All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

on November 29, 2017

The Sun Is Also A Star
Nicola Yoon
Corgi Books (Penguin Random House UK)
2016, 344p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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?

So a while ago I asked for a few recommendations on twitter because I felt like buying a few books. A few people came back with this one so I bought it during one of my book buying sprees. I picked it up to read on a whim this month because I’ve basically been so sick that I find it hard to concentrate but someone told me the way this book was written would help with that.

And it did! I loved the way this was written. It’s divided up into both Natasha and Daniel’s points of view but there are also other chapters or segments that are devoted to minor characters that enhance the story that are almost like a narrator coming in over the top of the regular story to give the reader more information. I could see this being amazing if a movie were ever to be made of this book with the picture pausing and then someone coming in over the top to basically be like, things were not going to plan.

Basically the bulk of this story takes place over a single day in New York City where teenagers Natasha and Daniel meet by chance. Natasha is on her way to an important appointment to hopefully change her life, Daniel is killing time before an appointment he cares little about. He sees Natasha and is drawn to her immediately, compelled to talk to her. Natasha is a more practical girl but Daniel challenges her to open her mind to the possibility of something special.

Recently I must’ve read about 4-5 books that center around the premise of you can fall in love with anyone by asking them 36 or so questions and maintaining eye contact for a certain period of time. This book uses this as well, although for time constraints, Daniel and Natasha do not use all of the questions and instead pick and choose some key ones to ask each other. They do this whilst moving around New York City – from a music store to a restaurant and karaoke place to Daniel’s father’s hair shop to Natasha’s appointment and various other places. They separate and come together, argue and connect. Daniel is a hopeless romantic who believes in love at first sight. Natasha is a realist who knows she most likely has less than 24 hours left in New York. What could the future possibly hold for them?

Daniel is the son of Korean immigrants and the pressure is on to get into a good school and become a doctor. Doctors are where it’s at. For many years he’s lived in the shadow of his older brother, who strongly dislikes him and enjoys making his life a misery. With his brother home on academic probation from his prestigious university, Daniel finds himself in the unexpected position of favoured child, but it’s not a role he’s sure he wants, especially as he is having second thoughts about his future. He doesn’t want to be a doctor but his chosen interest would never be acceptable to his conservative parents who have worked so hard to give their children the sort of opportunities they never had. Daniel should be doing things to prepare for this important meeting he has but instead he finds himself more interested in Natasha.

I’ve read some criticism of the way Daniel approached Natasha (followed her) and spoke to her when she didn’t really want to interact with someone and I can understand how on some level, that isn’t ideal. However for me, I don’t think he really crossed the line into weird or creepy or stalkerish. He does talk to her and she isn’t too keen at first but Daniel does have a kind of harmless charm that comes across and I think Natasha does genuinely enjoy shooting him down at first, as they argue positions based on their philosophies of hopeless dreamer and cynic. Natasha is quite confident Daniel’s experiment won’t change anything for her.

I enjoyed this a lot – I think I really liked the immigrant/child of immigrant experience. Daniel has always had a lot of pressure on him about getting good grades, going to a top college (only a few options) and becoming the holy Asian grail, a doctor. Probably marrying another doctor of Korean or Asian background and producing more little Korean American doctors. It is not a future that interests Daniel and despite his romantic nature and the way that he challenges Natasha, it is her that challenges him to tell his parents that their future is not what he desires and to accept the consequences of that if he wants to carve out his own life. I also couldn’t help but feel really sorry for Natasha, who through no fault of her own had a deportation to a place she couldn’t remember hanging over her head. She was also seemingly the only one trying to really change it – busting her ass to try and change it actually and I loved the complicated intricacy of her relationship with her father.

This was a fun read – I liked the ending. Definitely going to add Nicola Yoon’s other book Everything, Everything  to my TBR now! I appreciated the unique element of this storytelling and the freshness of the voices.


Book #188 of 2017

5 responses to “Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

  1. Good review. You have definitely piqued my interest.

  2. Loni says:

    I loved this book too. So beautifully written. I’m always happy to see more people reading it.

  3. delphinethebabbler says:

    Wonderfully written review! I really found The Sun is Also a Star a stunning read. I really liked Yoon’s play on time and the alternating perspectives in the book. The insta love here though…like wow. It was strong. If I was in Natasha’s shoes I totally would have flung my handbag at Daniel and told him to just chillax and drink a chocolate milk. He was just way too over the top for me and came off a bit strong in his love confession. Other than that, I really enjoyed this light read, not to mention the beautiful cover.
    Anyway, I look forward to more of your reviews in the future…happy reading! 🙂

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