There are some books you read to find out what happens, does the MC survive, escape, get the love of his. It’s thrilling, page-turning, keep you up at night. And there are some books which immerse you in character and place where the plot is slow going or more hum-drum.
Then there is the 2014 Printz Winner, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. Never before have I read a book that has engaged me at every level – character, plot, writing, and especially the space between what is said and unsaid. Borrowing Ms. Nelson’s words this book affects me “like a wave crashing over … completely submersed.” Of course in this case it’s a good thing. While the larger story arc of what happened between Jude and Noah moves the plot along. I read/listened to this book for the little things – Noah’s mind painting, Jude’s anecdotes, the lyrical language, turns of phrases, little surprises. In picture book writing we are told to make every word count, that is what Ms. Nelson did in this novel. This is not a to speed-read through to find out what happens, but to live and experience each breath, each moment with her unique, quirky, soulful characters. It is a journey, and a fantastical one at that.
I have found my new long-term career writing goal, which is to write a novel that is as engulfing and rich as this one. Thank you Ms. Nelson for the inspiration of what a story can be.
If you’ve already read the book, what were some of your favorite parts?