Thursday, July 13, 2017

[Review] The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Add to Goodreads
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)01/11/2016
Publisher: Penguin Corgi
Pages: 348
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity
*one fight, some kissing, talk of sex

My Rating
4/5 stars
My thoughts

I adore Nicola Yoon. I haven't seen her speak, haven't read or heard any interviews that might shed more light on who she is. But her books speak to me. I think she has a knack for tapping into the core of humanity and writing characters that are easily accessible to readers, dealing with topics that feel real and important. I loved Everything, Everything, even if the disease (SCID) was misrepresented. I think her writing has this unique magic of pulling you in, and so it was the same with The Sun is Also a Star.

The Sun is Also a Star follows two teens who meet on a busy street in New York City, and the one day that they spend together. Daniel is a dreamer, Natasha prefers science. Daniel is determined that fate brought the two together, and that he can make her fall in love with him. 

That is the general gist of the story, but there is so much more! I loved the diversity in this book! Daniel is Korean and Natasha is Jamaican. I would love to see this on the big screen, I think it would do so well. In my head they look absolutely gorgeous together, and it would be lovely to see the beautiful melding of two contrasting cultures, coming together. We see what growing up as a Korean-American is like, and there are even little bits of Korean and Jamaican cultural references and places mentioned.

The story is told in alternating perspectives, mainly between Daniel and Natasha. But there are also little snippets and facts, and we are also given insight into the lives of the many people they come across during the day, and I think that was written extraordinarily well. Not only that - I liked how many of those people would tie into the story and it actually matters in the end. It was a lovely way of showing that it's in the little things that we thrive. We are all connected, which is perhaps one of the most underlying messages in this book.

The Sun is Also a Star is quite a fast-paced read for a contemporary book. Perhaps that is because it is set over one day, and things just seem to happen quickly. The two seem to go to many interesting places in New York City that I hadn't heard of before. I like that they didn't just go to tourist-y places. One of the highlights was Koreatown, oh, and when they go to Daniel's family business Black Hair Care

The dynamic between Daniel and Natasha was perfect, in my opinion. I love that despite their differences, or maybe because of them, they bounced off of each other really well. They learn so much from each other, and build on the other's weaknesses. The dialogue was lively and mostly believable, and I enjoyed reading every moment that they spent together. I like how intense their day is together as Yoon artfully captures the beauty of serendipity. I think I have read from others that they don't like insta-love. To me, this didn't feel like insta-love. I think the nature of their "relationship" developed organically enough, considering the strange circumstances by which they have met.

Family issues loom large in this book. I always love when family is highly prominent in YA because they do matter. We get insights into their family lives, mainly through their fathers' perspectives. Both migrants, knowing their stories made them a little bit more sympathetic. I really felt sorry for both of them - moving to America, pursuing that American Dream, didn't give them all that they had hoped for. I like how Yoon shone a light on the struggles that migrants face (she possibly drew from personal experience).

The reason why I gave this book a 4 star and not any higher, was because the ending left me feeling a bit cheated. I'm not sure about everyone else, maybe they preferred having a bit of closure, and seeing everything come together in the end, but I was not a fan. I did not like that Yoon felt the need to include an epilogue. I felt like she was spoon-feeding us a Happy Ending. I did not need one. Sometimes I prefer open endings so that I can imagine what happens to the characters for myself. I am being obnoxiously vague here, you'll have to find out for yourself!

Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star is a fast-paced and beautifully written story about taking chances, falling in love and following your dreams.


First lines:

"Carl Sagan said that if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. When he says "from scratch," he means from nothing. He means from a time before the world even existed.

"No one wants to believe that life is random. My dad says he doesn't know where my cynicism comes form, but I'm not a cynic. I am a realist. It's better to see life as it is, not as you wish it to be. Things don't happen for a reason. They just happen. (34)
"Still, getting over him didn't take that long at all. And that's the thing that makes me wary. Where did all those feelings go? People spend their whole lives looking for love. Poems and songs and entire novels are written about it. But how can you trust something that can end as suddenly as it begins? (58)
"As our eyes meet, I get a kind of deja vu, but instead of feeling like I'm repeating something in the past, it feels like I'm experiencing something that will happen in my future. I see us in old age. I can't see our faces; I don't know where or even when we are. But I have a strange and happy feeling that I can't describe. It's like knowing all the words to a song but still finding them beautiful and surprising. (66)
"'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.' (100) 

AUSTRALIA: A&R | Booktopia | Fishpond

INTERNATIONAL: Abe Books | The Book Depository

Also by Nicola Yoon...

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Related Posts with Thumbnails