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Book of the Month: I’ll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Recommended grades 10+ (some mature themes)

Highlighted by Time Magazine as a top YA book of 2021, winner of the Printz Award, and a 2015 Stonewall Honor Book, I’ll Give You the Sun is a YA novel that continues to impact its readers with his themes of coming-of-age, self-perception, grief, and family conflict. This novel covers a lot, but Jandy Nelson’s writing paints realistically imperfect characters who narrate the journey and engage the reader.

I’ll Give You The Sun tells the story of twins, Jude and Noah. Once inseparable at the age of 13, by age 16, a series of events have altered their lives and sibling relationship seemingly forever. Readers get a look into both of these characters’ perspectives as the book shifts point of view from Noah’s telling of the early years and Jude’s telling of the later years. Though each character only gets to tell half of their story, the reader is given unique insight into two complex internal worlds from which to piece the narrative together.

Praise for this novel has been high, not only from critics and awards, but from the general public. Perhaps this is because of its effect on readers who naturally empathize with the characters, laughing and crying as the plot progresses. This book is recommended for high school students who are ready to tackle more mature themes in their reading materials. By reading both sides of the same story, young readers will walk away from this novel with a deeper understanding of personal response to hardship and conflicts that require maturity to address.  

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