The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Natasha is a Jamaica-born teenager who believes more in science than true love. She and her family are also about to be deported back to Jamaica. (As in today.) Daniel, the son of Korean-born parents, is a dutiful son who dreams of becoming a poet. Daniel loves words and the idea of fate. When he meets Natasha, he's convinced she's his. His fate, his true love. Natasha isn't so sure, but she can't help but admit that this handsome, intelligent boy is something special.
What follows is an amazing story of two young people: most of it occurring across the day they meet. Told from the alternating perspectives of Natasha and Daniel, but interspersed with bits and pieces of history, facts, and small insights into the people with whom they come into contact on their one magical day, this is a beautiful, lovely, and touching story. Daniel readily admits in the novel that he's a cheesy guy, and yes, the story may be a bit cheesy at points, but boy, it draws you in immediately, and it's just... great. I really loved Yoon's first book, Everything, Everything, and I think this one may be even better. How does she do it?
Daniel and Natasha spring to life in front of you, as you frantically flip pages, wondering what will become of these two people. The bit players in their life take on a life all of their own, thanks to the little insight you receive via their own chapters. I am just awed at how well this woman writes teenage characters - spirited, real, flawed, lovely characters. I read the second half of this book in one sitting, because I just had to see how it ended, and find out the fate of Natasha and Daniel.
Indeed, the racial and immigration plotlines of this novel could not seem more timely, what with the Presidential Election and the current tumult America is undergoing. I wish this book was required reading of every citizen.
"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." ~ Natasha
This is not just a potential love story; this is a book that will make you think and make you cry. It's a love story of teens, it's an ode to New York City, and it's a tribute to both science and poetry. I highly recommend it.
You can find my review of Everything, Everything here.
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