Friday, October 28, 2016

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, and I have to say, it is for one of my most anticipated releases of the year. And that book is The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon! 


I was able to snag an ARC of this book back at BookCon, and while a review was not requested, I am providing one because it is an early copy of the book. As always, all opinions are my own.

First of all, I will preface this review, nay, gush session, by saying that Nicola Yoon is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I loved her debut Everything, Everything and I went into this book nervous, but hopeful that she could pull off another success. Let me just tell you, it was magnificent.

I loved *almost* every aspect of this book.

The story follows two main characters, Daniel and Natasha. Daniel is the second son of first generation Korean immigrants. Both he and his older brother Charlie were born in the States, but his family still very much strives for the Korean ideals, especially those within an immigrant family. While his older brother is on academic probation at Harvard, Daniel is expected to become a doctor. On the day they met, Daniel is on his way to his interview with a Yale alumni, someone who will hopefully solidify his acceptance.

Natasha and her family are undocumented immigrants from Jamaica. They moved to America when Natasha was 8 and her younger brother was born there. And, as it turns out, the day she and Daniel meet, she is leaving, being deported back to Jamaica. Her father, a struggling actor is trying to support his family, but his minor mistake has a major impact. Natasha won't go to college with her friends, she won't experience senior year. On the day they met, Natasha was on her way to meet someone to help save her family from being deported.

Obviously, this is a love story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, end of story, right? Well, not really. While Daniel, the sensitive poet, falls head over heels for Natasha, pretty much at *second* sight, she isn't so convinced. After watching her own parents relationship crumble under the daily stresses, Natasha is skeptical. Especially because she doesn't really believe in love, or fate for that matter. She is a believer in science, and love isn't scientifically quantifiable.

There are many threads connecting the two, and this bittersweet romance shows the many ways in which people are connected.

I won't say too much more about plot, because I don't want to spoil anything but just know that not everything is how it seems.

I really loved how this story was told. There were the two main perspectives of Daniel and Natasha of course, but you also got the thoughts of those people who are connected to them, in small, short chapters. The security guard that checks Natasha's  bag at Immigration Services, Natasha's father, the guy who almost kills Natasha with his car, the Yale alum who's office is in the same building as Natasha's lawyer. Everyone is connected if you look hard enough, and this book gives small snippets of everyone around them.

This book also deals with some more serious topics. In addition exploring the world of immigrants, especially those who are undocumented, this book looks at race and how the world sees people of colour. I really loved how the roles were almost reversed, Natasha was the science lover who didn't believe in love, and Daniel was the hopeless romantic. So many times we see the player who needs to be shown that love exists and the girl tries to show him the way. This was the opposite of that, and I kind of loved that.

I also adored the ending. I wouldn't say too much, but basically you find out what happens, if Natasha gets to stay, or if she has to go, and then the epilogue just kind of speeds up over the course of a few years. You see what happened to everyone who was affected by these two teenagers, and the end, oh man the end. Prepare yourself for some tears. Nicola Yoon will shatter your heart, glue it back together and then stomp on it again. I've never gone through so many emotions before in such a small span of pages.

The one, minute thing I didn't love about this book was the insta-love. Now before you get the pitchforks, let me explain. I get that this book, being set in one day, doesn't really have a lot of time to develop a real relationship. But I just felt like Daniel looked at Natasha after like 10 minutes of knowing her and he was in love. I don't know if that's love or infatuation, I guess I'm a bit of a skeptic. Nonetheless, the romance and how it developed was still cute.

Overall, you don't want to miss this book. Whether or not you've read her debut, or whether or not you liked her debut, pick this one up.