content by

Shari Becker

Voice and Ecstatic Moments in Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun

What makes a book memorable? If you ask ten people, you may get ten different answers. Personally, I don’t really fall in love with places or descriptions. I didn’t even fall in love with plots. I fall in love with characters—with their insights and angst, their unique way of seeing the world, all of the elements that make up a character’s Voice. When I’m enamored with characters’ Voices, I’ll follow them blindly wherever they go.

For me, no book captures Voice better than Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun. This contemporary young adult novel is the story of artist twins (a brother, Noah and a sister, Jude) whose relationship degrades right around the time they lose their mother in a tragic accident. The story is told in alternating points of view, and through their individual accounts of events, we begin to put together the pieces of how their relationship unraveled. In the hands of any other writer, this story might have been mundane. The plot itself is not particularly unique, and at times, the novel was a little predictable.

[But what Nelson does with Voice blows my mind.]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

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