Does fate exist? Can we meet someone one day that will change us for years to come? What measures would we travel to change course? The Sun is Also a Star considers these questions.
Meet Daniel, a Korean-American kid dealing with immigrant dreams placed upon him before birth. He wants to attend college, major in English, and write poetry. His parents want him to attend Yale and become a doctor…even if Yale’s the second best school (He’s older brother attends Harvard).
Meet Natasha, Jamaican-born and American since eight years old, she dreams of becoming a data scientist as she adores science and facts. Yet, science cannot change the fact that she’s being deported by night’s end.
In one day, their lives collide, changing course for them, their families, and their futures.
I’m not big on romance, but this story warmed my heart. First, you have the diversity of the two characters and their families. But, you also have the unease the teens share in a world not open to their combination. I couldn’t help but associate parts of this story with Nicola Yoon’s marriage to her husband: she Jamaican-born and he Korean-American. Whatever the case, while insta-love permeates this story (Oh, how I detest this trope so), you suspend disbelief to wonder what fate holds for them by the story’s heart-warming and bittersweet ending. Nothing’s coincidental. If love’s meant to be, love will find a way. See epilogue.
Second, while I’m on the fence with multiple perspectives, most characters received at least one chapter – and I mean almost everyone – either in their own point of view or third-person. They’re connected with realizing their parts to play. By the epilogue, light bulbs flickered above each reader’s head. In-between each character’s chapter, Yoon dispersed information (e.g. social, cultural, and scientific) throughout the book. For example, the chapter on hair, where hair’s described as not solely what grows from one’s scalp throughout the African diaspora hit me hard. Yet, the chapter fueled the context of the previous and subsequent chapters of concern.
Last, but not least, every book, no matter how enthralling owns a con or two. One, the story’s a bit slow in the beginning. I didn’t want to DNF (Do Not Finish), but I took my time reading this book in comparison to my other books. Thankfully, once the book found its rhythm, I enjoyed what ride Yoon offered. Second, I’d like to see Yoon write a book without the “Insta-Love” or “Star-Crossed Lovers” tropes. She relies on them too much. Challenge: Write one book without either and you’ll have a fan for life. Third, I would’ve liked more natural dialogue. I felt I didn’t follow teens, but college students or people in their twenties. They spoke almost too aware of themselves.
Yet, those cons failed to hurt my ultimate rating: 4. Dare I mention I almost shed tears while reading the epilogue. Yes, I’m hammering home the epilogue. READ THE EPILOGUE.