Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pub Date: November 1, 2016
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
“People just want to believe. Otherwise they would have to admit that life is just a random series of good and bad things that happen until one day you die.”
This book makes me want to believe. For the record, I am a skeptic when it comes to love and fate and everything else in-between, but stories like this make me wish I did believe in stuff like that.
I’ll try to explain what this book is about in the only way I know how to: through vague metaphors and fragmented sentences.
Once upon a time, there was a scientist and a poet. But this isn’t just a story about a scientist and a poet. This is a story about pursuing the American Dream. It’s also about that dream being crushed. It’s about family, and refuge, and resentment. It’s about race, heritage, and history. It’s about a woman in uniform who is always there but who is never really seen. She is dying for someone to ask how she’s doing. It’s about a lawyer who works in a big building, who incidentally, is in love with someone he can never have. He is torn between what is right and what feels right. It’s about a girl who is being deported back to a country that is not her home. It’s about a boy who is torn between who he wants to be and who his family needs him to be. It’s about love. It’s about compromise. It’s about life. This is a story about Daniel and Natasha, but it’s also so much more than that.
My goodness. This book is so special. It is important. It is diverse. I wish this didn’t have to be such a big deal, but it is. The main characters are a Jamaican girl and a Korean-American boy, both with immigrant parents. I can’t remember the last time I read a book with POC main characters (not since Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe). And maybe that’s my own fault for not looking hard enough, but I honestly believe that there is a serious lack of diverse books out there. Regardless, The Sun Is Also A Star was very well done. As a child of immigrant parents, and as someone who identifies as a person of colour, I can definitely relate to both Natasha and Daniel. Being able to identify with characters is a very rare and special thing for me. It made the reading experience 10x more enjoyable (and poignant, haha).
This is the first book I’ve read by Nicola Yoon but it certainly will not be my last. It was so well-written. It’s told in multiple perspectives… and by multiple, I don’t just mean by our two main characters. The story is told by at least a dozen people. They are all connected. It is magical and heartbreaking and so real.
That is all I will say. I highly recommend this book. You seriously need to read it.