The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult
Maturity Level: 4
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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?
THIS BOOK!!!! Oh my god, I am dead. I just want to read it again. It’s all the things that are amazing about a John Green book, all the philosophizing and complicated presentation of people as people. But they took out all the not so great John Green things and replaced them with Rainbow Rowell things. And together they make MAGIC.
It was just so gosh darned romantic. Now, I’m a pretty romantic person, but I don’t really believe in love at first sight. This book MADE me believe it. Insta-love? INSTA-YES. I was feeling all the feels, loved the kissing scenes, adored how they were willing to go to bat for each other with their families. All of it.
I liked both Natasha and Daniel, though obviously for different reasons. Though I’m not sure they read exactly like teenagers, they definitely blew their respective stereotypes out of the water. You might expect the Korean boy to be a straight-A student who has his whole future planned out, but instead Daniel’s not sure what he wants from the future and is hesitant to commit. You might expect a young, black immigrant woman to be rebellious or full of attitude, rather than practical and distant. But I really like how Yoon took those reader expectations and threw them in your face. She addressed them, and addressed how they are stereotypes, not people.
Yet, despite all of that, Natasha and Daniel are cool. Natasha has amazing taste in music, and Daniel is the kind of free spirit who will just talk to someone in a record shop because he thought their backpack was a sign. I wish I was friends with them in high school.
My absolute favorite part of the book (aside from the end, which we’ll get to) were the interludes about minor characters. It’s something that I’ve seen done in a couple of books, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it done this well. Little mini-chapters giving a glimpse into that character’s life. It’s not so much that the universe has a PLAN, as it is that we’re all connected to each other. Our actions affect those around us in ways we couldn’t possibly predict. And it was these interludes that eventually brought me to tears. It was just the reminder I needed that you never know what someone is going through, who they really are inside. And maybe you can’t judge someone’s whole life based on just one thing that happened one day.
The end. God. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t, and I. Just. Lost. It. My husband thought something was wrong I was crying so hard.
Also, can we take a quick sec to appreciate that cover? Wowza.
This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and one of my favorite YA books of all time. I can’t wait to read it again and again and again. Skeptics, get ready to feel something.