Started: November 1
Finished: November 7
Genre/*Category: Fiction/Award Winner
Awards: Winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award; Winner of a 2015 Stonewall Honor; A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2014; A TIME Top Ten Young Adult Book of 2014; A Boston Globe Best Young Adult Novel of 2014; A Huffington Post Top 12 Young Adult Book of 2014; A 2014 Cybil Award Finalist; A 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Book; A 2015 Topo Ten Rainbow List Selection; A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014; A School Library Journal Best Book of 2014; A 2014 Booklist Edtior’s Choice Book; A Bustle.com Top 25 Young Adult Novel of 2014
Themes: Family struggles, Coming of Age, Self-Actualization, Grief, Sexuality
Rating: 5 Stars
Age/Interest Range: High school, And I believe this book could translate well to Adult Fiction
I read a lot and like most people, I have limited time. So when I take the time to RE-READ lines/pages/chapters… This means this book is undeniable awesome.
I have never read anything by Jandy Nelson before, but before I even start this review, I want you to know I’ll be impatiently waiting for her next book!
So why am I gushing? Nelson’s writing is good enough to eat! You want to savor her words. You want to wrap her words up and offer them as gifts to others. You want to follow people around, with this book in your hands, reading passages out loud, and then wait for them to respond the same way you are: Mouth open, eyes wide, satisfyingly blown away!
I’m not kidding. It’s that good.
Jude and Noah are twins. (BTW, Jude is a girl. Noah a boy, obviously). They have an uber artful mother and a disease studying father. Their sibling rivalry is extreme and a story center point. Told in a non-linear fashion, over a three year span, the two siblings narrate every other chapter.
The twins are as much the same as they are different in their attempt to survive being a teen. (Their constant on-going negotiation over who has the sun, the moon, the stars, all the flowers, etc., is where Nelson gets her title.) Mostly, both are in constant battle over their mom’s and dad’s love and acceptance.
Jude and Mom both communicate with dead Grandma. In the first chapter, Dead Grandma tells Mom that she must enroll the twin at the local High School for Arts for 9th grade. Dad does not think this is a good idea…
In addition to conversing with dead Grandma, Jude is obsessed with Grandma’s bible of superstitions. Mom and Jude having been going head to head because Mom sees Jude turning into “that girl,” as 13 year old Jude is discovering boys, make-up, short skirts…
Noah is an amazing artist who draws in his head constantly. At 13, he’s an odd ball outsider struggling with puberty and sexuality. Sports-loving Dad wants Noah to be something he isn’t…
One day a few terrible events happen within the same few hours. And instead of pulling in close to support one another, Jude and Noah grieve separately and become completely un-involved with one another. Over the course of the next 3 years the two become the complete opposite of what they once were. But why?
It appears nothing is what it once was…
This story is about how family can break you down, only to be the very same thing that lifts you higher than you could ever reach on your own. Nelson’s colorful and hilarious imagery, along with her almost supernatural lyrical prose, makes this a page turner!
Overall Literary Merit: VERY HIGH
Classroom possibilities: Definitely needs to be on high school library and classroom library shelves. So many great passages in this tale could be inspirational for writing invitations and mentor text. Due to it’s award-winning status, there are quite a few lesson plans available online. Here’s one I found to have great potential: http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?aid=12061&a=1&a2=1