The Sun Is Also A Star Review
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon: My Review
Rating: 4.5/5 starsWe're kindling amid lightning strikes, a lit match and dry wood, fire danger signs and a forest waiting to be burned.
I devoured this book in one day, I absolutely adored it! I would recommend The Sun Is Also A Star over Everything, Everything any day as this story was so unique, funny, adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time, told with a much more mature writing style.
Natasha and Daniel were such lovable, flawed and fully-developed characters who I connected to more and more as the book progressed. They both come from very different backgrounds but compliment eachother extremely well, as well as bringing a great amount of diversity to the story. Natasha is a black girl whose family is about to be deported back to Jamaica after being discovered as undocumented citizens, which she is desperately trying to prevent from happening. She is very practical and confident in her mindset while Daniel, who is a Korean-American boy trying to live up to his parents expectations in education, is a very open-minded dreamer and aspiring poet. The juxtaposition between their polar-opposite personalities struck the perfect balance and ended up being what drew one to the other.
I know that a lot of readers may really turn away from this novel because it does center around the 'insta-love' trope that many people critique as being too fluffy and unrealistic. The book is told over the course of just one day, the day that Natasha and Daniel meet, then meet again, and again. Daniel is positive that it's fate pushing them together, while Natasha doesn't trust concepts that cannot be scientifically proven, so Daniel endeavors to prove to her than love at first sight isn't just a myth. Okay, it may sound cheesy and cliched. But I just cannot resist two people wanting more than anything to express their love for eachother but being too shy to do it, especially when those people are two of the most charming and engaging teenagers ever. In my opinion, Yoon built and developed their relationship extremely eloquently - it didn't feel as though it was progressing too quickly despite the novel taking place in a single day - and everything seemed to evolve at just the right pace.
I can, however, appreciate why the idea of love at first sight and meeting someone at the right place and the right time because it's your destiny may not sit well with a lot of readers. I do believe that love isn't built on coincidence and an in-the-moment gushy feeling; it's knowing someone's habits, flaws, pet-peeves, and all the weird quirks that only surface after several weeks of being together. But for some reason, this didn't bother me at all in The Sun Is Also A Star. I thought Nicola and Daniel had so much chemistry and it just worked for me.
Aside from the cute romance, Yoon also delves into much deeper subject matters that formed the foundations for the novel overall. There are explorations of the contrast between emotions and science, and whether you can quantify fate or put a box around love. There are honest discussions about social stigmas against black hair, and the inherently-flawed and cruel system of immigration. We see the authentic fusion of ethnicity and response to different cultures. It was all just so well executed and I loved it.
What really brought another dynamic to this book was how it was peppered with the perspectives of random characters who come and go throughout the novel and little anecdotes from very arbitrary things like "eyes" and "hair". This was quite unusual to read at first but I found many of these so touching and I loved the idea that everything and everyone around us has their own story to be told. It also brought to my attention the concept of fate and our actions as humans - how the smallest gestures can form the biggest pictures, how swerving in a car can bring two teens together, how falling in love with your secretary can change the course of someone's life forever. The story is also interspersed with beautifully wrought and deeply appraised musings on physics and history; Dark Matter, Quantum Theory, the Three Sisters of Fate just to name a few. Their presence in the story was so relevant and I came out of this book knowing so much more than I did when I went in, which is definitely not something I was expecting.
Overall, while The Sun Is Also A Star tells a story which is full of coincidences and arguably not very realistic, it was super cute, romantic, educational and succinct in the way it explored some really interesting deeper topics that aren't commonly found in YA contemporaries. I would highly recommend this book (but definitely not to cynical readers).