The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by: Delacorte Press on November 1st, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Find It: Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars
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?
Cliché and over-the-top cheesy, The Sun is Also a Star surprised me with it’s innocence and hopeless romanticism. Tackling immigration, race and family dynamics, The Sun is Also a Star was more than just a fated romance for the ages.
Natasha was a hard protagonist not to love. A self-declared realist, she trusts science and doesn’t believe in anything as silly as love-at-first-sight. While Natasha embraced her heritage, it was also something she seemed to fear. How would Jamaica welcome her back, when it had never truly been her home? Watching her realize that the future she had worked so hard to achieve was going to be stolen from her, because of a decision her father made out of cowardice, was heart-breaking.
Contrasted with Daniel, a future doctor (if it were up to his parents), he lets fate guide him and today, the fates are pushing him toward Natasha. If only he could convince Natasha that they were meant for each other.
There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.
I really enjoyed watching Daniel struggle to live up to his family’s expectations, while holding on to his dreams of being a poet. It was in these moments that his Korean heritage and the weight of his parents’ sacrifices were most tangibly felt.
Watching Natasha and Daniel learn from each other was easily one of the best parts of The Sun is Also a Star. Natasha’s skepticism was a formidable foe for Daniel’s idealism. And Daniel’s optimism was the cure Natasha’s realism needed. They balanced each other in unexpected ways, which made it hard not to grin while reading their exchanges.
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.
There’s really only one word to describe their relationship: adorable. I’m not usually one to wax poetic about overly gushy moments, but guys. Natasha and Daniel took cute to a whole new level! I also have an impossible time resisting two people who obviously care for one another, but who are shy about it.
He thinks my hair smells like spring rain. I’m really trying to remain stoic and unaffected. I remind myself that I don’t like poetic language. I don’t like poetry. I don’t even like people who like poetry.
But I’m not dead inside either.
Obviously their relationship wasn’t able to be built up over time, but there was a certain charm to it that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.
Interspersed throughout The Sun is Also a Star are glimpses at the lives of people that Natasha and Daniel interact with. Seemingly random, you eventually learn how each of these minor characters have contributed to Natasha and Daniel’s story. So as much as this was Natasha and Daniel’s story, it was also the story of everyone they came into contact with on that day.
I loved how Yoon took a seemingly minor interaction and extrapolated an entire history. She developed full characters over the course of only a few pages. I just loved the attention to detail and the planning that has to go into this type of story-telling.
Natasha doesn’t say what she suspects. That meant to be doesn’t have to mean forever.
Let’s just say I was a wreck. And that Yoon is masterful. And that the ending was the only ending that could have made sense. And that Yoon is a genius. And that life is unfair.
And sometimes, destiny isn’t done with us when we think it is.