Published by Random House on November 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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?
The universe stops and waits for us.
She opens her palm and she’s going to take my hand. She’s supposed to take my hand. We’re meant to walk through this world together. I see it in her eyes. We are meant to be.
2 1/2 stars. I tried. I’m sorry, but I tried. I just couldn’t love this like I wanted to.
My problem with Yoon’s Everything, Everything was the twist. That awful twist. But her style was enjoyable and easy to read, so I was eager to give her books another shot. I was honestly ready to love The Sun Is Also a Star. I even recently met Nicola Yoon at a book signing and she is so sweet and hilarious, and I found out that this book is based on her own life as a Jamaican immigrant married to a Korean-American. I came away a little bit in love with her.
But I just couldn’t love this book. There were some good things about it, but it’s primarily for people who are far more romantic than I am. For those ready to be convinced that love at first sight really does exist, or those who already believe it. And I don’t.
Call me cynical, call me cold-hearted, but I don’t believe in just knowing and love at first sight. I just don’t believe that’s love. Love is knowing someone’s flaws, habits and pet peeves; having to deal with their grumbling after a bad day; the weird quirks that only surface after several months of being together; living with their morning breath and farts. It’s not that gushy, obsessive, in-the-moment feeling. That’s a crush. And sure, they can hurt, but you’ll get over them. It’s not destiny.
The Sun Is Also a Star tries to make a scientific case for instalove, and I’m just not buying. It’s about Natasha – a Jamaican immigrant, science nerd and skeptic – and Daniel, a Korean-American poet rebelling against his family’s desire for him to be a doctor. The book opens when Natasha faces deportation that very evening, but an encounter with Daniel changes the course of her day, as he sets out to use science to make Natasha fall in love with him.
Daniel is, quite literally, obsessed with Natasha from the very moment he sees her. He believes seeing her is a sign and proceeds to follow her into a music store. After knowing her for just a few hours, he becomes convinced they are “meant to be” and that she will change his life.
But something about Natasha makes me think my life could be extraordinary.
Even Natasha’s delightful cynicism quickly falters under Daniel’s enthusiasm:
Observable Fact: I don’t believe in magic.
Observable Fact: We are magic.
If you are the kind of person who gets caught up in whirlwind romances, then you will probably enjoy this book very much. But me? I just rolled my eyes so much and never got a sense of the chemistry between Natasha and Daniel.
There were some things I enjoyed, though. The story alternates between Natasha and Daniel’s perspectives, but it is also peppered with the perspectives of random characters who come and go throughout the novel. Some of these are really touching; heartbreaking even. I really liked the suggestion that everyone around us has a story; they have their own lives and problems to deal with.
And I thought the immigration aspects were well done and realistic. Natasha’s whole life has been built in America, but she’s being forced to leave because of her father’s mistake. When one takes a closer look at immigration, it’s an inherently-flawed and cruel system, and really, it’s all about luck – isn’t it? Where you happen to be born on the planet is all luck and chance. As Natasha notes:
If people who were actually born here had to prove they were worthy enough to live in America, this would be a much less populated country.
But these things weren’t enough to carry a book that is first and foremost a romance. The romance itself has to be one you fall in love with. I really wish I could tell you I loved it, but I guess I’m not enough of a hopeless romantic for Ms. Yoon.