I was saying.” This time Mom’s using her normal voice, husky, like a cave’s talking to you. “I was driving by CSA, the fine arts high school, this afternoon and that’s when Grandma swooped in to say what an absolutely perfect fit it would be for you two.” She shakes her head, brightening and becoming her usual age again. “And it really is. I can’t believe it never occurred to me. I keep thinking of that quote by Picasso: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up.’” She has the bananas look on her face that happens in museums, like she’s going to steal the art. “But this. This is a chance of a lifetime, guys. I don’t want your spirits to get all tamped down like . . .” She doesn’t finish, combs a hand through her hair—black and bombed-out like mine—turns to Dad. “I really want this for them, Benjamin. I know it’ll be expensive, but what an oppor—” “That’s it?” Jude interrupts. “That’s all Grandma said? That was the message from the afterlife? It was about some school?” She looks like she might start crying. Not me. Art school? I never imagined such a thing, never imagined I wouldn’t have to go to Roosevelt, to Asshat High with everyone else. I’m pretty sure the blood just started glowing inside my body.(SELF-PORTRAIT: A Window Flies Open in My Chest)Mom has the bananas look again. “Not just any school, Jude. A school that will let you shout from the rooftops every single day for four years. Don’t you two want to shout from the rooftops?”“Shout what?” Jude asks. This makes Dad chuckle under his breath in a thistly way. “I don’t know, Di,” he says. “It’s so focused. You forget that for the rest of us, art’s just art, not religion.” Mom picks up a knife and thrusts it into his gut, twists. Dad forges on, oblivious. “Anyway, they’re in seventh grade. High school’s still a ways away.”“I want to go!” I explode. “I don’t want a tamped-down spirit!” I realize these are the first words I’ve uttered outside my head this entire meal. Mom beams at me. He can’t talk her out of this. There are no surftards there, I know it. Probably only kids whose blood glows. Only revolutionaries.Mom says to Dad, “It’ll take them the year to prepare. It’s one of the best fine arts high schools in the country, with topnotch academics as well, no problem there. And it’s right in our backyard!” Her excitement is revving me even more. I might start flapping my arms. “Really difficult to get in. But you two have it. Natural ability and you already know so much.” She smiles at us with so much pride it’s like the sun’s rising over the table. It’s true. Other kids had picture books, we had art books. “We’ll start museum and gallery visits this weekend. It’ll be great. You two can have drawing contests.”Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices. She can draw okay, but it’s different. For me, school only stopped being eight hours of daily stomach surgery when I realized everyone wanted me to sketch them more than they wanted to talk to me or bash my face in. No one ever wanted to bash Jude’s face in. She’s shiny and funny and normal—not a revolutionary—and talks to everybody. I talk to me. And Jude, of course, though mostly silently because that’s how we do it. And Mom because she’s a blow-in. (Quickly, the evidence: So far she hasn’t walked through a wall or picked up the house with her mind or stopped time or anything totally off-the-hook, but there’ve been things. One morning recently, for instance, she was out on the deck like usual drinking her tea and when I got closer I saw that she’d floated up into the air. At least that’s how it looked to me. And the clincher: She doesn’t have parents. She’s a foundling! She was just left in some church in Reno, Nevada, as a baby. Hello? Left by them.) Oh, and I also talk to Rascal next door, who, for all intents and purposes, is a horse, but yeah right.Hence, Bubble. Really, most of the time, I feel like a hostage.Dad puts his elbows on the table. “Dianna, take a few steps back. I really think you’re projecting. Old dreams die—” Mom doesn’t let him say another word. The teeth are grinding like mad. She looks like she’s holding in a dictionary of bad words or a nuclear war. “NoahandJude, take your plates and go into the den. I need to talk to your father.”We don’t move. “NoahandJude, now.”“Jude, Noah,” Dad says.I grab my plate and I’m glued to Jude’s heels out of there. She reaches a hand back for me and I take it. I notice then that her dress is as colorful as a clownfish. Grandma taught her to make her clothes. Oh! I hear our neighbor’s new parrot, Prophet, through the open window. “Where the hell is Ralph?” he squawks. “Where the hell is Ralph?” It’s the only thing he says, and he says it 24/7. No one knows who, forget where, Ralph is.“Goddamn stupid parrot!” Dad shouts with so much force all our hair blows back. “He doesn’t mean it,” I say to Prophet in my head only to realize I’ve said it out loud. Sometimes words fly out of my mouth like warty frogs. I begin to explain to Dad that I was talking to the bird but stop because that won’t go over well, and instead, out of my mouth comes a weird bleating sound, which makes everyone except Jude look at me funny. We spring for the door. A moment later we’re on the couch. We don’t turn on the TV, so we can eavesdrop, but they’re speaking in angry whispers, impossible to decipher. After sharing my slice bite for bite because Jude forgot her plate, she says, “I thought Grandma would tell us something awesome in her message. Like if heaven has an ocean, you know?” I lean back into the couch, relieved to be just with Jude. I never feel like I’ve been taken hostage when it’s just us. “Oh yeah it does, most definitely it has an ocean, only it’s purple, and the sand is blue and the sky is hella green.”She smiles, thinks for a moment, then says, “And when you’re tired, you crawl into your flower and go to sleep. During the day, everyone talks in colors instead of sounds. It’s so quiet.” She closes her eyes, says slowly, “When people fall in love, they burst into flames.” Jude loves that one—it was one of Grandma’s favorites. We used to play this with her when we were little. “Take me away!” she’d say, or sometimes, “Get me the hell out of here, kids!”When Jude opens her eyes, all the magic is gone from her face. She sighs.“What?” I ask.