Author: Jandy Nelson
Info: Dial Books, copyright 2014, 371 pages
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 book was hard for me. I started it, tried really hard to read it, and gave up. Then I searched and searched for the audiobook, thinking that might be a better fit for me. Nothing. So I read a few other books, including one's I'd been drooling over forever. And then I picked it back up, and with some mad determination, powered through.
It was okay. I hated it at the beginning, but I ended it resigned. It was okay. Jude is crazy. The poor girl talks to her dead grandmother and has created a bible of wacky superstitions to make it through her day. She's overwhelmed with guilt after the loss of her mother and wants desperately to reconcile with her twin brother.
Noah is...well...I didn't like Noah. And there lies my difficulty with the book. Nelson not only alternates between characters, she also moves back and forth through time. Pre-dead mom and post-dead mom (that sounded harsh, but hopefully you get my drift.) He's terribly selfish, and in his own way, just as crazy as his sister. He's also mad talented, so I wanted to root for him, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Like the blurb above says, they are both given half the story, and part of me wishes the halves were swapped. The Noah after the loss of his mother was much different then before. He, too, is racked with guilt. It was kind of like one of those movies that you want to yell at the screen for everyone just to talk already! All of the problems could be avoided, you idiots, if you just talk!
But I understand that grief (and pride) doesn't always allow for that. So, yeah, it was okay. It's a story about loss, and confusion, and anger, and pride, and finding your way back from the edge. And it's a story about art. The beauty of art. The release of art. The importance of art. Thank goodness, for Noah and Jude, that the administration hadn't done away with the art program (or school, in this particular instance).
Jandy Nelson is a skilled writer. Like Patrick Ness and David Levithan, I just don't think her books are for me. Maybe I'm not the right audience. But I appreciate their talents and will book talk the spine off of them in my teen room.
You should read this. You might like it.