Book Club: The Sun is Also a Star
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I’ve been recommended this book by several of my friends and I finally made time to finish it. I was drawn to it because of the depiction of a multiracial relationship - a black Jamaican girl with a Korean American boy. Definitely not something that’s seen in media every day and definitely a relationship I kind of want to know more about.
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?
Related post: Book Club: Me Before You
This book is mostly unrealistic with the amount of coincidences between the two main characters, but just realistic enough to make you believe how the universe could conspire to make two people fall in love. No getting around it, it’s REALLY cute.
Natasha and Daniel, through a series of coincidences, meet several times on the day of Natasha’s deportation back to Jamaica. Daniel believes it’s fate and he’s falling in love. Natasha, ever the scientific mind, is more realistic about it (also, she doesn’t believe in love). Daniel decides to scientifically prove love to her.
Cheesy and cliche? Yes. Super cute? Definitely.
It’s funny because I’m not the most romantic person. Like I said in my review of Me Before You, I tend to get annoyed with most romantic stories but I actually really love Yoon’s writing style. Each chapter is told in the viewpoint of either Daniel or Natasha with an omniscient narrator in between chapters that explains the motivations of other minor characters that the two encounter. I actually loved the pieces with the narrator because it really hit home that while we read these minor characters as they are and while we can sometimes view strangers on the street as “minor characters” in our lives, they are people too with hopes, dreams, losses, and tragedies, just like us. My favorite was when the narrator gave a background story of a security guard Natasha smiled at as she passed. The narrator explains that the security guard had been contemplating suicide but Natasha’s brief smile made her get help that day. The universe conspires.
Related post: Book Club: An American Marriage
I really loved reading about the different experiences of immigrants and people of color. I closely related to Daniel because like me, he’s Korean-American with immigrant parents, though he was born in New York. There’s an interesting conversation he has with Natasha that I really related to where she asks where he’s from and he replies, “South Korea.” She later finds his birth country is the US and she tells him he shouldn’t say he’s from Korea then since it’s not true. He says it’s easier to say that he’s from there because when people ask where he’s from, what they’re really asking is what his ethnicity is. I’ve literally had that exact conversation with my friends before and it was so refreshing to see that being written for a general audience!
Natasha’s family is from Jamaica and learning about how her family came to the US, the struggles she’s had to endure and overcome, and her sense of belonging in the US and not Jamaica, was also important for me to read and I would say it’s important for a lot of people to read. I think it’s easy to see immigration and the undocumented status of immigrants as a black and white issue but the book really brought close to home why it really isn’t so clear cut. At the very least, it humanizes the issue.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I gave it five stars on Goodreads and it really deserved all of it!