“I’m not going to that school. Only aliens go there.” “Aliens?” “Yeah, freaks. California School of the Aliens, that’s what people call it.” Oh man, oh man, thank you, Grandma. Dad has to cave. I have to get in. Freaks who make art! I’m so happy, I feel like I’m jumping on a trampoline, just boinging around inside myself. Not Jude. She’s all gloomy now. To make her feel better I say, “Maybe Grandma saw your flying women and that’s why she wants us to go.” Three coves down, Jude’s been making them out of the wet sand. The same ones she’s always doing out of mashed potatoes or Dad’s shaving cream or whatever when she thinks no one’s looking. From the bluff, I’ve been watching her build these bigger sand versions and know she’s trying to talk to Grandma. I can always tell what’s in Jude’s head. It’s not as easy for her to tell what’s in mine, though, because I have shutters and I close them whenever I have to. Like lately.(SELF-PORTRAIT: The Boy Hiding Inside the Boy Hiding Inside the Boy)“I don’t think those are art. Those are . . .” She doesn’t finish. “It’s because of you, Noah. And you should stop following me down the beach. What if I were kissing someone?”“Who?” I’m only two hours thirty-seven minutes and thirteen seconds younger than Jude, but she always makes me feel like I’m her little brother. I hate it. “Who would you be kissing? Did you kiss someone?” “I’ll tell you if you tell me what happened yesterday. I know something did and that’s why we couldn’t walk to school the normal way this morning.” I didn’t want to see Zephyr or Fry. The high school is next to the middle school. I don’t ever want to see them again. Jude touches my arm. “If someone did something to you or said something, tell me.”She’s trying to get in my mind, so I close the shutters. Fast, slam them right down with me on one side, her on the other. This isn’t like the other horror shows: The time she punched the boulder-come-to-life Michael Stein in the face last year during a soccer game for calling me a retard just because I got distracted by a supremely cool anthill. Or the time I got caught in a rip and she and Dad had to drag me out of the ocean in front of a whole beach of surftards. This is different. This secret is like having hot burning coals under my bare feet all the time. I rise up from the couch to get away from any potential telepathy—when the yelling reaches us.It’s loud, like the house might break in two. Same as the other times lately. I sink back down. Jude looks at me. Her eyes are the lightest glacier blue; I use mostly white when I draw them. Normally they make you feel floaty and think of puffy clouds and hear harps, but right now they look just plain scared. Everything else has been forgotten. (PORTRAIT: Mom and Dad with Screeching Tea Kettles for Heads)When Jude speaks, she sounds like she did when she was little, her voice made of tinsel. “Do you really think that’s why Grandma wants us to go to that school? Because she saw my flying sand women?”“I do,” I say, lying. I think she was right the first time. I think it’s because of me. She scoots over so we’re shoulder to shoulder. This is us. Our pose. The smush. It’s even how we are in the ultrasound photo they took of us inside Mom and how I had us in the picture Fry ripped up yesterday. Unlike most everyone else on earth, from the very first cells of us, we were together, we came here together. This is why no one hardly notices that Jude does most of the talking for both of us, why we can only play piano with all four of our hands on the keyboard and not at all alone, why we can never do Rochambeau because not once in thirteen years have we chosen differently. It’s always: two rocks, two papers, two scissors. When I don’t draw us like this, I draw us as half-people. The calm of the smush floods me. She breathes in and I join her. Maybe we’re too old to still do this, but whatever. I can see her smiling even though I’m looking straight ahead. We exhale together, then inhale together, exhale, inhale, in and out, out and in, until not even the trees remember what happened in the woods yesterday, until Mom’s and Dad’s voices turn from mad to music, until we’re not only one age, but one complete and whole person.• • •A week later, everything changes. It’s Saturday, and Mom, Jude, and I are in the city at the museum’s rooftop café because Mom won the argument and we’re both going to apply to CSA in a year.Across the table, Jude’s talking to Mom and at the same time sending me secret silent death threats because she thinks my drawings came out better than hers and we’re having a contest. Mom’s the judge. And fine, maybe I shouldn’t have tried to fix Jude’s for her. She’s sure I was trying to ruin them. No comment.She eye-rolls at me on the sly. It’s a 6.3 on the Richter scale. I think about giving her a dead leg under the table but resist. Instead, I drink some hot chocolate and covertly spy on a group of older guys to my left. As far as my eight-foot concrete dork goes, still no fallout except in my mind: (SELF-PORTRAIT: Boy Gets Fed Piece by Piece to a Swarm of Fire Ants). But maybe Zephyr’s really not going to tell anyone.The guys at the next table all have rubber plugs in their earlobes and studs in their eyebrows and are joking around with each other like otters. They probably go to CSA, I think, and the thought makes my whole body thrum. One of them has a moon face with blue saucer eyes and a bursting red mouth, the kind Renoir paints. I love those mouths. I’m doing a quick sketch of his face with my finger on my pants under the table when he catches me staring and instead of glaring at me so I’ll mind my beeswax, he winks at me, slowly, so there’s no mistaking it, then returns his attention to his friends as I go from solid to liquid mass.He winked at me. Like he knows. But it doesn’t feel bad. Not at all. In fact, I wish I could stop smiling, and now, oh wow—he’s looking this way again and smiling too. My face is starting to boil. I try to focus in on Mom and Jude. They’re talking about Grandma’s batshit bible. Again. How it’s like an encyclopedia of odd beliefs, Mom’s saying. How Grandma collected ideas from everywhere, everyone, even left the bible open on the counter next to the cash register in her dress shop so all her customers could write in their batshit hogwash too.“On the very last page,” Mom tells Jude, “it says in case of her untimely death, it becomes yours.”