The 2015 Printz Award winner I’ll Give You the Sun is finding more and more fans in my library, and readers often connect with the story of artists, of grief, and family, or enjoy the lyrical writing and love story. Some love the dual voices and structure.
Whether they loved the style or the plot of Noah and Jude’s story, readers will find a new book to fall in love with on this list. I’ve tried to include a mix of older and sometimes overlooked titles as well as a few new releases for those who seem to have already read everything.
The Brilliant Light of the Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow
This tender romance is all about life and love and letting go and growing up. Francis and Amber meet in a cancer ward, but this isn’t just another cancer romance. It’s full of wit and humor and features a goofy, awkward family in addition to the love story.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This just might be the cutest YA romance of 2015. Simon meets another guy who is gay but not yet out on his school’s gossip tumblr, and they begin exchanging flirty emails…but will they ever meet in real life? Readers who loved Noah’s coming out and falling in love story in I’ll Give You the Sun should definitely check out this recent debut.
Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara
This atmospheric novel about overcoming grief and loss has elegant prose full of simile that will appeal to fans of Jandy Nelson. Wren isn’t the same after surviving the car accident that killed her boyfriend, and instead of heading off to college as planned, she retreats to a cabin in the woods and meets Owen, who is also hiding.
The Good Sister by Jaime Kain
This novel tells the story of three sisters in multiple perspectives: two, who are acting out and keeping secrets since their sister has died, and the third, who watches from the afterlife. The California setting, struggles with sibling relationships, and focus on grief make it an ideal read for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun.
There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos
Mark is a gifted musician attending an arts school and is struggling to deal with the loss of his twin sister, Grace. A friend convinces him to complete the bucket list from her journal to honor her memory in this bittersweet novel.
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Callie has lead a difficult life with her unstable mother, who kidnapped her as a young child. When she’s reunited with her father and large extended family, she doesn’t quite know how to fit in. This novel about a complicated family and learning to trust is beautifully written.
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
This novel contains many of the same elements as I’ll Give You the Sun. The main character is an artist and is coping with grief. Sandell also writes novels in verse, so this has the poetic quality and beautiful imagery found in Nelson’s writing.
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
How to Save a Life is also told in the alternating perspectives of Jill, who has just lost her father, and Mandy, who is giving her soon-to-be born baby up for adoption to Jill’s mom. Like I’ll Give You the Sun, it’s character driven and emotionally intense and focuses on teens overcoming their grief.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults)
Although Daughter of Smoke and Bone has fantasy elements, I think it also holds some appeal to fans of I’ll Give You the Sun. Karou, the main character of DoSaB, is also an artist, and the prose style is equally poetic and the love story equally epic.
The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan
This is a fictionalized biography of Pablo Neruda. Not only does it focus on art, albeit poetry rather than sculpture or painting, the young Neruda is similar to Noah in that he is shy and awkward and has a troubled relationship with his father. The writing is also beautiful and full of sensory details much like I’ll Give You the Sun.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
This book is perfect for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun: it has dual narration, is all about about art, has complicated family relationships, and a romance. Unlike I’ll Give You the Sun, Graffiti Moon is the story of just one night, rather than a story told in two timelines.
Very in Pieces Megan Frazer Blakemore
This upcoming September release follows Very, the girl who’s always been the responsible one in her eclectic artist family. As her grandmother’s health suffers, she struggles to hold the family together and ditches her predictable boyfriend for an artistic rebel. The thoughtful, realistic story will resonate with readers who loved Jude in I’ll Give You the Sun.
Are there other titles that you think are perfect for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson? Leave a note in the comments!
— Molly Wetta, currently reading Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
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