Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

the-sun-is-also-a-star-nicola-yoon-book-review

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
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

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?

Review

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. 💞

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40 thoughts on “Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

  1. Lovely review! I’ve been meaning to pick this one up (because look at that gorgeous cover!) and while I’m not one for insta-love really at all, this one seems like it wouldn’t irk me too much so I’m excited to pick it up! I’m glad to see you enjoyed it! 🙂

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  2. I have looked at this several times. It is not a typical read to me, but to be honest maybe the cover keeps drawing me back? Your review is great though. Maybe I should consider this in the future when I am looking for something different 🙂

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  3. Like you, the blurb alone would never have gotten me! But the reviews I have seen have all been good and yours made me want to give it a try 🙂 Argh, insta-love will never work for me. I am so tired of seeing it used everywhere for the sake of adding romance to a story that doesn’t necessarily need it.

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    • I know! The blurb itself didn’t really make me want to read it but all the reviews did, and I’m really glad I gave it a chance. I hope you will too.

      RE: insta-love – I keep waiting for that book where insta-love just totally makes sense but as it turns out, I just really, really dislike it. Not even a reincarnation plot justifies it for me. 😅

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  4. This sounds like an amazing book Reg, despite the whole insta-love angle, and it’s definitely one I will be picking up that little bit sooner thanks to your review; maybe even before Everything Everything! 🙂
    I haven’t actually seen any reviews for this book before your one, or Everything Everything, but I can see why you picked it up. It sounds like a brilliant story which deals with some harder topics, like immigration, quite well when it comes down to it. It’s a shame you weren’t a fan of the insta-love but then again that’s definitely not a trope for you is it?
    Great review!

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    • I hope you enjoy this one, Beth! Most of what I didn’t like about EE was in the ending and the, hmm, large twist, but with this one there’s less of that and it sits better in my mind. It definitely deals with very relevant issues as well and I can’t fault Yoon for how she does so in this book.

      And yeah, insta-love is just not my trope at all! This is probably as… hmm, acceptable as it gets for me. 😂

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      • I hope so too. Thanks Reg! I guess either way I’ll be going into EE with slightly lowered expectations. Maybe that’ll help in the long run while reading it. It’s a shame about the ending though. There’s nothing worse than when the book is ruined by the way it ends.
        If this is as acceptable as it ever gets then I guess at least you know that, maybe you can be on the lookout for other books that readl with insta-love in this way! 🙂

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  5. I personally enjoyed Everything Everything more than this one myself, but I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve mentioned here!! I was a little meh about the whole love thing (more on some parts than others) myself, but I still couldn’t help rooting for them in the end. Great review! I’m glad you liked it 😀

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    • Oh yay! With Everything, Everything, what I didn’t like was the ending and the twist, whereas with this one those things just weren’t an issue (for the most part). Obviously I was meh about the love part as well, but at least it didn’t make me hate the characters. 😂

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it too.

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  6. Been debating for so long about whether or not I wanted to read this because I don’t do romance contemporaries or instalove. I know it deals with important issues though so I added it to my TBR! I love that one of the POVs is the Universe. Seeing that you enjoyed it definitely makes me more interested to read it!! Great review, Reg.

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  7. See, the insta-love angle is what has made me hesitant with this one too, definitely not a fan of the trope and it rarely if ever works for me. However, after having read so many great reviews and then the fact that I enjoyed Everything Everything I ended up impulse buying it. I love how it represents different families, there’s diversity and the family element. I’m going to have to actually read it soon. Hopefully within the next few months. Great review, Reg! 😊

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