The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon [Reviews]: A Story of Hope and Young Romance

March 1, 2017 Book, Joint Review 0 ★★★★½

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon [Reviews]: A Story of Hope and Young RomanceThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1st 2016
Source: Own
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four-half-stars

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.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Jennifer’s Review:

“Sometimes your world shakes so hard, it’s difficult to imagine that everyone else isn’t feeling it too.”

From the start, The Sun is Also a Star gripped my heart forcefully and made me love every moment of it. It tells the stories of Natasha, a young Jamaican girl who’s being deported with her family, and Daniel, a Korean-American who’s struggling with following his parent’s expectations and his own dreams. First apart, and then two connected stories, we’re able to see into the lives of Natasha and Daniel, as well as those around them as they interfere and change their lives in a whole day in New York City.

At first, it was weird for me to read from many perspectives, but as the story moves on it becomes effortless and part of this author’s style into building a complex story that leaves you amazed.

Natasha and Daniel were almost opposites in their personalities, motivations, goals, and likes, among other things. But I could relate to both so much, I loved them. Natasha was fierce, a fighter, a nerd at heart and a cynic of love, like me, trying to understand the world around her by organizing it through science; very Type A. In the other hand there was Daniel, kinda laid-back, sweet, hopeless romantic, a smart boy with big dreams that didn’t really align with his family’s wishes, and with too many things held in from his life. One was an undocumented immigrant, the other a first generation Korean-American, but both equally trying to find their place in this strange world as they fell in love with one another.

Coming from a biracial family, and an immigrant mother, I deeply enjoyed seeing myself (and my mom) reflected in these wonderful characters and feeling deep in my chest for them and rooting for the best.

“If people who were actually born here had to prove they were worthy enough to live in America, this would be a much less populated country.”

With my mom being an immigrant, I have some knowledge into this while visa and citizenship mess, and I adored every sarcastic comment, harsh truth, and the emotional complexity that Natasha, and her family, felt at being deported because it made it jump from the page solid as it can be, and is, in reality. It resonated beyond the page, to me who’s a citizen, so I can only imagine without justice how others with closer experience to Natasha will feel with this story full of hope and dreams and the harsh truth some have to go through. There is also the struggle of identity that Daniel goes through by being raised as Korean, but in an American world, and the effects this has on his family. There are expectations, customs, responsibilities, and the aggressions that come from being Othered in a place supposed to be the land of the free.

“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.”

I had some problems with the romance at first instance because I am not a believer of love at first sight. Attraction and lust? Yes. I would understand flirting, being cute, and sneaking kisses, but the romance between Natasha and Daniel at times felt like it had been going on for longer than a day, and my scientific mind (like her’s haha) just couldn’t grasp that. But if I ignored those tiny details, it became an enjoyable, sweet, cute, and at times steamy romance between these interesting characters. 

Overall, this book is a great addition to any Young Adult lovers looking to widen their views with the fantastic diversity this #ownvoices author brings to life. A story of hope, young romance full of unexpected trials and potentials, and self-discovery in the wonderful mystery that is this universe. 100% recommended <3

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Romance
three-half-stars
Overall: 4.3

Marianne’s Review:

“The thing about falling is you don’t have any control on your way down.”

I hadn’t realized how impacting this book would be when I first started reading it. The way it’s written – in short chapters and different perspectives – makes it a difficult book to put down, but the most arresting part of it, to me, is the multitude of issues it addresses.

The Sun is Also a Star is a very important book now more than ever, because it deals with topics such as immigration, racism and assimilation. Nicola Yoon masterfully tackles these subjects both honestly and gracefully, and she had no trouble capturing my attention and making me feel sympathetic to the characters’ plights.

“Sometimes it’s hard to be in America. Some days I feel like I’m halfway to the moon, trapped between the world and it.”

I could immediately take a liking to Natasha, a headstrong Jamaican teenager who believes in science. Natasha wants to save her family from deportation and wants to stay in America. Meanwhile Daniel is a Korean-American who wants to please his parents and the sacrifices they’ve made for him, while still staying true to who he is. I could relate to both these characters, and feel what they felt. I could see myself in Natasha and Daniel in the way family is so important to them. Being part of a Latinx household, I could relate to certain pressures that were represented so well in this book, which made it all the easier to fall in love with these characters.

As I said before, the book is told in short chapters and different perspectives. We see chapters narrated by both Daniel and Natasha, but there are also some chapters narrated by other people. These people play the most minimal roles in the book, however their impact was so great. I loved how the author made it easy to see that everyone has a different story, and the smallest acts bring upon the biggest changes. Some of the chapters also offer unique perspectives into race and immigration in America, and I was so pleasantly surprised to see how organically these “tough” subjects were integrated without sacrificing the plot.

“What does it mean to wear your hair natural versus straightened? […] If you wear your hair naturally, are you making a political statement, claiming black power? The way African American women wear their hair has often been about much more than vanity. It’s been about more than just an individual’s notion of her own beauty.”

The way this book is written is so cohesive. Natasha & Daniel’s POVs seamlessly flow between each other, as well as the other perspectives in the story. The writing was absolutely beautiful, without feeling bogged down by endless metaphors or “flowery writing”.

I know a lot of people have found the romance between Daniel and Natasha to be too “instalove”, but I found it absolutely amazing. Do I believe in such a strong connection between people who have only met each other? Probably not. However, the way it was written made it easy for me to cheer on. Frankly, if I can read a book where dragons and shapeshifters exist and believe it, I can read a book with “instalove” and believe it’s a beautifully written romance.

“Our history is too compressed. We’re trying to fit a lifetime into a day.”

This book is really emotional for me. It takes place over a little less than 24 hours, but so many things happen. By the end, I was crying my eyes out. This was definitely a masterpiece by Nicola Yoon. I truly cannot recommend this enough.

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Romance
four-stars
Overall: 4.6

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I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Liturature and Linguistics & Communication, with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. Open to discussions about anything and everything 🙂