Review From User :
Has anyone ever finished a book and just sat there for a while like, "what did this author just do to me"
Finishing this book was the most surreal emotion. It was like being stranded in the middle of a hazy daydream, laughing, sun-soaked and shivering, with flowers blooming in your heart. I had this sudden outburst of motivation to bake something, or go for a walk, or make a fragile human connection with some stranger in the vast and unfeeling infinity of this universe. I was in love, not with a person but just in love. I was literally walking around my place, thinking about this book and feeling like I was in this bubble by myself, like I was so deeply inside my mind I was actually out of touch with reality!
Look, I don't know who made me such a cheesy person and also such a romantic person and such a soft mess so full of feelings but I want a huge metal box to slam down on them and a padlock around the box and then the box falling to the bottom of the sea thank you very much.
what is this book about
I had a very faint idea of what this book was about prior to reading it and I am almost loathe to reveal too much about it. But I will say this: this book is essentially about art and people and people being art, their experiences a soft canvas of creases and bumps and hard knocks, each telling its own story, and their melancholy stained thoughts the equivalent of constellation-filled skies.
It's about Jude & Noah (twin siblings) whose lives have been drastically altered over the span of three years and the book alternates between their point of views: Noah at age 13 and Jude at 16, a reflection of the resounding cleaving of before and after.
There was something so incredibly authentic about this book. It was a million galaxies of emotions and introspections. The writing was very Sufjan Stevens... very poetry-and-melancholy-thoughts very cotton-candy-and-waterfalls-of-tears... very petals-falling-from-rose-bushes. And it all manifested in how deeply flawed and undeniably human the characters were.
I did not always like them and oftentimes I struggled to even understand them. But that's just how you know they've been humanized, in the way they were so fully fleshed-out and multidimensional.
Noah & Jude were soft people with hearts like the seas, tides of volatile emotions, swimming through earthly life and unable to land. They see beauty in all ordinary things and whatever they decide to invest their time and love into always grows the size of Atlas. Their minds were a pandora crafted specifically for them, brimming with raw potential and overflowing with everything that blooms inside of them, doom and sorrow and so much art.
"What is bad for the heart is good for art."
Yes, they sometimes let their jealous rampages govern them. Sometimes, they just do not listen well enough, they get enraged and jealous and spit their grief and inward disdain at the world and at each other. Sometimes, no matter how many times they tried to bury the ugliness inside, it didn't keep it from coming back alive, and it always showed in the way they took joy in pressing on parts of each other that are already bruised and sore from insecurities and self-doubt, like pouring saltwater into already gaping wounds.
"A broken heart is an open heart."
They sometimes feel so small despite having so much courage, fire, energy, for many things. They both feel things so deeply and get so hurt, so wounded by small things. And oftentimes, they succumb to their constant hesitance to trust others and each other for fear that if they let them in, they'll see all the imperfections they often see in their reflection.
And all of it spoke so deeply to me because I've seen so many slivers of myself in their feelings and actions and it wasn't always pretty or easy. But to be fair, very little of this book was pretty or easy.
"I'm sick of being a coward. I'm sick of being on pause, of being buried and hidden, of being petrified, in both senses of the word."
The main takeaway from this book, I believe, is that your life is going to be many periods of sadness and you can't expect happiness to just jump into it overnight. You can't cling onto the idea that once you achieve this or that, you're going to unlock the secret to happiness. Happiness has never been a fixed point in one's life but is a multifaceted and elusive state. Happiness grows back slowly, it tiptoes so quietly towards you until eventually it's walking by your side. You'll survive. You might be confused, a distorted version of the person you used to be, all screwed up, but you will survive. Small victories count as victories.
"I don't want to imagine meadows, I want to run through them."
And also, you are under no obligation to be the same person you were a year, a month, or even half an a hour ago. You have the right to change. You have the right to grow. You have the right to shed off your past selves. You are still growing and you have so much to learn. One mistake does not define your entire being and the mere fact that you recognize your flaws and push yourself to right your wrongs is outstanding.
"Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world."
Now, onto the romance!
The part of me that actively enjoys being an asshole in mario kart is aggressively side-eyeing me right now but honestly fuck what I said last week, I changed my mind I want to be in love!
I am literally all about romantic clichés. I can no longer deny my true self. Throw them all in a book! Throw all of them in my face! Cover me in romanticized idealizations!! SMOTHER ME with them! I guarantee I will be ecstatic!
There's two romantic relationships in this book: Noah & Brian who warmed the cold voids in my soul with their wholesomeness and cuteness and it makes my heart kind of sad because I can't even hug them!
"I love you," I say to him, only it comes out, "Hey."
"So damn much," he says back, only it comes out, "Dude."
And then there's Jude & Oscar who bring me to this next point: I can't believe that some people's fate in this world is dating someone who knows all their good angles and want to take pretentious pictures of them looking gorgeous and ethereal all the time just for the sake of the aesthetics. Furthermore I can't believe I'm not in that squad! (everyone I know just literally wants A level pictures of themselves taken while they're snapping pictures of me mid-sneeze and I want it documented somewhere that I deserve better!)
Both relationships were heavily centered around the concept of soulmates which is um, dubious at best. I mean, how lucky do two people really have to be for them to fall in love with each other at exactly the right time in exactly the right way But truly, I think in this book, it was more about the beauty and comfiness of two people who wholeheartedly understand each other, surpassing all points of recognition and oppeness and harboring so much tenderness towards each other....... and hoo boy, what is this strange sensation I think I'm smiling.......*pulls myself closer in the backseat of my rover*
"We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story."
Overall, this book was an unexpected sweet treat from the universe and I truly adored it!
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
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.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing – often all at once.