“Mine?” She throws me her smuggest look. “Just mine?” She’s all gift-wrapped now. Whatever. Like I even want some bible. Mom says, “I quote, ‘This good book is bequeathed to my granddaughter, Jude Sweetwine, the last remaining bearer of The Sweetwine Gift.’” I barf bright green barf all over the table. Grandma Sweetwine decided Jude had The Sweetwine Gift of Intuition when she discovered Jude could do the flower tongue. We were four years old. After, Jude spent days with me in front of a mirror, pressing her finger into my tongue, again and again, trying to teach me so I could have The Sweetwine Gift too. But it was useless. My tongue could flip and curl, but it couldn’t blossom.I look back over at the table of otters. They’re packing up to leave. Winking Moon Face swings a backpack over his shoulder and then mouths bye to me. I swallow and look down and burst into flames. Then start mind-drawing him from memory.When I tune back in minutes later, Mom’s telling Jude that unlike Grandma Sweetwine, she’d haunt us flamboyantly and persistently, no quick visits in the car for her. “I’d be the kind of ghost that interferes with everything.” She’s laughing her rumbly laugh and her hands are twirling around in the air. “I’m too controlling. You’d never be rid of me! Never!” She bwah-ha-ha’s at us.What’s weird is that she looks like she’s in a windstorm all of a sudden. Her hair’s blowing and her dress is slightly billowing. I check under the table to see if there’s a vent or something, but there isn’t. See? Other mothers don’t have their own private weather. She’s smiling at us so warmly, like we’re puppies, and something catches in my chest.I shutter myself in while they talk more specifically about what kind of ghost Mom would make. If Mom died, the sun would go out. Period.Instead, I think about today.How I went around from painting to painting asking each to eat me and each did. How my skin fit the whole time, didn’t once bunch up at my ankles or squeeze my head into a pin.Mom’s drum roll on the table brings me back. “So, let’s see those sketchbooks,” she says, excited. I did four pastel drawings from the permanent collection—a Chagall, a Franz Marc, and two Picassos. I picked those because I could tell the paintings were looking at me as hard as I was looking at them. She’d said not to feel like we had to copy exactly. I didn’t copy at all. I shook up the originals in my head and let them out all covered in me. “I’ll go first,” I say, shoving my book into Mom’s hands. Jude’s eye-roll is a 7.2 on the Richter this time, causing the whole building to sway. I don’t care, I can’t wait. Something happened when I was drawing today. I think my eyes got swapped for better ones. I want Mom to notice. I watch her page through slowly, then put on the granny glasses that hang around her neck and go through the drawings again, and then again. At one point she looks up at me like I’ve turned into a star-nosed mole and then goes back to it. All the café sounds: The voices, the whirring of the espresso machine, the clink and clatter of glasses and dishes go silent as I watch her index finger hover over each part of the page. I’m seeing through her eyes and what I’m seeing is this: They’re good. I start to get a rocket launch feeling. I’m totally going to get into CSA! And I still have a whole year to make sure of it. I already asked Mr. Grady, the art teacher, to teach me to mix oils after school and he said yes. When I think Mom’s finally done, she goes back to the beginning and starts again. She can’t stop! Her face is being swarmed by happiness. Oh, I’m reeling around in here. Until I’m under siege. A psychic air raid discharging from Jude. (PORTRAIT: Green with Envy) Skin: lime. Hair: chartreuse. Eyes: forest. All of her: green, green, green. I watch her open a packet of sugar, spill some on the table, then press a fingerprint of the crystals into the cover of her sketchbook. Hogwash from Grandma’s bible for good luck. I feel a coiling in my stomach. I should grab my sketchbook out of Mom’s hands already, but I don’t. I can’t. Every time Grandma S. read Jude’s and my palms, she’d tell us that we have enough jealousy in our lines to ruin our lives ten times over. I know she’s right about this. When I draw Jude and me with see-through skin, there are always rattlesnakes in our bellies. I only have a few. Jude had seventeen at last count.Finally, Mom closes my book and hands it back to me. She says to us, “Contests are silly. Let’s spend our Saturdays for the next year appreciating art and learning craft. Sound good, guys?”Before even opening Jude’s sketchbook, she says this.Mom picks up her hot chocolate but doesn’t drink. “Unbelievable,” she says, shaking her head slowly. Has she forgotten Jude’s book altogether? “I see a Chagall sensibility with a Gauguin palette, but the point of view seems wholly your own at the same time. And you’re so young. It’s extraordinary, Noah. Just extraordinary.”(SELF-PORTRAIT: Boy Dives into a Lake of Light)“Really?” I whisper.“Really,” she says seriously. “I’m stunned.” Something in her face is different—it’s like a curtain’s been parted in the middle of it. I sneak a glance at Jude. I can tell she’s crumpled up in a corner of herself, just like I do in emergencies. There’s a crawlspace in me that no one can get to, no matter what. I had no idea she had one too. Mom doesn’t notice. Usually she notices everything. But she’s sitting there not noticing anything, like she’s dreaming right in front of us. Finally she snaps out of it, but it’s too late. “Jude, honey, let’s see that book, can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.”