Nicola Yoon has taken the YA world by storm. She debuted in 2015 with Everything, Everything. Recommended to me because the main character is a halfie (something I always find myself drawn to), I didn’t find the book as satisfying as I’d hope to.
The next year, she published her second novel, The Sun Is Also A Star. Drawn in by the huge amount of hype and its beautiful cover, I found myself picking it up on a whim when passing the book section in a local department store.
I’ll admit right now that I wasn’t expecting much. Contemporary YA isn’t exactly what I’d call my favourite genre. Yet by the time I’d reached The Sun Is Also A Star’s final page, I completely understood why this book has had such an astonishing reception.
The story predominantly follows two young characters. Natasha is unrelentingly practical and logical… and on the cusp of deportation to Jamaica. Daniel is a dreamer, suffocated by his parents’ high expectations of him and a toxic relationship with his older brother.
The two meet in the city by chance and, despite Natasha’s reservations, fall in love instantly. Sure, the insta-love is a little cringy, but hey! It’s a favourite of the genre, so I can’t complain. Their whirlwind romance is really, really sweet to read about. It’s nice to watch Natasha as she becomes more open to the idea of true love. Honestly, the fact that Natasha is so adamantly against the notion of insta-love is probably why I didn’t balk at it nearly as much as I usually do.
I also really enjoyed the introduction to both of their families. I found it such a nice way to add some depth to their characters. It also really brought in the element of race, but in a very natural way.
There are also snippets throughout of side characters. I didn’t care much for them at first, but nearer the end I found myself more drawn to them. They added a nice complexity to the novel. They really highlighted how interwoven our lives become… that we influence and have an impact on other people’s lives with every breath we take.
There was just something about this novel that made me feel something. I was rooting for Natasha and Daniel the entire way through… and I thought the ending was phenomenal. For all the unlikelihood of their short romance, the ending brought back a sense of realism.
The Sun Is Also A Star is a heart-warming novel about romance, family, dreams and fate. Although it starts as a typical contemporary YA love story, it very quickly becomes something infinitely more interesting and complex.