Today’s book is one I only read about a week ago. The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, is one of this month’s books for the book club I attend, and I was blown away by it.
(Just look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous?)
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 story of two teenagers from very different immigrant families in New York, who meet on the worst day possible, The Sun is Also a Star looks at how each person you meet can be affected by that meeting, often in ways you couldn’t even imagine. It’s written from the alternating viewpoints of Natasha and Daniel, but with brief diversions into the lives of those they come into contact with (my personal favourite was Irene. I loved seeing how each interaction moved her life in a different direction). It is BEAUTIFULLY written. I was rooting for Natasha and Daniel throughout, but Yoon made it easy to empathise with those other characters. I could totally understand why Daniel’s father was so insistent that Daniel should go to Yale and study medicine, while also resenting him for the pressure he was putting on his son. He’s 17! He should be out having fun, not stressing about early admittance interviews for a course he doesn’t want to take!
I loved the ending, which I’m not going to spoil, but which was perfect for that story. Absolutely perfect. There’s also a hint of parallel universes throughout the book – what would have happened if Natasha hadn’t been late for her appointment, for example? That very slight uncertainty worked really well, as did the time limit aspect, which was a nice twist on the trope – Natasha literally has less than a day left in America when we meet her, but although it’s life changing, it’s potentially temporary. I also loved the book for having two leads who were characters of colour, with different experiences of life in the US. The immigration issue at the heart of the book is important too – Natasha has lived in the States for 9 years. Her brother was born there. Don’t they have a right to stay there at this point? – as well as the sheer drive Natasha has to have to get anywhere within the system.
The most important thing to take away from this post though is that this book is beautiful in so many different ways, and reading it will enrich your life. Seriously.