“That’s okay,” Jude says in the tinsely voice, her book already buried deep in her bag. Jude and I play a lot of games. Her favorites are How Would You Rather Die? (Jude: freeze, me: burn) and The Drowning Game. The Drowning Game goes like this: If Mom and Dad were drowning, who would we save first? (Me: Mom, duh. Jude: depends on her mood.) And there’s the other variation: If we were drowning, who would Dad save first? (Jude.) For thirteen years, Mom’s stumped us. We had absolutely no idea who she’d dredge out of the water first. Until now. And without sharing a glance, we both know it.Jude3 years laterHere I am.Standing next to my sculpture in the studio at CSA with a four-leaf clover in my pocket. I spent all morning on hands and knees in a clover patch outside school, all for nothing—it was picked clean. But then, eureka! I super-glued a fourth leaf onto an ordinary old three-leafer, wrapped it in cellophane, and slipped it into my sweatshirt pocket right beside the onion. I’m a bit of a bible thumper. Other people have the Gideon, I have Grandma Sweetwine’s. Some sample passages:A person in possession of a four-leaf clover is able to thwart all sinister influences(Art school is rife with sinister influences. Especially today—not only is it my critique day, I have a meeting with my advisor and I might be expelled.)To avoid serious illness, keep an onion in your pocket(Check. Can’t be too careful.)If a boy gives a girl an orange, her love for him will multiply(Jury’s out. No boy has ever given me an orange.) The feet of ghosts never touch the ground(We’ll get to this. Soon.)The bell rings. And there they are. The other clay second-years. Every last one of them ready to suffocate me with a pillow. Oops, I mean: staring dumbfounded at my sculpture. The assignment was to do another self-portrait. I went abstract, as in: blob. Degas had dancers, I have blobs. Broken, glued-together blobs. This is my eighth. “What’s working here?” asks Sandy Ellis, master ceramicist, clay instructor, and my advisor. The way he begins every critique. No one says a word. The proper California School of the Aliens feedback sandwich starts and ends with praise—in between, people say the terrible things they really think.I scan the room without moving my head. The sophomore clay crew is a pretty good sampling of the CSA student body: freak-flags of every variety flying proud and loud. Normal run-of-the-mill people like me—except for a few discreet tics, sure, who doesn’t have something?—are the exception. I know what you’re thinking. It’s Noah who belongs at this school, not me. Sandy peers at the class over his round, tinted spectacles. Usually everyone jumps right in, but the only sound in the studio is the electric hum of the fluorescent lights. I study the time on Mom’s old watch—she was wearing it when her car sailed off the cliff two years ago, killing her on impact—as it ticks around my wrist.Rain in December brings with it an unforeseen funeral(It rained most of the December before she died.)“C’mon guys, positive impressions of Broken Me-Blob No. 8?” Sandy slowly strokes his straggly beard. If we all morphed into our mirror animals (a game Noah made me play constantly when we were little), Sandy would poof into a billy goat. “We’ve been talking about point of view,” he says. “Let’s discuss CJ’s, shall we?” CJ, short for Calamity Jane/Jude, is what everyone at school calls me on account of my “bad luck.” It’s not just breakage in the kiln. Last year, in pottery studio, some of my bowls allegedly took flying leaps off the shelves at night when no one was around, when the windows were all closed, when the closest earthquake was in Indonesia. The night janitor was confounded. Everyone was but me. Caleb Cartwright raises both hands in a gesture that further clinches his mime thing: black turtleneck, black skinny jeans, black eyeliner, black bowler hat. He’s actually quite hot in an arty cabaret kind of way, not that I’ve noticed. The boy boycott’s on. I come fully equipped with boy-blinders and failsafe invisibility uniform: To disappear into thin air: Cut off three feet of blond curls and shove remaining hair into a black skullcap. Keep tattoo tucked away where no one can see it. Wear only oversized hoodies, oversized jeans, and sneakers. Stay quiet. (Occasionally, I write a bible passage of my own.)Caleb scans the room. “I’ll just say it for everyone, okay?” He pauses, taking great care to find the perfect words to throw me overboard. “It’s impossible to critique CJ’s work because it’s always mangled, glued together like this. I mean, we’re talking serious Humpty Dumpty every time.” I imagine myself in a meadow. This is what the school counselor told me to do when I feel mental, or as Grandma used to say: minus some buttons. And if anyone was wondering: DIY four-leaf clovers have no juice. “Well, what does that say in and of itself?” Sandy asks the class. Randall “no offense, but” Brown starts to sputter. He’s this all-star a-hole who believes he can say the most offensive things imaginable in critique if he precedes them with “No offense, but.” I’d like to bean him with a tranquilizer dart. “It would say a lot more, Sandy, if it were intentional.” He looks at me. Here it comes. “I mean, CJ, no offense, but it’s got to be that you’re fundamentally careless. The only rational explanation for so much breakage in the kiln is that you don’t knead your clay enough or let your work dry evenly.” Nail on the head. Bingo. Pop goes the weasel. Sometimes explanations are not rational.Strange things happen. And if we were allowed to talk when our work was being critiqued, and if I could get a signed affidavit from someone very high up, like God for instance, that I wouldn’t be locked away for the rest of my life, then I’d say, “Doesn’t anyone else have a dead mother angry enough at them to rise from the grave and break their artwork?” Then they’d understand what I’m up against. “Randall brings up a good point,” Sandy says. “Does intentionality matter in our experience and appreciation of art? If CJ’s final sculpture is in pieces, does her original conception of wholeness even matter? Is it about the journey or the destination, so to speak?” The whole class hums like a happy hive at this and Sandy launches them into a theoretical discussion about whether the artist even matters after the art has been created. I’d rather think about pickles. “Me too—kosher dills, big fat juicy ones. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm,” whispers Grandma Sweetwine in my head. She’s dead like Mom, but unlike Mom, who just breaks things, Grandma’s vocal and often visible. She’s the good cop of my ghost world; Mom, the bad. I try to keep my face blank as she continues. “Ho, dee, hum, what a snooze. And really, that’s a highly unattractive thing you’ve made. Why all this beating around the bush? Why don’t they tell you better luck next time and move on to their next victim like that fella there with the bananas springing out of his head.”“Those are blond dreadlocks, Grandma,” I tell her in my mind, careful not to move my mouth. “I say you make a run for it, dear.”