Buy The Sun Is Also A Star
Regular price: $12.99
Publisher: Ember / Listening Library
Format: Paperback / Audiobook
Narrators: Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee, and Dominic Hoffman
Reviewer: Melissa on Apr. 12, 2021
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Natasha is a teen girl who believes in science and facts. She doesn’t believe in fate or destiny. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who would fall in love with a boy she randomly meets on a crowded NYC street. Not when her family is scheduled to be deported back to Jamaica later tonight. Daniel has always been the good son; the one who is a good student and who is living up to his parents’ high expectations. He’s not a poet or a dreamer. But there’s something about meeting Natasha that makes him believe that fate has something extraordinary in store—for both of them. In Nicola Yoon‘s The Sun Is Also A Star, readers are brought into the single moment that brought Natasha and Daniel together. A million possible futures lie before them. Which one will come true?
The Sun Is Also A Star is such a beautiful novel about all of the possible universes and all the possible versions of the characters presented. I expected to read about Natasha and Daniel’s impossible love story—impossible because they meet on the very day that Natasha and her family are set to be deported—and it is that, of course. The romance is partially told through the lens of a quarter of the questions in the New York Times article called “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love” from 2015. (This is actually the second YA novel that I know of that was inspired by that article. The first one I read was a Canadian novel called 36 Questions that Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant.) According to the article, if two strangers ask and answer each of the 36 questions honestly with one another and stare into each other’s eyes for a total of four minutes, then they will fall in love. However, in Yoon’s novel, this is only one aspect of the story, not the entire hook of the book, which makes it a fresh and exciting book to read.
I initially picked up a hardcover copy of this book back when it first released because I loved Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything so much, but due to my work responsibilities at the time, I didn’t get around to reading it. Even now, while I have the hardcover on my shelf, it was easier for me, somehow, to pick up and listen to the audiobook through the Libby app one night when I was looking for an audiobook to turn on while I was falling asleep. I’m so glad that I finally read Yoon’s second novel, but to be honest, I kind of regret not being able to read it earlier because it really is so amazing. You see, when I picked it up, I expected a love story, and I’m sure that I would’ve enjoyed it had it not been anything more than a YA romance. However, it’s also a brief glimpse into the lives of a few other key characters who Natasha and Daniel meet over the course of the day and some of their family members. And when I say key characters, I don’t necessarily mean that these characters are all major players in the book. Some of them are the kind of characters that had Yoon not included them, you wouldn’t think anything was amiss.
Irene, for example, is a security guard at the USCIS building Natasha visits in an attempt to stop her family’s deportation. As far as I remember, they don’t really talk, but Natasha remembers her from visiting this building in the past due to Irene’s peculiar way of touching each person’s belongings. When such a minor character got her own POV—even for though it’s a relatively short section of the book—I knew it would have to be for an important reason. And it was. Irene isn’t the only character who gets this kind of treatment. Each instance where the author wants readers to know about a secondary or minor character, they’ve either made an impression on Natasha or Daniel (or both of them), and you should trust that, eventually, they will make a real impression on the reader.
Like a seriously big impression. I actually cried while listening to the final chapter in this book because of the voice of one of these super minor characters who packed a huge emotional punch. It’s an important reminder of how a small thing, like a smile or a thank you, can make a life or death difference to someone else. It can make people feel seen, and if they feel seen, then maybe they’ll realize there is something worth fighting for when all their hope is lost.
It’s a story about fate, about how a born again transit employee might have Daniel looking for signs of God in the world around him. It’s a story about the mysteries of science and coincidence. And, most importantly, it’s a story that you’ll never forget.
If you’re looking for a book that will touch you in a meaningful way, then you should definitely pick up The Sun Is Also A Star!