Title: The Sun is Also a Star (2016)
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
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?
I actually wasn’t planning on reading this book at all — the blurb hinted towards insta-love, probably my least-liked trope, and my experience with Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything wasn’t entirely convincing. But then the reviews started pouring in, most of them positive and a lot of them really positive, and I found myself picking it up the moment I could. 😊
The Sun is Also a Star is the story of two people: Natasha, a science-loving, cynical girl whose family is being deported to Jamaica tomorrow, and Daniel, the younger son of Korean immigrants who struggles to find his voice in his family. They meet by chance in New York City and essentially spend the day together, getting to know one another and changing their lives in ways they didn’t think would happen.
“I didn’t know you this morning, and now I don’t remember not knowing you.”
I didn’t think I would enjoy this, but I actually did. The story is told in both Natasha and Daniel’s first-person perspectives, but you also get chapters from people they’ve bumped into, chapters about the history of certain things and certain people, et cetera. Some of these chapters left me a bit confounded because I don’t think they added anything to the story, but it was an interesting way to construct a narrative, and for the most part it really worked. 👌
This book deals with many things, but more than anything else, I feel like it highlights the family immigrant experience. Both Natasha and Daniel had personal issues stemming from this: Natasha with the fact that she’s going to be deported soon because of a mistake her father made, and Daniel with not quite knowing how much he’s willing to sacrifice to fulfil his parents’ ideals and expectations for what makes a “good life”. I think this was done really, really well — it felt authentic and respectful and pretty much everything I ever wanted in representation, really.
“You’re not your dad,” I say, but he doesn’t believe me. I understand his fear. Who are we if not a product of our parents and their histories?
I was told that the insta-love was done well, and I… would probably say ‘meh’? At the end of the day it’s just not really my thing, and call me a cynic, but I just can’t see any way the trope, in general, could feel realistic or not cheesy to me, so not even Yoon managed to do that for me. I suppose a good way to sum it up is: I didn’t love the romance and think the book could work even without, but I understand why it exists.
Overall an enjoyable, heartfelt read — I enjoyed it much more than Everything, Everything and I’m more keen to pick up whatever Yoon writes next now. 💞