“I’m with you.” Those discreet tics? I confess, maybe not so discreet. But, for the record: Twenty-two percent of the world’s population sees ghosts—that’s over one and a half billion people worldwide. (Professors as parents. Mad research skills.)While the theoretical clone-drone continues, I amuse myself by playing: How Would You Rather Die? I’m the reigning champion of this game. It’s not as simple as it seems, because making the deaths on either side of the equation comparably frightful takes enormous skill. For instance: eating fistful after fistful of crushed glass or—I’m interrupted because to my surprise and everyone else’s as well, Fish (no last name) has raised her hand. Fish’s a mute like me, so this is something.“CJ has good technique,” she says, her tongue stud flashing like a star in her mouth. “I propose it’s a ghost that’s breaking her work.” Everyone hardy-har-hars at this, including Sandy. I’m floored. She wasn’t joking, I can tell. She meets my eyes, then lifts her wrist and gives it a subtle shake. On it is a cool punky charm bracelet that perfectly matches the rest of her: purple hair, tattoo sleeves, acid attitude. Then I recognize the charms: three pieces of ruby red sea glass, two four-leaf clovers in plastic, and a handful of sand-dollar birds, all strung together with black ratty leather. Wow. I hadn’t realized I’d snuck so much luck into her bag, into her smock pockets. She just always seems so sad under all the ghoulish makeup. But how did she know it was me? Do the rest know too? Like that jittery new kid? Definitely minus some buttons. Been slipping him sand-dollar birds galore. But Fish’s dead ringer of a pronouncement and bracelet are the lone fireworks. For the rest of the hour, one by one, the others skewer Broken Me-Blob No. 8 and I become more and more aware of my hands, which are in a white-knuckled clasp in front of me. They feel itchy. Very itchy. Finally, I unclasp them and try to examine them on the down low. No sign of a bite or rash. I search for a red spot that might indicate necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly referred to as flesh-eating disease, which I read all about in one of Dad’s medical journals—Okay, got it: How Would You Rather Die? Eating handful after handful of crushed glass, or a whopping case of necrotizing fasciitis? The voice of Felicity Stiles—signifying the end is nigh!—pulls me out of this brain-squeezing conundrum where I’m leaning toward eating the glass. “Can I do the closing, Sandy?” she asks like she always does. She has this gorgeous lilting South Carolinian accent that she uses to give a sermon at the end of every critique. She’s like a flower that talks—an evangelical daffodil. Fish covertly mimes a dagger going into her chest. I smile at her and brace myself. “I just think it’s sad,” Felicity says, then pauses until the room is hers, which doesn’t take more than a second because she doesn’t only sound like a daffodil, she looks and acts like one too and we all become human sighs around her. She holds her hand out to my blob. “I can feel the pain of the whole wide world in this piece.” It takes a full rotation of that world for her to drawl out all those Ws. “Because we are all broken. I mean, aren’t we now? I am. The whole wide world is. We try to do our best and this is what happens, time and time again. That’s what all CJ’s work says to me, and it makes me really, really sad.” She faces me directly. “I understand how unhappy you are, CJ. I really do.” Her eyes are huge, swallowing. Oh, how I hate art school. She raises a fisted hand and clutches it to her chest, then beats it three times, saying, “I. Understand. You.” I can’t help it. I’m nodding back at her like a fellow flower, when the table beneath Broken Me-Blob No. 8 gives way and my self-portrait tumbles to the floor and shatters into pieces. Again. “That’s cold,” I tell Mom in my mind. “You see,” Fish declares. “A ghost.”This time nobody hardy-har-hars. Caleb shakes his head: “No way.” Randall: “What the hell?” Tell me about it, countrymen. Unlike Casper and Grandma S., Mom is not a friendly ghost.Sandy’s under the table. “A screw fell out,” he says in disbelief. I get the broom I keep at my station for such occasions and sweep up broken Broken Me-Blob No. 8 while everyone mutters about how unlucky I am. I empty the pieces into a trashcan. After the remains of my self-portrait, I toss in the useless DIY-clover.I’m thinking maybe Sandy will feel sorry for me and postpone our big meeting until after winter break, which starts tomorrow, when he mouths at me My office, and gestures toward the door. I cross the studio.Always walk right foot first to avert calamity, which comes at you from the left• • •I’m sunk into a giant plush leather chair across from Sandy. He’s just apologized about the screw falling out and joked that maybe Fish was right about that ghost, eh, CJ? Chuckling politely here at the absurd notion.His fingers are piano-ing on the desk. Neither of us is speaking. I’m fine with this. To his left is a life-size print of Michelangelo’s David, so vivid in the fragile afternoon light that I keep expecting his chest to heave as he claims his first breath. Sandy follows my gaze over his shoulder to the magnificent stone man. “Helluva biography your mother wrote,” he says, breaking the silence. “Fearless in her examination of his sexuality. Deserved every bit of acclaim it got.” He takes off his glasses and rests them on the desk. “Talk to me, CJ.” I glance out the window at the long stretch of beach buried in fog. “A white-out’s coming for sure,” I say. One of the town of Lost Cove’s claims to fame is how often it disappears. “Do you know that some native peoples believe fog contains the restless spirits of the dead?” From Grandma’s bible.“Is that right?” He strokes his beard, transporting flecks of clay from his hand to it. “That’s interesting, but right now we need to talk about you. This is a very serious situation.” I think I was talking about me. Silence prevails once again . . . and I’ve decided to eat the crushed glass. Final answer.Sandy sighs. Because I’m disturbing him? I disturb people, I’ve noticed. Didn’t used to.