“Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?”
Nicola Yoon is easily one of my favorite YA contemporary authors now. I enjoyed her debut Everything, Everything, but The Sun Is Also a Star (TSIAAS from here on) really sealed the deal for me. TSIAAS, told in alternating perspectives with vignettes scattered throughout, follows our two main characters over the course of one day as they meet and fall in love. Or something like that.
Natasha doesn’t believe in love at first sight or fate – she believes in formulas and facts. Her family is being deported that evening, and she’s spending her last day in New York doing everything she can to prevent it. Daniel would much rather write poetry than go to Yale and become a doctor like his Korean parents expect. It shouldn’t work between them, but all they have is this one day.
It’s undeniable that this book is cute AF, and Nicola Yoon writes swoony worthy YA romance like none other. Her characters felt so real (more so than in Everything, Everything, just saying), and I loved them. What makes this book even more wonderful is how Yoon writes about the expectations and experiences of immigrant children. Yoon does not candy-coat the harsh realities of immigrating to America, and living in this country illegally. There is so much to unpack in this novel, but I especially loved how she portrays the tensions within each family, and how that has shaped Natasha and Daniel.
Natasha and Daniel, for that matter, are so unbelievably wonderful together. Definitely an opposites attract situation, but seeing their connection progress over the course of just a single day had me desperately hoping for an impossible ending. I was worried that this book would be an unrepentant tale of instalove, but I should have had more faith in Yoon. Natasha and Daniel have less than 24 hours together, but it felt like the most natural start to a relationship imaginable. I wouldn’t call this instalove, but rather instant connection. An instant promise of more.
I did run into a similar problem with TSIAAS that I had with Everything, Everything – there’s just something missing. I can’t even really explain it, but this wasn’t a perfect 5 star read for me. I know, I’ve been raving about this book and now what’s my problem? But I genuinely can’t describe it, there’s just been this disconnect with both of her novels for me.
That being said, TSIAAS is easily one of my favorite YA contemporaries of the year. It’s books like this that prevent me from entirely giving up on YA contemporary, because Yoon’s ability to craft a story is truly remarkable. Highly, highly recommend.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars
*I received this ARC from the publisher at BEA in exchange for a free & honest review.