Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

Title: I'll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson (@JandyNelson)
Published: September 16th, 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st person, dual
Print Length: 371 pages
Audio Length: 12 hours, 57 Minutes
Publisher: Dial Books
Format: Audiobook | Print
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Treasure Vault

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.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

I remember falling head over heels in love with Jandy Nelson's debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere when it first published five years ago. So, I had high hopes for her newest release, I'll Give You the Sun. But once all of the glowing reviews started pouring in, I became a little nervous, since too much hype can set the bar too high and ultimately ruin a good story. So, I continued to set this story aside, again and again. However, once I got the audio version, I decided to dive right in and hope this story had been worth the wait. 

And what a novel to dive into - I'll Give You the Sun is an emotionally explosive story that cannonballs straight into your heart. Alternating between a younger Noah (ages 13 and 14) and a 16-year-old Jude, the twins share secrets of their past and present with the reader, and slowly untangle the mystery surrounding their peculiar lives. Between Jude's superstitious nature (and tendency to see her dead grandmother) and Noah's peculiar and artistic view of the world, these characters manage to be both realistically human and utterly effervescent. Nelson outdid herself with this story, these characters, and her vivid writing style. A truly magnificent novel, I'll Give You the Sun is a book you do not want to miss. 

Highlights: Not only were Jude and Noah wonderfully developed, but the side characters were equally fleshed out too. Some were quirky, some were normal, but all seemed like real people with real attributes and flaws. Nelson ties the two narratives, past and present, together expertly. But it's her writing style that brings this story to life - the descriptions are full of life, practically bursting off the pages. I could highlight lines all day when it comes to this story. Both romances are wonderfully written, and the tension between characters is so electric and alive. The topics involved vary from issues with sexuality to dealing with the wrongs of the past. All in all, I have no complaints when it comes to this novel. Truly incredible, I could praise I'll Give You the Sun all day and never quite describe how outstanding this story is. 

Lowlights: I waited WAY too long to finally to check this out. Definitely a lowlight1.

Audiobook: Julia Whelan and Jesse Berstein are, in a single word, phenomenal narrators. I cannot even choose which was better - they were both excellent, expertly bringing the story to life with every single word. They made me forget I listening to an audiobook and become completely swept away by Jude and Noah's story. They both pulled off the various characters with ease, and their voices were well-suited to such a colorful, flowing style of writing. 

Rating: The Treasure Vault: 5+ out of 5, Favorite. I'll Give You the Sun  is a marvelous story that has quickly become a favorite story worthy of treasuring. Vivid, evocative, mysterious, humorous, and heartbreaking, this novel will tug at your emotions and leave you with the desire to start rereading it all over again. I'd highly recommend this novel, and especially the audiobook version, since Jesse Berstein and Julia Whelan add a little extra spark to an already lively story.

1 *shakes head at self in disappointment* I should have read it sooner! Can't believe I waited so long.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Queen's Library (47): ALA Edition


ALA Recap + Books



I was able to drop by San Francisco yesterday for a few hours in order to attend ALA, and it was amazing. I've never been in that part of the city before, so it was insane to see all of the huge buildings up close, and Moscone Center was quite remarkable as well (especially the Illuminae staircase)!

I met so many amazing bookish people and people were incredibly nice (except for one random guy, who almost knocked me over in a nearly empty aisle - he apparently had places to be). I'm definitely hoping I'll be able to attend ALA again in the future (or maybe BEA), because it was such fun to be able to fangirl with a bunch of people over books. I got to meet Rae Carson (and be totally awkward around her while she was autographing my ARC. *sighs*) and have so many wonderful bookish discussions. 

I picked up some books while I was there - although my father ended up getting a majority of them, because he is apparently a magnet for books / tote-bags. I think I picked up only 9 books, and then he showed up with a bunch of books + bags. For a non-reader, he was surprisingly in his element! 


Books for Review 


I also received a few great books for review last week!

From HarperCollins

From Macmillan
Six of Crows (!!!!) + swag

And that's it for me! Many thanks to the various publishers / representatives for everything.

I'll be hosting a few fun giveaways VERY soon, so check back in for that! 

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend,

-L



This feature is inspired by Pop Culture Junkie's This Week In Books / The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. The Queen's Library is a way for me to feature books that I add to my bookshelves and a place to post my weekly recommendations. This is not a new meme, but merely an adjusted feature that is better suited to my blog and needs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (164): TAKE THE FALL


WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

TAKE THE FALL by Emily Hainsworth
Balzer+Bray, February 16th, 2016

WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?

Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?

At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?

There's nothing I love more than a good mystery, and this one sounds like it could be an excellent one to read! *waits impatiently for 2016* 

What are you waiting on?