“Look, I know it’s been an extraordinarily hard time for you, CJ.” He’s searching my face with his kind billy goat eyes. It’s excruciating. “And we pretty much gave you a free pass last year because of the tragic circumstances.” He has on The Poor Motherless Girl Look—all adults get it at some point when they talk to me, like I’m doomed, shoved out of the airplane without a parachute because mothers are the parachutes. I drop my gaze, notice a fatal melanoma on his arm, see his life pass before my eyes, then realize with relief it’s a dot of clay. “But CSA is a tight ship,” he says more sternly. “Not passing a studio is grounds for expulsion, and we decided to just put you on probation.” He leans forward. “It’s not all the breakage in the kiln. That happens. Granted, it seems to always happen to you, which calls into question your technique and focus, but it’s the way you’ve isolated yourself and your clear lack of investment that deeply concern us. You must know there are young artists all around the country banging on our doors for a spot, for your very spot.” I think how much Noah deserves my spot. Isn’t that what Mom’s ghost is telling me by breaking everything I make? I know it is.I take a breath and then I say it. “Let them have my spot. Really, they deserve it. I don’t.” I lift my head, look in his stunned eyes. “I don’t belong here, Sandy.” “I see,” he says. “Well, you might feel that way, but the CSA faculty think differently. I think differently.” He picks up his glasses, begins cleaning them with his clay-splattered shirt, making them dirtier. “There was something so unique in those women you made out of sand, the ones that were part of your admission portfolio.” Huh?He closes his eyes for a moment like he’s listening to distant music. “They were so joyful, so whimsical. So much motion, so much emotion.” What’s he talking about?“Sandy, I submitted dress patterns and sample dresses I made. I talked about the sand sculptures in my essay.” “Yes, I remember the essay. And I remember the dresses. Lovely. Too bad we don’t have a fashion focus. But the reason you’re sitting in that chair is because of the photographs of those wonderful sculptures.”There are no photographs of those sculptures. Okay then, feeling a little light-headed here in this episode of The Twilight Zone. Because no one ever even saw them. I made sure of it, always sneaking far down the beach to an isolated cove, the tide taking them away . . . except Noah did tell me once, no, twice actually, that he followed me and watched me build. But did he take pictures? And send them to CSA? Nothing could seem less likely. When he found out I got in and he didn’t, he destroyed everything he’d ever made. Not even a doodle remains. He hasn’t picked up a pencil, pastel, stick of charcoal, or paintbrush since.I glance up at Sandy, who’s rapping his knuckles on the desk. Wait, did he just say my sand sculptures were wonderful? I think he did. When he sees I’m listening again, he stops knuckle-rapping and continues. “I know we inundate you with lots of theory your first two years here, but let’s you and me get back to basics. One simple question, CJ. Isn’t there anything you want to make anymore? You’ve been through so much for someone so young. Isn’t there something you want to say? Something you need to say?” He’s gotten very serious and intense. “Because that’s what all this is about. Nothing else. We wish with our hands, that’s what we do as artists.” His words are loosening something inside. I don’t like it. “Think about it,” he says more gently. “I’m going to ask again. Is there something you need in the world that only your two hands can create?” I feel a searing pain in my chest. “Is there, CJ?” he insists.There is. But it’s off limits. Imagining that meadow now.“No,” I say.He grimaces. “I don’t believe you.”“There’s nothing,” I say, holding my hands together as tight as I can in my lap. “Nada. Zip.”He shakes his head, disappointed. “Okay then.” I gaze up at David . . .“CJ, where are you?”“Here, I’m here. Sorry.” I turn my attention back to him.He’s clearly upset. Why? Why does he care so much? Like he said, there are young artists all around the country dying for my spot. “We need to talk to your father,” he says. “You’d be giving up an opportunity of a lifetime. Is this really what you want?”My eyes drift back to David. It’s like he’s made of light. What I want? I want only one thing—Then it’s as if David’s jumped off the wall and swooped me into his massive stone arms and is whispering into my ear.He reminds me that Michelangelo made him over five hundred years ago.“Do you really want to transfer out?” “No!” The vehemence in my voice surprises us both. “I need to work in stone.” I point to David. An idea’s exploding inside me. “There is something I need to make,” I tell him. I feel wild, like I’m gulping for air. “Badly.” I’ve wanted to make it since I got here, but I couldn’t bear it if Mom broke it. Just couldn’t bear it.“This pleases me to no end,” Sandy says, clasping his hands together. “But it can’t be built in clay. No kiln,” I say. “It has to be stone.” “Much more resilient,” he says, smiling. He gets it. Well, part of it. “Exactly,” I say. She will not be able to break this so easily! And more importantly, she’s not going to want to. I’m going to dazzle her. I’m going to communicate with her. This is the way. “I’m so sorry, Jude,” she’ll whisper in my ear. “I had no idea you had it in you.” And then just maybe she’ll forgive me.I don’t realize Sandy’s been talking, oblivious of the music swelling, of the mother-daughter reconciliation that’s occurring in my head. I try to focus. “The problem is, with Ivan in Italy for the year, there’s no one in the department to help you. If you wanted to work in clay and cast in bronze I could—”“No, it’s got to be stone, the harder the better, granite even.” This is genius. He laughs, back to his mellow goat-grazing-in-a-field self. “Maybe, hmm, maybe . . . if you’re okay with mentoring with someone outside of school?”“Sure.” You kidding? Bonus.Sandy’s stroking his beard, thinking. And thinking.“What is it?” I ask.“Well, there is someone.” Sandy raises his eyebrows. “A master carver. One of the last ones standing perhaps. But no, I don’t think it’s possible.” He pushes the idea away with his hand. “He doesn’t teach anymore. Doesn’t exhibit. Something happened to him. No one knows what the deal is, and even before all this, he wasn’t the most . . . hmm, how shall I put it?” He looks up at the ceiling, finds the word there: “Human.” He laughs, starts digging around in a pile of magazines on his desk. “An extraordinary sculptor and a helluva speaker. I heard him when I was in grad school, amazing, he—”“If not human, what?” I interrupt, intrigued. “Actually . . .” He smiles at me. “I think your mother said it best.”“My mother?” I don’t even need to have The Sweetwine Gift to know this is a sign.“Yes, your mother wrote about him in Art Tomorrow. Funny. I was just looking at the interview the other day.” He flips through a few issues of the magazine Mom used to write for, but doesn’t find it. “Oh well,” he says, giving up. He leans back in his chair. “Let me think . . . what were her words? Oh yes, yes, she said, ‘He was the kind of man who walks into a room and all the walls fall down.’”

