Ex Libris Audio: I’ll Give You The Sun

Ex Libris Audio: I’ll Give You The SunI'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Penguin on September 16, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.


I’m not sure what I can say about I’ll Give You The Sun that hasn’t already been said.  It is an amazing, emotional, thought-provoking, heart-breaking, joyful story that is expertly structured and delivered.  I was skeptical about the dual voices since we only hear Jude as a 16 year old and we only hear Noah as a 13/14 year old, but as the story flows, the puzzle pieces of the plot fall into place so well that I couldn’t imagine it being done any other way.  Everyone in the book has secrets and they aren’t just your run of the mill secrets.  No, they are huge, life-eating secrets, and as I was reading, it was like watching fiber become a rug on a loom.  Each chapter built the story into this wonderful tapestry and I almost wanted to go back, knowing the full truth, and listen to it again just to appreciate how well the plot was developed.

The narration was absolutely outstanding.  Julia Whelan narrated The Sky Is Everywhere, which is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks, and she did just as well reading as Jude.  Her ability to become the characters through her vocal performance really takes you right into the book.  I particularly loved the way she read Oscar and Guillermo.  Jesse Burnstein also does an excellent job of reading as a younger Noah.  I really felt his struggles and inner conflict.  Since we only hear from each character at a certain age, communicating those different points in the timeline was very much tied to how old they were.  Jesse did a great job of making me believe I was actually hearing 13/14 year old Noah tell me his story.  The audiobook for I’ll Give You The Sun really adds something extra to this amazing story.   Jandy Nelson’s writing lends itself very well to the audio format and if you are at all inclined to try an audiobook, I’ll Give You The Sun has my very highest recommendation.




About Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere, 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 critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, received the prestigious Printz Award, Bank Street’s Josette Frank Award, and is a Stonewall Book Award honor. Jandy, a literary agent for many years, received a BA from Cornell University and MFAs in Poetry and Children’s Writing from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Currently a full-time writer, she lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of her novels.


9 responses to “Ex Libris Audio: I’ll Give You The Sun

  1. I am so glad you reviewed this audiobook — I am looking for one now, but I am so hesitant to drop the $$ when I don’t know what I’m going to get with the narrator. You should get a cut of the profit since you just made a sale! Thanks for the great review.

  2. I adored this book! I really want to re-read (or listen) on audio now too. I love Julia Whelan’s past narrations, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed her performance here too. Lovely review!

  3. This was my first Jandy Nelson and I loved it. I need to read The Sky is Everywhere soon. One of my favorite things about this book was how uniquely it was told. I agree, it just worked. I’m a big audiobook fan so I’m glad this was a great listen – i’ll probably re-read it that way!

  4. I admit that I have not read either of Jandy’s books yet. They’re not my usual kind of reads to be honest… But now I’m curious to try them on audiobook sometime. Jandy just sounds like such a talent that she can craft a book as richly as this!

  5. I enjoyed I’ll Give You the Sun! It was so gorgeously written, and I just found myself caught up in discovering how Jude and Noah’s tale would unfold. Glad you enjoyed it!

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