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Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

Pages: 384

Release Date: November 1st 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

Review:

I loved Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and was excited to read her latest book. I didn’t have any idea what it was going into it but it turned out to be a cutesy romance with some more serious undertones on identity and immigration.

The story follows Natasha, whose family is about to be deported back to Jamaica and Daniel, who has an interview for a university his parents want him to go to. Chance throws them together but is there’s a romance that is destined forever, or destined for failure?

I’m not usually one for romance stories, and this one was sickly sweet sometimes, but I couldn’t help enjoy this one. While Daniel believes in true love and meant-to-be, Natasha is a girl of my own heart and cynical about the whole thing.

The story mainly alternates between Natasha and Daniel’s points of view, but also has the odd aside from more background characters: the feelings of security guard at an office who wants to commit suicide, the regrets of Natasha’s father, a history of Daniel’s brother. These little flavours of other people were a great way to explore other events and characters, as the story takes place over one day.

With Natasha’s family due to be deported the next day, it seems as if there’s no chance for the two to ever have a relationship, even as they fall for each other. I was worried the whole thing was going to be resolved nicely and the two would live happily ever after: while I kind of wanted that for them as they were so sweet, I’m cynical and don’t like insta-love and perfect romance stories like that, so I was glad when a lot of obstacles were thrown their way. I won’t spoil it but I was satisfied with how things turned out.

Diversity is a hot topic at the moment and it was refreshing to read a story that wasn’t about two middle class white people. We see the casual racism that’s thrown at them – Natasha feels pressure to have her hair chemically straightened as Afro hair isn’t ‘good hair’. The issues of identity and immigration are really fascinating as well. Natasha was born in Jamaica but grew up in America: America is her home and she feels no connection with her place of birth. She was brought there illegally by her parents and is being forced to leave due to her father’s mistake. There’s a frustration in the helplessness of a young person who can’t control her own fate.

This was a bittersweet love story that I really enjoyed. It was good to read a romance story from a perspective that isn’t white/middleclass and can educate me about cultures I don’t know much about. It’s another hit from Nicola Yoon and I’d really recommend it.

4

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