Editorial Reviews

Praise for I'll Give You the Sun:Winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz AwardWinner of a 2015 Stonewall HonorA New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2014 A TIME Top Ten Young Adult Book of 2014 A Boston Globe Best Young Adult Novel of 2014 A Huffington Post Top 12 Young Adult Book of 2014 A 2014 Cybil Award FinalistA 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults BookA 2015 Topo Ten Rainbow List Selection A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014 A School Library Journal Best Book of 2014 A 2014 Booklist Edtior's Choice Book A Bustle.com Top 25 Young Adult Novel of 2014 "This is the big one—the blazing story of once inseparable twins whose lives are torn apart by tragedy."—Entertainment Weekly, "5 YA Novels to Watch Out For" "Dazzling."—The New York Times Book Review "Have you ever wanted to put a book in all of your friends' hands? This is that kind of book . . . Heartbreakingly honest."—San Francisco Chronicle "Bold, even breathtaking. You get the sense [the] characters are bursting through the words, breaking free of normal metaphors and constructions, jubilantly trying to rise up from the prison of language . . . The book celebrates art’s capacity to heal, but it also shows us how we excavate meaning from the art we cherish, and how we find reflections of ourselves within it. . . . I’ll Give You the Sun is a dazzling mirror"—Lauren Oliver for the New York Times Book Review "Both structurally virtuosic . . . and emotionally wrenching. That alone is a rare combination in literature, YA or otherwise. But then add in the characters . . . This book is a rebuttal to anyone suggesting YA, because it tells stories of young people, is somehow of lesser stuff. I’ll Give You The Sun is literature. Full stop. In my opinion, it’s not just the best YA book of the year, but one of the best books of the year."—Gayle Forman for Parade "This book is many things at once, all of them engrossing. It's a book where teenagers think in almost indulgently poetic language while still sounding genuinely adolescent. It's two separate but equally intoxicating love stories. . . . Most of all, it's the mystery of what happened to tear Noah and Jude apart, and what—if anything—can bring them back together again."—NPR's Guide to 2014's Great Reads "This book is about many things: grief, sexuality, creativity, bravery, identity, guilt. But mostly it's about love. Be prepared with more tissues than you needed for The Fault in Our Stars, a chunky notebook to scribble down all the quotes and a handful of witty responses when people ask why you're chuckling to yourself in the corner. Because this book will make you realise how beautiful words can be."—The Guardian "Simply unforgettable. . . . If you’re looking for a book that’s deep and powerful and beautiful, look no further. You must read I’ll Give You the Sun."—Lisa Parkin for the Huffington Post’s “Top 12 Young Adult Books of 2014” * “Readers are meant to feel big things, and they will—Nelson’s novel brims with emotion (grief, longing, and love in particular) as Noah, Jude, and the broken individuals in their lives find ways to heal.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review * "A resplendent novel...Art and wonder fill each page."—School Library Journal, starred review * "Nelson’s prose is replete with moments of stunning emotional clarity, and her characters are as irresistible to the reader as they are to each other . . . No matter how they hurt each other, the love among all the characters is huge here—huge enough to destroy, huge enough to forgive, and huge enough to put their broken world back together again."—BCCB, starred review * "In an electric style evoking the highly visual imaginations of the young narrators, Nelson captures the fraught, antagonistic, yet deeply loving relationship Jude and Noah share."—Booklist, starred review* "An intricate and absorbing work of art emerges from the details of the interlaced sections. Few novels about twins capture so well the rewards and challenges . . . or the way in which people who have loved us remain in our minds after their deaths."—VOYA, perfect score* "Readers will be hooked."—Library Media Connection“The novel is structurally brilliant, moving back and forth across timelines to reveal each teen's respective exhilaration and anguish . . . Nelson's prose scintillates . . . dizzyingly visual . . . Here's a narrative experience readers won't soon forget.”—Kirkus "Told in poetic prose with the barest hint of magical realism . . . a compelling meditation on love, grief, sexuality, family, and fate."—Horn Book "I've gotten so involved in a book that I've missed my subway stop because I was reading; Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun might be the first time where I saw my stop and skipped it anyway."—The Daily Beast "I'll Give You the Sun is a daydream . . . otherworldly and mesmerizing . . . Nelson's evocative language envelops one's imagination . . . an exquisite surrender to wonder and possibilities."—The Boston Globe "I'll Give You the Sun gives the word 'intense' new meaning . . . a novel that makes you want to go out and skydive, but if you can read a novel like this now and then, you don't need to."—Newsday "This one is going to be big... It is full of all the good stuff that sticks with you: love, identity struggles, loss, betrayal, and the complications of family, so you'll probably feel all the feels."—Bustle.com "A blazing prismatic explosion of color . . . I'll Give You the Sun is that rare, immersive teen novel: To read it is a coming-of-age experience in itself."—Entertainment Weekly "[These] viewpoints—Noah’s at 13 and 14, Jude's at 16—intersect in surprising ways, and eventually come together in a satisfying, if bittersweet, conclusion. . . . Young adults will learn they're not alone in navigating the emotional highs and lows of finding their identity; older readers will have moments of wistful recognition. I, for one, devoured this book.”