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review 2018-12-04 11:15
2/5: The Sun is also a Star
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

Daniel decides to take his time getting to an interview that will determine the rest of his life. Natasha has a day left in America, and maybe a little longer if the universe allows it. Watching over all this with an omniscient eye into the past and the future is The Universe. All three of them bump together in one day in New York…

Let me start this with an admission: I am a romantic. I cry at the end of You’ve Got Mail. Every time. Sometimes I mist up when I write out my wife’s birthday cards. I wanted these two to be in love as much as they did.

But they weren’t. Infatuation, maybe…but love is adoring the creases, not just the ironed smooth surfaces. Love is your partner driving you crazy and you love them anyway, moaning at you because they had a bad day at work and they don’t have anyone else to vent to. It isn’t something you can feel about someone in a day. Daniel and Natasha didn’t touch me and their relationship didn’t move me the way it should have.

Let’s start at the beginning. The way Daniel and Natasha meet is just plain creepy. Dan decides to follow Nat on a whim, and despite his claims he’s not doing it to stalk her, he clearly is. Please don’t encourage this behaviour, writers. Please don’t make some impressionable teen believe he-she is going to win his-her heart by following someone around. All they’re going to get (and deserve) is maced.

The narrative switches between Daniel and Natasha chapter by chapter, and towards the middle of the book, I came to realise how similar they were. By the end, I had to check the pronouns to see who was talking. Daniel is supposed to be poetic, but his inner dialogue is the same as Natasha, the hard headed scientist. There were no verbal tics or mannerisms that separated them. Nothing made them stand out.

The most enjoyable parts were the little asides by The Universe, a cool and dispassionate voice of a removed narrator. A woman Natasha meets at a government building who wants to commit suicide; the security guard they meet on a roof. The backstory and forward story of Daniel’s brother and his family. I kept seeing this as a play where the stage would darken and a spotlight would rest on The Universe and the highlighted minor character while the other actors froze in place.

The chapters were short and the writing staccato, in brief bursts of sentences, and that pulled me through the story in only five days. Perhaps that was one of the problems with the dual narrative: I didn’t spend enough time with Daniel before head hopping into Natasha, and then back again.

There were good parts though – Natasha’s delight at explaining the grandfather paradox and the Novikov self-consistency principle. Any book that manages to get those into a YA romance deserves a nod just for trying it. I enjoyed seeing the lives that interacted with Daniel and Natasha as they dropped into their own bubble world for the single day they had. There was a nice mirror relationship between Daniel's father and Natasha's.

But it didn’t move me. I should have been reaching for the tissues at the end of this, not the book I’m going to read next.

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review 2018-09-30 00:00
Lift Off
Lift Off - Lamar Giles,Nicola Yoon,Malin... Lift Off - Lamar Giles,Nicola Yoon,Malinda Lo,Melissa de la Cruz,Sara Farizan,Sharon Flake,Eric Gansworth,Walter Dean Myers,Daniel José Older,Thien Pham,Jason Reynolds,Gene Luen Yang Eraser Tattoo: 3.75
Meet Cute: 3
Don't pass me by: 4
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text 2018-08-20 20:53
What a Wonderful Book
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

I needed a palate cleaner after finishing "Leah and the Off-Beat." After reading this book and then watching "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" I maybe was in teen rom-com heaven all weekend. I also possibly wrapped things up by re-watching "Pretty in Pink." No I loathe "16 Candles" (come at me!) and "Pretty in Pink" always has me all in the feels.


"The Sun is Also A Star" starts off slow, but ends in a wonderful bang. Yoon does a fantastic job of weaving the two main leads stories (Natasha and Daniel) but also the many people who impact their choices, past, present, and future. I didn't think at first it would work, but does it work. Yoon will have you swooning over Natasha and Daniel and your heart will break when Yoon shows the practicalities behind two teens who are off to do separate things in their lives and be torn apart by a huge distance/culture.


"The Sun is Also A Star" has Natasha dealing with the fall out of her family being deported back to Jamaica. Natasha is desperate to stay in America and goes one more time to try to get anyone to help her. If no one does, she and her family have to fly out that night to Jamaica. 

Daniel is preparing for the most important interview of his life. His family has it's hopes set on him becoming a doctor. After his older brother who always seemed to have everything going for him messes up, even more of his parents focus is on Daniel.

When Daniel and Natasha meet, Daniel has love at first sight, and Natasha has you are so acting weird, and I have things to do sight. I love that Natasha is more logical and scientific and doesn't believe in love. Not after her ex cheated on her and what she has seen her mother have to put up with while her father follows his dreams. Daniel does believe in love though due to seeing how his parents are with one another. He decides to trail Natasha for a few hours to get her to see that they could be something. 


I loved that both of these characters are the children of immigrants. Daniel's family is Korean and Natasha's are Jamaican. They both feel differently about America though. For Natasha being in the states and getting to go to college is the most important thing. For Daniel, it's just something he is being forced to do.

Yoon is also able to weave a lot of history into this book. She explains African American women and their hair, and heck even why so many Koreans seem to own black hair stores in New York and other places. 


The other characters we meet manage to sing in the short time they are with you. I wanted to read all of their stories. Yoon gives you enough to figure out the future of Daniel's ass of an older brother, his parents, Natasha's parents, and her brother. We also hear about some people they meet (Natasha's immigration attorney, a security guard in a building, a Korean women taking their food order, etc.)


The writing was really good and the flow improves after the first dozen pages.


The setting of New York is shown differently here. Not a sparkly, happy, we can be whoever we want here New York. Instead we get an indifferent one at times though you get to see why both characters love it.


The ending hit me hard. So very good. 

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text 2018-08-18 02:50
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

Damn book made me cry. Ridiculously good. 5 stars.

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review 2018-07-20 01:34
Review: The Sun is Also a Star
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star, is a breathtaking adventure. It's filled with fact vs. fate. 


The story follows two teenagers, Natasha Kingsley, a 17-year-old Jamaican immigrant who is on the brink of deportation and Daniel Bae, a 17-year-old Korean American who is on the brink of making his own choice or following what his parents want. They cross paths, Daniel is convinced its destiny, Natasha doesn't believe in destiny, mostly because she doesn't want to.  


Nevertheless, Natasha and Daniel go on an emotional journey together, and it changes them for the better. 


This novel is absolutely incredible. Yoon doesn't fail to bring every emotion out of you through her words. 


It is extremely well-written, and it is written in the perspective of Natasha and Daniel as well as supporting characters (and minor characters) that they cross paths with. It's captivating, beautiful, funny, riveting. It is a must-read. 


I give it 5 stars. 



P.S. The Sun is Also a Star is being adapted into a movie featuring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton scheduled for release in 2019. 

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