Mini-reviews: Books Everyone Raved About

I'll Give You the SunI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books

Thirteen-year-old twins Jude and Noah are best friends and couldn’t be closer. Jude is a free spirit who is always up for an adventure, while her brother Noah is more quiet and artistic, but their differences only serve to draw them closer. Three years later, at sixteen, the two are barely speaking after an earth-shattering event changed everything. Told in alternating perspectives and time periods, Noah and Jude reveal to the reader and themselves how and why this occurred, and how they find their way back to each other.

I really loved this book! There is SO much to talk about here, but I’ll be brief because my best recommendation is just – please read this! There are many relationships explored within the book – between the twins, between each one and each parent individually, between each one and their love interests – and the way Nelson is able to get at the heart and emotion of each of these individual relationships is fantastic. There is some pretty serious trauma, too – I won’t give anything away but Noah and Jude have difficult things happen to them throughout the book – but it was not heavy-handed. It just felt real – I felt the emotions of these characters so deeply, by the end of the book I felt like I knew them, like I had experienced these events with them. Also, I’m really not into art but the way that Nelson used art as a centerpiece of the novel was SO well done. I loved this book to pieces, please read it.

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You by Jojo Moyes
Published by Penguin

Louisa Clark is attempting to recover from the death of her beloved, Will Traynor, but isn’t having much success. After a traumatic accident forces her to move back home, she feels like she’s right back where she started – still not recovering at all from Will’s death. She meets and begins falling for a paramedic, Sam Fielding, and at the same time is approached by someone from Will’s past who really needs her help. These new people in her life start giving her the push she needs to truly grieve for Will in a way that may actually begin the healing process.

Like most people, I fell in love with Louisa and Will’s love story and their characters in Moyes’ Me Before You, so of course I was thrilled to learn that she wrote a sequel. I definitely liked the book but can’t say that I loved it as much as the first. I did feel like Louisa kind of went back to the person she was before she met Will – someone passive, who couldn’t own her life or make decisions of any kind, someone who just let things happen to her instead of creating what she wanted in her own life. It was disappointing but also realistic in a way because she just couldn’t get her bearings after he died. I did enjoy the added aspect of the person from Will’s past (I won’t spoil it if you haven’t heard yet who this person is) but it also felt a tiny bit contrived to me – like Moyes had to throw this person in so the book would have some substance to it. Honestly I think because I expect SO much of Moyes, and was so looking forward to this book, it was a bit of a disappointment. That being said, I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by Moyes and I can definitely see what’s to love about After You. Just don’t expect it to be this perfect, incredible continuation of Me Before You and you’ll probably have a great reading experience.



5 thoughts on “Mini-reviews: Books Everyone Raved About”

  1. I’ll Give You the Sun was one of my top ten books for last year. Loved loved loved! I then read her previous book which was also great although not as good as this one. If I had read them in order, I probably would have gone crazy over the first book too! :–) Also totally agree on every aspect of your review of After You. :–)

  2. I really liked I’ll Give You the Sun. I love to read about siblings who have grown apart and have to find their way back to each other. I need to read The Sky Is Everywhere too! If I recall correctly, Ana says it is wonderful in the same ways as IGYtS, even if maybe not quite so much.

  3. I read After You before Me Before You and I think I enjoyed After You less after I did get to Me Before You. I agree that the story felt a bit contrived and I also thought it felt a little trite compared to Me Before You. I know Louisa was grieving and that grief is a big issue, but the author just didn’t make me feel for her enough for it to feel serious.

  4. I think if we’d read After You first, then we’d have enjoyed it more. But as a sequel, it just can’t measure up. I felt the same way about the person from Will’s past; but I also had a hard time with the grief group. Still it’s Moyes, so there’s a lot to like about it.

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