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August 25, 2016
After the success of “Everything Everything”, fans everywhere have been anticipating the November release of Nicola Yoon’s upcoming novel. Set in New York, “The Sun Is Also a Star” focuses on seventeen-year-old New Yorkers Natasha and Daniel. While she is a firm believer in science, facts, and experiments, he has faith in fate and longs to be a poet. While her family is about to be deported, his parents are forcing him to be a Yale-graduated doctor. In the typical expectedly unexpected fashion, they find themselves thrown into a dizzying romance, but the responsibilities and expectations from everyone around them threaten to ruin their day old love story.
I have to say the way Nicola Yoon includes representation and racial identity in her books is really incredible. Neither main characters are white and realistically face racial issues as they would in the real world. Yoon lets racism from strangers and family affect both characters in completely different ways and truly incorporates it into the story. She doesn’t let it become a short quip that is forgotten in the romantic whisk. Parents do scold their children for not dating within their own race. People do stare at interracial couples on the streets. Children of first generation immigrants do question how American they are. These issues are not uncommon and she beautifully embeds them into her story.
As for the romance, Natasha and Daniel’s chemistry is palpable and deep conversations excessively cute. Even better is the fact they both grew so much from the experiences they shared. I also loved how theirs isn’t the only romantic relationship in the book. There are glimpses into marriages and blooming relationships of characters they interact with.
All the characters are (thankfully) endearing. No complaints about excessively irritating characters here (although Daniel’s infatuation with Natasha is a little off putting at times). In fact, each character (minor or not) is dealing with their own personal issues that make them more authentic and complex. It is obvious Yoon thought out each character very carefully and this makes the book come alive in the best way possible. However, the detail to minor characters arguably leads to the book’s biggest downfall as well: its organization. Although the points of view mostly switch from Natasha and Daniel, minor characters are given a page or two of backstory in between. Props to Yoon for actually showing readers the conflicts everyone is facing, but I feel it took away from the story at hand and wasn’t that necessary (except for one minor character). It’s hard to stay invested in the overarching plot when there are mini-narratives inserted in between. The idea had good intent, but the execution could’ve been better.
Even though the organization wasn’t the best, the characters and plot make up for it. Hopeless romantics and lovers of “Everything Everything” will definitely not be disappointed with “The Sun Is Also a Star”.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
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