I'll Give You the Sun
I went into this expecting a quick and light read, and boy am I glad this is not that.
The book is about two twins, Noah and Jude. The book is written in chapters of younger Noah (starts at age 13) and older Jude (at age 16). All events lead up to their mother's untimely death and bring all of the characters together.
The first few chapters were basically what I expected, another contemporary with teenagers who happen to have crazy vocabulary. But, something this author did that no other contemporary has done for me yet is make me feel. Oh, I was a blubbering mess by the end of this book.
I honestly wasn't a fan of either main characters, but I liked that I didn't like them (if that makes sense) because they were so flawed. Jude and Noah are so competitive that it often leads them towards feelings of jealousy, and they do some MEAN things. Like, things that I would never dream of doing to my sisters.
Their mother is an Art History teacher, and loves everything about the arts, which is why she mentions that the two should go to an arts high school. Noah is ecstatic, all he wants to do is draw or paint these beautiful pictures in his mind and fit in with other 'weirdos' instead of being tortured at a regular high school. Jude wasn't very happy (mostly because she was worried Noah was better than her). It's revealed that older Jude becomes obsessed with her grandmother's 'bible' of crazy facts (like eating lemons to keep boys away from you) and can hear/see her grandma's ghost pretty often. Oh, and Noah is gay but hasn't told anyone.
I think the reason I liked this one so much was because of the dimensionality of the relationships. Every relationship is complicated: Noah and Jude, both of them and their mother, father, friends, Brian, Garcia, and Oscar. The characters all make mistakes and feel like their lives are beyond messed up, and each takes an unexpected twist to bring them all together. Overall, I think it was pieced together really well.
Thank you, Jandy Nelson, for finally making me see that contemporary can be decent.