The Sun Is Also A Star By Nicola Yoon – YA Reviews
Natasha and Daniel have one day to get together in The Sun Is Also A Star, a fleshed-out romance from Nicola Yoon that could leave you shipping the two main POC characters.
Here’s the blurb:
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?
And here’s what I think.
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon is a mishmash of a contemporary YA romance and the musical Cats. You know, that musical where cats sing about who they are (though The Sun Is Also A Star is nowhere near as long-winded).
The chapters vary from Natasha and Daniel’s point of view, and it’s threaded together by stories about other characters and discussions about multiverses, fate, and evolution. These multiple perspectives and discussions give the story a lot more depth as we get to intimately know the characters and the universe they inhabit.
Through these multiple perspectives, side characters are fleshed out. Natasha’s father starts as the Useless YA Novel Dad and becomes someone who we grow to understand and even sympathise with. We get a background to Daniel’s life through his brother and parents, and – because of that – we grow to understand him more.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the novel was the blooming romance between the main characters. Despite the book being set over the course of one day, Natasha and Daniel grow close and get to know each other really well. Some may call this “insta-love” and, while that may be true, it’s more than that.
There’s a time limit to the novel that gives their story urgency. Scenes that could have been peppered over the course of a few week are all squashed into one day. Once the pair meet, Natasha and Daniel must race against the clock to get to know each other while their lives are being propelled in opposite directions. Through their relationship, the two characters learn hard truths and are forced to confront their demons.
I’m usually not one for “insta-love” books, but I found this version to be realistic and it had me “shipping” the two main characters right from the very start. I found it even more compelling because Natasha and Daniel are both People of Colour (POC) and seeing two POC in a fluffy romance novel that explores the characters and their heritage and culture AND have it done really well was a delight.
The Sun Is Also A Star is not without its problems. My main (and only) problem with the novel is that it uses ableist words like “crazy”. While ableist words are entrenched in everyday language, it’s important to remember that using these words is not okay. There’s a great article by authors Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley called the Introduction to Disability Terminology that goes into more detail about this. It’s highly debated whether authors should include such “problematic” terms in a novel, but personally, it took me out of the novel and made what could have been a 5 star novel into a 4.5 star novel.
Despite its flaws, The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon is a fluffy romance with a lot of substance. It explores the two main characters and poses great questions about the universe and fate. In the space of one day the novel is fast-paced yet goes into a lot of depth about many things. Whether you like “insta-love” or not, I highly recommend that you read this book.
Tagged in: YA fiction and films