The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is the best book I’ve read all year. Five stars. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started it, but the book swept me away, immediately and completely.
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?
As you may have guessed, themes of fate and love abound in this book.
What immediately struck me, was Yoon’s stellar characterization. Her writing is welcoming, fun. I immediately connected with her characters. What’s better, the unique qualities of her characters stood out right away. Even without their names heading each chapter, I would easily be able to determine whose perspective I was reading simply by the way they think (by the way it’s written). Daniel thinks in headlines and parentheses, Natasha in quantifiable facts. Their personalities are perfectly displayed throughout the book, even as those personalities change.
The depth portrayed within each character and all of the side characters is astounding. Yoon is fantastic. Despite their negative qualities, despite their occasional rude behavior or mess-ups, I still absolutely loved the two protagonists. How is that possible? Typically when I read about protagonists’ lesser personality traits or failings, I like them a little less. Not here. Yoon’s characters are 100% real, 100% dynamic, and I still absolutely adored them!
I was constantly smiling, laughing aloud, or tearing up at parts while I read. The story is beautiful, worthy of being told. Even when the initial giddiness of romance wore off and the events in the story progressed with more weight, more gravity, I remained completely enthralled.
I don’t regularly read contemporary YA, but at the very least this book is a stand out in its focus on immigrant families. Family dynamics are wonderfully captured, and every individual member of each family is complex.
For writers, this book is an excellent study in characterization, perspective, and tense. Plenty more can be learned from this book, but I’ll leave it to you to discover what.
For readers of YA or not, for fans of romance or not, I think this book is worthy of being read by just about everyone, because at its heart, this is a story about humanity. This book is about how we can have profound effects on one another even with only the slightest of interactions. The Sun is Also a Star is one of those instant favorites that I can see myself reading over and over again. I highly recommend this five star read!