Author: Jandy Nelson
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
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. (Goodreads summary.)
This book has been so hard for me to review, I read it almost three weeks ago and haven't been able to review it since. It's a book that left me quite confused about how I felt about it. I found it very tough to get into, struggled with it at times and couldn't really connect to the characters. But I did enjoy it overall, I just wasn't in love with it. The book itself confused me, the story, the characters and just everything. It makes writing a review really difficult to me, which is probably why it's so short.
The writing in this was a lot to get used to, so were the characters. I had read Jandy Nelson's debut The Sky is Everywhere back when it first came out, and I loved it. I definitely recognised Nelson's unique writing style and I did enjoy it, but it was harder to deal with in this. I have a feeling the actual book may contain pictures or drawings, but the eARC doesn't have them. I just get that impression, that might actually add a lot more to the story - like the pictures did in The Sky is Everywhere.
I found the book very hard to get into at first, I struggled a lot. We follow Jude and Noah, but at different times in their lives. We follow Noah as he comes to terms with his own sexuality and as he struggles to get into a prestigious art school. His father has always preferred Jude and has never seemed happy with Noah, but Noah feels like he might be his mother's favourite. Art school is his mother's suggestion but now it's all that Noah can think about. He and Jude are twins and have always been close, but lately he has seen a change in her as she surfs and hangs out with different people.
We follow Jude three years later, where her and Noah are no longer close, where she has changed a lot and has shut herself off a lot. She's cut all her hair off, wears guys clothes, talks to the ghost of her dead grandmother and follows her grandmother's bible. Anything she makes at art school seems to break and she's so sure it's her mother punishing her for everything she has done. We follow Jude as she hunts down the reclusive artist Guillermo Garcia and convinces him to help her sculpt her next piece.
My biggest struggle was the character of Jude, she was just very strange. She follows a bible, but it's one that was written by her grandmother. It contains weird advice like: 'Soak a mirror in vinegar to deflect unwanted attention' and 'To change the leaning of the heart, wear a wasp nest on the head.' June does a lot of these things, like carries weird objects in her pockets and placing them on other people. It was all just really odd, I did not get it at all.
This is a book that you may struggle to get into, the writing style does take a while to get used to. But it was around the 50% mark that the story really started to pick up. That was when I began to struggle to put it down and couldn't pull myself away from the story. It involves a really slow starting romance that I was totally behind the whole time. There's the added bonus of a second romance that's a bit more complex and complicated and that broke my heart a little as it progressed, I had to know how that one would turn out. This has twists and turns to the story, it takes a while to get into but once you're in, you're in.
I feel like the physical copy of this book may come with drawings/photos that connect with Noah's. That will probably add a lot to the story. I honestly struggled a lot with this book, it just didn't completely work for me for a number of reasons. It did take me half the book to get into it, and that's when the story picked up for me and I really began to enjoy it. I found Jude's character hard to understand and connect to at times, mainly because she's so different and unlike any character I have come across before. If I was to describe this book in one word then it would definitely be weird. It has a character who talks to ghosts and carries onions in her pockets and follows a very strange bible. It's an interesting book with romance, heartbreak and so much more.
*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.