I discovered Nicola Yoon with her first book, Everything Everything. I loved this book a lot and so was very excited to see she had something new out.
The Sun Is Also A Star is just as romantic as Everything Everything and just as heart-warmingly fluffy. It’s a book that I couldn’t wait to pick up again and found every spare moment in my day to read another little chunk.
It takes place over one day in New York City. Daniel, an American-born Korean boy, is about to have the most important interview of his life – the interview that will allow him to go to Yale – but he doesn’t want to go. He dreams of being a poet but does not want to disappoint his parents (that is his older brother Charlie’s job and he’s doing that really well). Enter Natasha, she is a Jamaican-born illegal resident who is about to be deported due to her father being arrested for a DUI. Natasha walks onto the road with headphones on and Daniel rescues her before she gets hit by oncoming traffic.
What happens next is a very sweet love story where Daniel and Natasha discuss life, love, their families and their futures. And yes, they fall in love in one day. They fight, they kiss, they sing terrible karaoke and they also make you feel every emotion and break your heart (and mend it again) along the way.
The premise is a little far-fetched it’s true, but that is the joy of this kind of young adult book. It isn’t about falling in love in one day. It is about life and chance encounters and not judging someone from their first appearance. It is about relationships, about family and about making the right choices. These sorts of books are about light escapism (well, they are for me) just so you can have one of those great <sigh> “that was lovely” moments when you finish it.
If that is what you are looking for in your life then PICK UP NICOLA YOON RIGHT NOW! Yes, that needed capitals because she is truly one of the best authors writing in this genre at the moment. Her characters are beautiful, flawed but filled with hope and perfectly written.
In between Daniel and Natasha’s stories come little insights into the people that they run into on their whirlwind of a day. You learn about the security guard who is contemplating suicide and how one greeting manages to change her mind. You learn about the immigration lawyer who is in a car crash that makes him rethink his entire life and you learn about the waitress who is so tied up in her heritage that she can’t understand why her son brought home a girlfriend of a different ethnicity.
The Sun Is Also A Star tackles topics of culture, heritage, science and fate and Yoon does it all with a tactful and courteous hand.
Now, I realize that sounds like some heavy topics to cover, but they didn’t seem that way when I was reading. I liked listening to Daniel’s free attitude compared to Natasha’s more logical, scientific reasoning. I liked hearing their philosophical questions and answers. It was simple, perfect and… just lovely.
I utterly adored The Sun Is Also A Star and will eagerly await the new Nicola Yoon whenever it comes. Bring on the next emotional roller coaster. I will be ready.