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 is probably the first realistic fiction book I’ve willingly read in a gazillion years and only because my dear friend forced it into my hands complete with flowers between the pages and random highlights throughout and I am an aesthetics lover if nothing else. And…… I LOVED IT
It started a bit slow and I was only halfway engaged because c’mon it’s realistic fiction and I found it casually amusing. I mean, it began with perfect children with troubled lives and honestly what could be a more cliché RF story than that? But I was pleasantly surprised.
The book flip flops between Noah and Jude’s perspectives at different points in their lives and so at first it’s Noah talking when they’re younger and Noah’s full of passion for art. His life is swell even if he’s a bit of a loner: he draws beautifully, he’s his mother’s preferred kid, Jude’s a wonderful sister and friend to him and he’s just met Brian, his soon to be, best friend. You really understand how important each of these things are to him because so many other things in his life don’t go as well. He’s happy. Jude’s happy and popular. Then BAM, Jude comes in, her first entry, a few years later, and everything’s gone absolutely wrong. Noah doesn’t draw anymore, their mom is dead, Jude doesn’t have any friends and never talks to Noah anymore and Brian’s gone. And that just made me sit up. I had to reread that chapter maybe five times before it sank in. It took me awhile because I couldn’t understand why everything was so terrible now. And pretty much from then on, I was undoubtedly hooked.
Noah’s so sad and broody and you realize early on that he’s got all the information to why their lives are so broken apart. The entire time I was just so upset that he just refuses to draw because art as told by Noah sounds so beautiful and miraculous and makes you wish that you could view the world through his eyes. He imbues each of his artworks with so much emotion and his personality that it seems like art is such an integral part of him, as much as an arm or leg or Jude is. He’s a shell of his former self in the later years and he doesn’t really deviate from it much because Jude narrates all of their later years. But the contrast between their younger years and their later years is stark.
Jude, on the other hand, once popular and surrounded by friends, now is the only artist in their family and she hates it. She can’t get her art right and she can’t reach Noah at all. The closeness they once had is gone and Jude broods on it constantly. But while at this point, Noah’s main story arc is done with and he’s simply sitting on a mountain of secrets, Jude is going through hers as she tries to perfect her art. And as she does, some of the loose story lines from Noah’s tale slowly connects.
It’s actually so amazing how everything is all connected. At first you’re deceived into thinking that the later years is just Jude and Noah moving on from the death of their mother and coping with their new lives but instead, the two are so intricately linked I’m tempted to call this a literary masterpiece. Everything is so connected that it’s insane. For example, Brian breaks the twins apart from Noah’s perspective of the situation but from Jude’s side you see that it shouldn’t have and Brian is part of how Jude reconciles with Noah. Their mother also tore them apart, but because Noah kept a secret about her death. Noah had secret art escapades that he never told Jude about but which eventually draws them even closer together. It’s frustrating because the summary is exactly dead-on: they each only have half of the real story. You want them to just T A L K to each other but there’s a reason they don’t. It all falls together so neatly in the end. These two go through so much, especially when they’re older and it just messes with my head because they’re each other’s true best friends and understand each other so well but they’re NOT. COMMUNICATING.
Honestly a quarter of the way through the book and I am so ride or die about the twins. They’re like my children. Everything’s gone so incredibly wrong and they think it’s gonna stay that way but in the end, everything is fixed so fast. You want a roller coaster of a character development? Well, I got two for you right here.
I just wanted to hold Noah and tell him everything WILL be okay and that nothing was his fault at all. Not everyone’s trying to betray him and he definitely has to trust Jude. And I want him to draw, to turn the natural world into pencil rubbed lines and splotches of paint. I don’t even know what I’d want to say to Jude. Probably that it’s not solely her fault her and Noah had a falling out and they need to TALK. It’s not all her fault and even if Noah’s sad, she still deserves to try and find her own happiness. They’re both just so sad.
They were such happy kids. Noah found a wonderful friend in Brian and they had so much fun and they loved each other. Jude had incredible fun being popular and she and Noah were so close they basically thought the same things. But it took this three year strife and angst between their lives to become even better. Noah overcame his insecurities about Brian, Jude realizes how petty and shallow her friends are and really discovers her art and herself while Jude and Noah, finding out what the other had endured for so long, become even closer and it was just really freaking beautiful.