Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: November 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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 was taken aback by how much The Sun Is Also a Star resonated with me. There were several parallels between this book and my life and, in the end, this was honestly the most emotional I’ve been over a book.
In this story, seventeen-year-olds Natasha and Daniel paths cross on a pivotal day of both their lives in New York City. Natasha is an illegal immigrant and trying to stop her family’s deportation back to Jamaica from happening that night. Meanwhile, Daniel, a first generation Korean-American, has an interview for Yale that he agreed to for his parent’s benefit and is looking for any sign from God to point his life in the right direction. Daniel is convinced that their meeting is fate while Natasha believes it was coincidental and doubts anything will become of them. They end up taking on the day together and learning many things about themselves, their family, love, and life.
Nicola Yoon nailed what it’s like having immigrant parents and how being bombarded with different cultures shapes the children. Being biracial, I understood when Daniel expressed that sometimes it feels like he’s too American to be Korean or too Korean to be American. You can try to reject your heritage like Daniel’s brother, Charlie, did or make an honest effort to embrace it like Daniel, but, ultimately, it doesn’t change the fact that people see you the way they want to see you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to simply stop worrying about what other people think of you because you’ll end up being frustrated when they repeatedly pigeonhole you.
Although the whole spending-a-day-with-someone-you-just-met-and-maybe-falling-in-love plot seemed like it would be too Romeo and Juliet for me, Yoon made it work in one way by creating believable teenagers.
Natasha, like me, is a realist. She admires Daniel’s dreamer personality, but ultimately feels comforted by science and cold-hard facts. This is due to combination of things: her parent’s broken marriage, her dad’s regret over marrying and having children, and her ex-boyfriend cheating on her.
On the other hand, I could relate to Daniel’s confusion over what do with his life. His parents just want the best for him and believe the only way he can achieve success is if he goes to medical school. This way of thinking is prevalent among Asian parents, mine being no exception.
Another way Yoon made the plot plausible was by switching between the POVs of the main characters and background characters. By doing so, she showed how everything happens for a reason. Maybe it wasn’t fate or coincidence that brought Natasha and Daniel together, but a series of specific causes and effects. It was hard to antagonize any of the characters because Yoon put you in their shoes and made you empathize with them.
“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.”
Nicola Yoon’s writing is simple and beautiful. There were countless of sweet quotes like the one above that she wove quietly into the story. It never felt like she was trying hard to make her writing sound poetic—it just was.
I’ve never balled my eyes out because of a book until The Sun Is Also a Star. It honestly felt comforting reading about character experiences so similar to mine. I’ll admit that this book won’t have the same effect on many of its readers as it did on me, but I think it’s definitely worth the read.
i loved it