I’ll Give You the Sun

by

Jandy Nelson

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Themes and Colors
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in I’ll Give You the Sun, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Identity and Codependency

The emotional core of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is the intimate but paralyzing bond between Noah and Jude Sweetwine, thirteen-year-old fraternal twins coming of age in the Northern California town of Lost Cove. When readers first meet Noah and Jude, the twins are extremely codependent. They can sense each other’s emotions, they play strange theoretical thought games (including one in which they divvy up parts of the world such as the…

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Art, Self-Expression, and Communication

Noah and Jude, the twin protagonists of the novel, are both artists. Throughout the book, Nelson shows how the siblings’ respective relationships to their art grows and changes alongside their relationships with themselves and one another. Noah at thirteen years old is the proprietor of his own “invisible museum”—he can hardly restrain himself from painting and drawing either on paper or in his mind everything and everyone he sees. Jude, meanwhile, is…

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Grief and Guilt

Though the novel starts off on an optimistic, even playful note, by the second chapter—set three years in the future—the book’s atmosphere has been permeated by an awful sense of grief and guilt. Dianna Sweetwine, Noah and Jude’s mother, has died in a horrible car accident—and both Noah and Jude, for reasons that will slowly be revealed over the course of the novel, feel responsible not just for her death but also for the…

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Magic and the Supernatural

Nelson’s electrifying language and her protagonists’ shared preoccupation with the supernatural elevates the main story of I’ll Give You the Sun into an almost mythic level. Jude and Noah believe that their mother, Dianna, is a “blow-in” from another world or another planet, and their desperate love for her is reflected in how they see her as a supernatural being, even after her death. Meanwhile, their deceased Grandma Sweetwine may or may not pay…

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Love, Sex, and Fear

In I’ll Give You the Sun, feelings of love and sexual longing crop up on almost every page. As Jude and Noah come of age, they wrestle with feelings of embarrassment related to their newly minted sexualities. The adults, too, wrestle with conflicting desires and painful romances: in Noah’s timeline, Dianna’s relationship with Noah and Jude’s dad Benjamin dissolves, while in Jude’s timeline, her sculpture mentor Guillermo Garcia mourns the failure of a recent…

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