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

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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? 

All I can say first of all is wow, wow, wow. I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to pick this up. I’d read Yoon’s other novel Everything, Everything earlier in the year and while I liked it I struggled with certain elements and their likelihood. That said I kept seeing this novel everywhere and heard nothing but good things about it, reflecting on the fact I’d actually really liked Yoon’s style previously I thought I would give this a go, and I’m so glad I was offered a copy for review.

The Sun Is Also A Star is more than simply a YA novel. This is a story of identity, personality, nationality, love, loss, strained relationships and taking chances. Natasha and Daniel could not be more different on the surface, while she is a deeply serious and studious young woman, he is a dreamer struggling with the pressures put upon him. For both of them this day will change their lives, after a chance encounter they realise that life won’t always go as they planned.

Not only did I fall in love with these characters I loved that this book didn’t have the typical American boy/ American girl set up. Daniel is from an American-Korean family, while Natasha and her family are from Jamaica, while she considers herself American. This adds a whole other level to the plot and the narrative. This isn’t a simple boy meets girl story, it’s so much more complex. It looks at their relationship with their ethnicity, stereotypes and others around them. I welcomed this, I welcomed characters that were part of an ethnic minority and the impact it has on their lives in 21st century America.

It took a little while to get used to but I loved that there were these strange sections within the novel that explained concepts, people and their stories. It seems strange and at first I didn’t think it would work but as the novel went on it showed off not only Yoon’s brilliant research capabilities but also the lengths she has gone to when creating her characters, their worlds, stories and families.

It is because of these traits in the novel that I found myself getting deeply and emotionally attached to the characters and their issues. It’s rare that I’ll become attached to a novel that features romance but I could not stop reading it, I wanted and rooted for both Daniel and Natasha. I will say make sure you read to the end because there are twists that you don’t expect to happen, there are emotions that you don’t know you will feel.

I gave this a high 4 stars. I really enjoyed this novel, I thought it was well written and well executed. I suppose it also had a sense of realism too. I don’t think there is anything I actively disliked about the novel, I just felt that occasionally Daniel came across a little too much as a perfect romantic type, but that’s just my personal taste.

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