The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Double Day Canada | November 1st, 2016
Source: ARC Paperback from Penguin Random House Canada
Young Adult Fiction | Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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?
Nicola Yoon has become an instant star in the annals of contemporary fiction for young adults. And this after only releasing one book under her belt. Everything, Everything showed me a glimpse of Nicola’s writing chops that I’ve only seen in some of the more experienced authors out there. She immortalized Maddie in such a revealing acuity. She also handled the delicate topic of a serious disease that may or may not have been brought on by an overprotective instinct by a mother that only wanted to protect her child. In this book, however, she goes beyond the personification of the main characters. She gave insights on side characters and nuances that was both amusing and somewhat informative. All the while tying them all in a nice cohesive bow of this story.
In this book, she tackles the plight of a couple of young immigrants in America. One is about to be deported. And the other, an American-born Korean boy whose future is already predetermined by his parents.
Having been situated in America for several years, Natasha has acclimated well in her life as an American teenager. She is determined to succeed and does very well in school. She doesn’t take anything for granted because she knows the alternative is a life back home where the future is unknown. Natasha is a big believer of things that can be explained. Love, God, and fate are words that give her pause.
By contrast, Daniel’s future is set in stone if his parents has a choice in the matter. But Daniel is a dreamer; a poet who believes in serendipity and love. If they’d met under different circumstances, and if time was on their side, Daniel and Natasha could’ve lived everyday discovering what makes them the way they were. But they live in a reality where their parents’ hopes, dreams, and indiscretions are hopelessly tied to their own.
This book has a lot of moments characteristic of a contemporary read. But underneath the surface belies the seriousness of what typically happens to the lives of immigrants in America. The family does what they can to survive, to make their dreams a reality. But sometimes, hard work is not enough. Nicola Yoon showed that with an honest clarity that a person like me (an immigrant) can whole-heartedly relate. I’ve seen my parents worked 12-15 hours everyday just to get us out of the basement we lived in when we got here. And while things turned out well for us, it sure hasn’t been easy. It’s the same reality I saw in Daniel’s and Natasha’s parents.
Daniel’s parents were well on their way to the fruition of their dreams, if only their oldest son didn’t screw up his short stint in Harvard. That’s why they’re doing everything they can for him to get accepted in Yale. On the other hand, Natasha’s parents only ever saw hardship. Because of the bad choices her father made fueled by his determination to pursue his dreams, things didn’t go so well for Natasha’s family.
Once again, Nicola Yoon delivers another unforgettable story rich in love, family, and diversity. It’s not all fun and games, but her succinct intuitiveness in all things about culture, race, and relationships shine cover to cover.