Twins Noah and Jude were best friends until competitive relationships and sibling rivalry tore them apart. Now, at age sixteen, they barely interact. When long-buried family secrets start coming out, the twins realize how much they need each other.
This book has some of the best characters I’ve read in a long time. They are all so distinct and well-developed. I really felt like I knew them. They have such big personalities. Noah is my favorite. He’s sweet and introverted and very easy to relate to. The writing style does an amazing job of conveying the characters’ personalities. Noah and Jude are both artists, and they have an artistic way of looking at the world. The writing style is a bit abstract and very interesting to read.
My favorite part of the book is the rivalry between the siblings. Anyone who has a sibling can relate to the insecurity of not knowing if you are as talented or as loved as your sibling. Noah and Jude’s relationship is realistic. They love each other, but they are also highly competitive. They both want to get accepted to the same art school, and they are both interested in the same boy. Jude and Noah love each other, but they can be viciously competitive. The rivalry leads the twins to radically change their personalities instead of being true to themselves.
I also really like the structure of this book. Noah narrates the parts of the story that happen when the twins are 13, and Jude narrates the parts that happen when they are 16. Their relationship changes so much in 3 years that the structure creates a lot of suspense. I needed to keep reading because I wanted to know how their relationship fell apart.
I did have a few issues with the book. I found Noah’s chapters much more interesting than Jude’s. Noah’s chapters seem faster-paced and have more going on. I think Jude’s chapters lag a little. She spends a lot of time talking to herself and her dead relatives and doesn’t seem to do very much. I know that this behavior is true to her character, but I was always eager to get back to Noah’s chapters.
I’m also not the biggest fan of Jude’s love interest, Oscar. He doesn’t feel as realistic to me as the other characters. He’s a stereotypical hot teenage guy. He’s a model with a sexy accent, a motorcycle, and a tragic past that only Jude can truly understand. It’s all too over-the-top for me.
Those are fairly minor criticisms. I enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading Jandy Nelson’s other young adult novel.