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.
“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.”
I read this book a while ago and I’m ashamed I didn’t read it sooner. It’s easily the most beautiful contemporary novel I have read in a while, second only to A Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
This was actually my second attempt to read it, the first time I put it down because I didn’t think I would like Nelson’s writing style. I was horribly wrong. I loved the way Nelson writes her characters. And her imagery is going to be one of those things where you either love it or hate it. For me, it was the former.
Let’s start with the format. The book alternates between the past and the present which is something I thought would bother me at first, but I ended up loving it.The chapters from Noah’s point of view are in the past while Jude’s chapters are in the present.
Both twins’ stories are compelling. At thirteen years old, Noah wants three things: his mother’s attention, a spot at a very prestigious art institute, and the boy next door. Noah is the odd one out; while his sister is cliff diving and dating, he is drawing and painting. But the twins are best friends, no one understands Noah better than Jude does and vice versa.
“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”
Then at sixteen years old, Jude is completely different from the girl we see in Noah’s chapters. Jude is now the odd one out, she is superstitious and a little deluded. The twins are barely speaking to each other. And Jude is the one attending the art institute. After reading the first two chapters and witnessing this horrible shift in their relationship, I had to find out what happens.
These two have made a lot of mistakes. Normally, when a book character does something stupid, I hate them. But the way their every decision was described was very realistic and understandable. Noah and Jude are clearly flawed but that only made me love them more.
“When people fall in love, they burst into flames.”
This was more a story of family than romance but I really enjoyed the romantic aspects too. Noah’s relationship with Brian was one of the best parts of the book (this was also one of the only YA books I’ve read with a LGBTQ+ main character). And though I didn’t like Jude’s love story as much, I thought it was done wonderfully.
This is a great story of family and love and loss. Read it!