Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

I’ll Give You the Sun

Nelson, Jandy (Author)
Penguin Random House 2015. 380 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9780142425763 (paperback)
9780803734968 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, figurative language, language conventions, point of view

Awards

Cybil Award – Finalist – 2014
Michael L. Printz Award – 2015
Stonewall Honor Book – 2015

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Effervescent and virtuosic play with language makes this novel a delight to read. Eccentric characters inhabit the world of artists in California. Mom’s a writer. Young Noah is a gifted painter, with a near-hallucinogenic narration style: “All the students have glowing blood. All revolutionaries. A room of Bubbles. There’s not an asshat or surftard or hornet among them.” Jude’s wit and keen perception are equally compelling: “You can say no, he said … I kept thinking, It’s okay, I can handle this … I didn’t know you could get buried in your own silence.”

The topic of sexuality is rendered with passion, nuance and variety. Rich characters include the sexually ambiguous Brian; Oscar, the promiscuous college student, and the recovering addict who holds a nerve-wracking fascination for Jude. Guillermo Garcia, renowned sculptor and Jude’s teacher, is half-mad with grief for his lost love.

Told at the beginning and end of a three-year period, the twins’ interlocking tales release their secrets with skill and clarity, for a finish that brings all these hurtling characters into coherent orbit, together. Their own relationship in tatters, the twins change roles over the years—Jude is now artistic, and Noah has reinvented himself as a jock. Across time and the twins’ perspectives, secrets are revealed and the family can finally heal.

  •  

    Several conventions build the narrative and construct the characters: alternating chapters allow characters to develop their own voice and a before and after story structure plays with time, highlighting critical events in the lives of the twins.

  •  

    Discuss how the twins are characterized through the before and after narrative structure and/or through the use of alternating narrators.

  •  

    Do a quickwrite using one of the quotations featured in the prologue, such as E. E. Cummings’ “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Explore the connections between the quotation and the novel’s big idea(s).

  •  Does the author’s choice of title, use of a pull-quote, and decision to use zero illustrations on the cover, affect how it hooks you into the book? Why or why not? Do a think-pair-share.
  •  

    After reading a chapter about each of the twins, do a quickwrite on what you have learned about them. Don’t stop at the surface; dig beneath the colourful language and dare to write what you think you know.

  •  

    Write a short essay on one of the quotations featured in the prologue, such as E. E. Cummings’ “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Explore the connections between the quotation and the novel’s big idea(s).

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development
  • Visual Arts
  • Belhzar (M. Wolitzer) (Topic)