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?
To be clear: I don’t believe in fate. But I’m desperate.
Back in July 2015, I started this blog. In the same month, I reviewed my very first ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy), which just so happened to be the New York Times Best Seller: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
At the time, I didn’t really grasp what I was getting myself into. It didn’t really hit me until a few months later when Everything, Everything was all anyone in the bookish community could talk about: My first ever ARC was a bestseller, and I got to experience it early! I felt so excited whenever anyone brought it up, because I could talk about with more and more people as it got bigger and bigger.
Thus, when ARCs started being released of The Sun is Also a Star, it was only right – only just – that I request one.
However, life got in the way, and I didn’t actually read this book until post release, so – contrastingly – I was the one in the dark when this book was all anyone in the bookish community could, inevitably, talk about in the days, weeks, and months after its release.
Nevertheless, this book was amazing. I loved it even more than Everything, Everything!
This book follows a dual-POV of Natasha and Daniel, who are waking to fateful days for very different reasons: Natasha is being deported, whilst Daniel is about to attend a life-altering interview for entry to Yale University. Neither are in search of love, yet both – once they find it – never want to let it go.
From the very beginning, I knew I was going to love this book. Just being re-introduced to Nicola Yoon’s writing style was a pleasure. I loved the quick jumps in POV, from Natasha to Daniel, and then back again. However, Yoon also introduced a very interesting aspect to this novel: whenever a new character was mentioned, we recieved a brief soliloquay on their life. I loved this part, and everytime it happened I got so excited because I was so eager to learn more and more about this world that Nicola Yoon was building. In school, currently, we’re studying how stories intertwine, and how different perspectives percieve the same events in such contrasting ways. This book just solidified my love for this theme – to see so many stories intertwining so seamlessly but so realistically was endlessly entertainting and enlightening.
I did, however, go into this book a little warily. The synopsis screamed insta-love, and I wasn’t really down for that. Yet this book is written tastefully, all cheesiness pushed completely out of the picture. It is slow-burning and sweet and reminscent all at once.
Furthermore, one thing I’m coming to realise with Nicola Yoon is how dauntless she is when it comes to introducing diversity to her stories, and how unafraid she is when it comes to talking about it. Both of our protagonists are ethnic minorities in their hometown of New York City, Natasha hailing from Jamaica, and Daniel descending from Korean immigrants. As I type this, I am trying to think of another popular YA author that seamlessly intergrates such diversity into their novels, and I am stuggling to do so.
Honestly, Nicola Yoon is one of a kind.
From beginning to end, this book was action-packed, captivating, and inspiring, and I can’t fully express my love for it. I wouldn’t change a thing about this book, especially the ending: that was just so perfect.
In the end, she chose both. Korean and American. American and Korean.
So they would know where they were from.
So they would know where they were going.
Again I say it too quitely to be heard, and again he hears me.
Everything is all right between you and your god, and therefore between you and the world.
Everyone’s got someplace to be. Finding God is not on the schedule.
You can be cynical all you want, but many a life can be saved by poetry.
“So you’re going to die an incompetent hero?”
“I’m going to die trying.”
We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.
Part of falling in love with soemone else is also falling in love with yourself. I like who I am with her.
“Most poems I’ve seen are about love or sex or the stars. You poets are obsessed with stars. Falling stars. Shooting stars. Dying stars.
“Stars are important,” I say, laughing.
“Sure, but why not more poems about the sun? The sun is also a star, and it’s our most important one. That alone should be worth a poem or two.”
“Done. I will only write poems about the sun from now on,” I declare.
Before these buildings were buildings, they were just the skeletons of them. Before they were skeletons, they were crossbeams and girders. Metal and glass and concrete. And before that, they were construction plans. Before that, architectural plans. And before that, just an idea someone had for the making of a city.
“I think mostly you can plan. Mostly things doing just come over out of nowhere and bowl you over.”
“Probably the dinosaurs thought that too, and look what happened to them.”
I’ve always known him, and we’ve only just met.
He majors in English and writes small, sad poems. And even the ones that are not about her are still about her.
If you enjoyed _____, you’ll love The Sun is Also a Star!