—Montreal Gazette "It's a meditation on life, art, family, fate, and how even the most broken people can help fix one another . . . This book will tear through you like a hurricane, leaving you in ruined awe."—Huffington Post "Ingeniously told from the alternating perspectives of its spunky twin protagonists, this (technically) young adult noel jubilantly holds its own against the fall's grown-up offerings, with dead-on insights about surviving youth—and family."—O, the Oprah Magazine "You'd think that we were plugging The Fault in Our Stars, but even that comparison might sell short I'll Give You the Sun... [It's] planted firmly in the positive, making for a gravity-defying, life-affirming experience."—San Francisco Magazine "[Nelson] has an electrifying facility with description, especially how her characters feel at a given moment . . . [Jude], Noah, and the fine cast of subsidiary characters . . . are most memorable for how they poignantly illustrate the most basic of human emotions—love, grief, shame, remorse, joy."—Chicago Tribune “One of Fall’s most anticipated YA books . . . it’s filled with complex and controversial themes that are relatable to anyone who has struggled with identity, sexuality, family ties and other struggles of growing up.”—Mashable.com "Will pluck at your heartstrings."—People "A wild, beautiful, and profoundly moving novel. Jandy Nelson’s writing is so electric, so alive, her pages practically glow in the dark." —Ransom Riggs, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City "Jandy Nelson is a rare, explosive talent, and one of the best writers working today. Her prose is vivid, breathtaking, and drenched in passion, and her stories remind me why words can change the world." —Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series  "I love this book. Jandy Nelson is my new writing hero. Read this book. She'll be your favorite author as well." —Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s "Jandy Nelson’s writing is poetic and mesmerizing. More importantly, Nelson weaves a novel that seeps into your bones like fire on a cold day . . . I’ll Give You the Sun is a novel that promises a story like nothing else and then delivers it.” —Garret Freymann-Weyr, author of Printz Honor book, My Heartbeat "This is a stunning, artfully woven story. My heart burst open at the blazing, unforgettable end. Magnificent." —Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone "An extraordinary book! I've never read anything like it. Lyrical-unique-passionate-magical-tragic-hopeful—Nelson's characters will fly off the page and into your heart." —Nancy Garden, author of Annie on my Mind  Praise for The Sky is Everywhere: "Nelson's first novel is tender, romantic, and loaded with passion."—The Horn Book "The author brilliantly navigates Lennie's course between despair and hope, sorrow and humor... a gripping love triangle."—Shelf Awareness "In this amazing tale of love and loss, Nelson introduces a cast of characters who make the reader laugh and cry."—NPR's The Roundtable "Nearly everyone who's staggering through life in the wake of a loved one's death will recognize themselves in this brilliant, piercing story."—The Denver Post * "This is distinguished by the dreamy California setting and poetic images that will draw readers into Lennie's world..."—Publishers Weekly, starred review "A joy to read. You'll remember [it] long after you've turned the last page."—The Romantic Times * "It's romantic without being gooey and tear-jerking without being campy—what more could a reader want?"—BCCB, starred review * "This is a passionate, vulnerable, wonderfully complete and irresistible book."—VOYA, starred review "[Nelson] writes with abandon... it's a headlong kind of book, preferably devoured at a single setting."—Los Angeles Times "Brimming with humor and life, full of music and the poems Lennie drops all over town, The Sky is Everywhere explores betrayal and forgiveness through a vibrant cast of characters."—SLJ "Those who think young adult books can't be as literary, rich, and mature as their adult counterparts will be disabused of that notion after reading The Sky is Everywhere... A finely-drawn portrait of grief and first love."—The Daily Beast "A story of love, loss, and healing that will resonate with readers long after they've finished reading."—Booklist "A story about love and loss... both heartfelt and literary."—Kirkus Reviews "Sky is both a profound meditation on loss and grieving and an exhilarating and very sexy romance. The book deserves multiple readings simply to savor Nelson's luscious language..."—NPR (chosen by Gayle Forman as one of the top five teen reads of 2010) "How grief and love run side by side is sensitively and intensely explored in this energetic, poetic, and warm-blooded novel."—The Guardian "An addictive, romantic, heartbreaking, and wise tale of one girl's epic loss—and equally epic self-discovery. Seriously, stop reading this blurb; start reading this book!"—Gayle Forman, author of the New York Times Bestseller If I Stay "Wow. I sobbed my eyes out and then laughed through the tears. I have not fallen in love with a story and its characters like this in a long time. Stunning, heartbreaking, hilarious. A story that shakes the earth."—An Na, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award and National Book Award Finalist "Okay, I admit it. I have a huge crush on this book—it's beautiful, brilliant, passionate, funny, sexy, and deep. Come to think of it, I might even want to marry this book."—Sonya Sones, author of What My Mother Doesn't Know "Full of heart, quirky charm, and beautiful writing, The Sky Is Everywhere simply shines."—Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist and author of The Secret Life of Prince Charming "Jandy Nelson's story of grief somehow manages to be an enchantment, a celebration, a romance—without forsaking the rock-hard truths of loss."—Sara Zarr, National Book Award Finalist and author of Story of a Girl and Sweethearts "The Sky Is Everywhere evokes the intensity of desire and agony of heartache with breathtaking clarity. This beautifully written story will leave an indelible impression upon your soul."—Susane Colasanti, author of When It Happens A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Title A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee A Junior Library Guild Selection Translated into seventeen different languages