Title: The Sun is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 01, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Dear fellow Babblers,
This book is an outpouring of tears and everything that any girl looks for in romance – affection, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, hopefulness. The Sun is Also a Star is a book on race, immigration, young love, hope, family – everything and anything that can be connected with love. Just like in Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon effortlessly brings together romance and culture by bringing together two young people from different worlds, representing love not only as a union between two people but also an understanding of dreams and differences between worlds and how these worlds affect dreams (wow, that was a riddle in an of itself!).
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
It’s Natasha’s last day in America. She and her family are being deported in a few hours back to Jamaica. ON this day Natasha sets out from the last day in her apartment in hopes of turning this day around. She wants nothing more than to stay in America and will do everything in her power to reverse her father’ mistake, the one responsible for the family’s deportation due to his recent DUI. She is hard headed and believes in science and reason over art and pretty stuff. Her faith in romance and the impossible is very slim and would rather analyze and reanalyze a situation than take it for what it is.
Daniel is the victim of his parent’s expectations, being immigrants of South Korea. His parents expects only the best of him and it’s already decided that he will attend the second best university in the country, Yale, and become a doctor. It does not matter that Daniel cringes at the site of blood and only dreams of becoming a poet, hence the journal he is known to walk around with. Unlike Natasha, Daniel believes in romance, dreams and fate.
Of course, when Daniel spots Natasha across the street on the morning of Natasha’s deportation Daniel can’t help but believe that she is “the one.” Without evening speaking, touching, knowing her name Daniel already believes that he will fall in love with Natasha on this day and she will fall in love with him. While he should be on his way to his Yale interview, Daniel changes direction and instead follows the brown girl with the big headphones into a record store. From this point on, Daniel loses control of all the reason he has and follows only his heart, leading Natasha to do the same, despite her utter stubbornness and reluctance to be swept away from a boy she doesn’t even know, especially when the future of her family lies in her own hands.
The book was stunning in and of itself but the plot could really use a bit of brushing, or un brushing up. The plot is really just Daniel following Natasha around the city on her mission. His own mission no longer is made up of satisfying his parents’ demands but of getting Natasha to fall in love with him by the end of the day. Can he do it ? Chances seem slim.
Daniel goes through a list of questions with Natasha through the course of the day, with several pauses to eat, meet each other’s parents, and separate to attempt to get back to their own lives. All of these questions serve the purpose of making Natasha fall in love with Daniel. It’s all pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Like, dude, get a grip, like just chillax, will ya ? It’s cute and all but if any guy came up to me on the street the way Daniel did to Natasha and basically followed me all over New York like a lost puppy I would probably find reason to issue a restraining order, but then again, I’m probably just a dramatic nihilist.
Lots of lovey dovey whooing at the girl. This novel is instalove – over the top cliché – the stars drew us together. It screams young love and takes the reader over the moon as the two lives of two seemingly opposite teenagers spark together one day and brings them back together in the end. The novel revolves all around Daniel’s infatuation with Natasha who could, at first really care less about Daniel as she has more important things on her mind, like keeping her family’s home, a home. If it wasn’t for the minor character’s like the parents of the teenagers or the story’s behind each of their lives, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tolerate the instalove. However, with all the little side stories and changes back and forth in time, I was able to handle the romance.
What I loved most was Yoon’s work with time in the story, wring over 400 pages in the space of a single day. There were several important flashbacks to build up suspense and fill in gaps such as the reason behind Natasha’s father’s DUI, the history of Daniel’s parents as well as changes of perspective to minor characters such as the lawyer who was supposed to help Natasha. There is back and forth accounts of other characters and their pasts, all which help to develop the storyline and make it more dynamic, adding to it’s flow.
The ending was marvelously genius. It was unexpected and returned to both Natasha’s notion of reason and Daniel’s faith in fate. It was definitely a bit of a surprise for me as all moments in the story lead up to Natasha’s family being allowed to stay in America. I flew through the short chapters in anticipation for the big moment of Daniel and Natasha staying together and living happily ever after. This unexpectedness is probably one of my favorite part and shows that this teenage love story is not all about the love but also the balance between the real and concrete, and the pursuit of the “im”possible and hope for dreams.
The Sun is Also a Star is all in all a thought provoking tale on love – romantic, family, self. The diversity of characters makes it a modern read. Yoon’s stroytelling, just like in Everything, Everything is wonderfully captivating and draws in the reader from the first page. The novel, despite all the flashbacks and changes of perspective, is easy to follow and doesn’t require a lot of concentration so can be read just about anywhere, from a quiet bedroom window to a noisy subway ride. Being a light read, I recommend this to all YA readers looking for a little something crisp as a bit up a pick-me-up before charging into a more complex reader. With that being said, I give The Sun is Also a Star 4 stars – 4 because it was stunning but not 5 because I would have liked a bit more umpf and plot.
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)