Jandy Nelson’s award-winning sophomore novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, is renowned in the LGBT+ and art community. The brilliant story is told from the split perspective of polar-opposite twins—a quirky painter who is bad with words and crushing on the kid next door, and a daredevil surfer dealing with the loss of their mother. Since its release, it has grown a notable following. But despite the novel’s popularity, there are currently no plans for a movie adaptation.
Its narration style is unique and explores the struggles of both a teen girl and boy. Exploring strained household relationships like divorce and siblings growing apart, the story gives us aspects of family life we can all relate to. The story is written from the perspective of Noah Sweetwine, who’s in love with painting and the boy next door, while also being told by Jude, his sister trying to fit in with her grown-up friend group. He is struggling with his hiding his sexuality as a gay thirteen year-old pressured by heterosexual norms. Its unique point of view and abstract plot provides fresh content for a teen film, which we desperately need after all these reused tropes. Nelson’s story is not your usual teen romance.
Her story portrays the innocence of a gay teenage crush, which is rarely shown on screen. Love, Simon was a revolutionary movie, giving us the experience of a gay teenager exiting his high school life and was an immediate success. But the movie didn’t give the experience of a preteen boy experiencing his first crush while dealing with the need to fit in among his prepubescent peers, rather it showed an adolescent among his mature friends. I’ll Give You the Sun is the representation thirteen year-old boys in love with their best friend need. It is the wholesome teen romance that gay men will relate to, recalling their youth. Boys who are figuring their sexuality out, who find themselves painting other boys, who want to kiss their best friend, they need to experience this story. There have been few book-to-screen adaptations with LGBT+ representation, most of it being targeted towards adults.
With the huge flood of book-to-screen adaptations since 2012, I’ll Give You the Sun has major potential. Adapted teen romances like Love, Simon (previously Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda) and Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before have flourished so far in 2018, Love, Simon grossing nearly 41 million dollars in the box office, proving diverse stories need to be told. I’ll Give You the Sun would be another successful adaptation, being an interesting watch, featuring a strong female and also gay protagonist.Jandy Nelson wrote a story for artists, awkward teens and twins everywhere to enjoy, and now we need to see it on the screen. Netflix, you know what to do.
You can buy the book on Amazon.
Image via Stefanie Sugia