“Maybe part of falling in love with someone is also falling in love with yourself. I like who I am with her. I like that I say what’s on my mind. I like that I barrel ahead despite the obstacles she raises. Normally I would give up, but not today.” Daniel, page 150
The Sun is Also a Star is easily one of the most relatable books I have ever read. The characters are so real and the struggles they’re going through are so real and relevant to what’s going on in the US right now. I will forever be grateful for Nicola Yoon’s existence because this book was incredible.
It follows the story of a girl named Natasha, an undocumented Jamaican teenager whose family is about to be deported that night, and Daniel, a second-generation Korean-American whose parents want him to go to Yale and become a doctor, but he would rather become a poet. While it takes on immigration and what it means to be a person of color in America, at its core it’s a beautiful and magical story about love, family, and music that’ll take you all over New York City.
At first I was skeptical about the entire timeline of this book being one day, but Nicola Yoon pulled it off magnificently. It wasn’t what I expected, but I loved it! The POVs switch mainly between Natasha and Daniel, but there are also other characters, and topics, that get their own chapters. I found it really interesting and the voice Nicola has just makes everything feel magical. That, and the role of fate. I would say a major theme of this book is how one thing leads to another and the impact of every action we make on our lives and the lives of others. It’s a love story about two people who met and fell in love in one day. And it’s a story about relationships and how we are all connected to each other.
I think this book is so relevant right now with all the conversations about immigration. Natasha’s family is undocumented and they’re being deported. While she was born in Jamaica and spent the first 8 years of her life there, New York is now her home. It’s where her life is and where her friends are. It’s the place she knows and now she’s being forced to leave. I feel like there’s a lot of stigma surrounding undocumented immigrants, and I think it’s really important that through this book we are able gain perspective on what it means to be undocumented.
This book also does an incredible job at honestly portraying what it’s like to be a person of color, especially a child of immigrants, in America. This book tackles stereotypes and how that impacts a person. It discusses what it means to be American and what it means to be American, but also identify with a certain ethnic group. A major source of conflict in Daniel’s storyline is finding that balance of the Korean and American part of him and how he reacts to it, and how his brother, Charlie reacts to it. As a second-generation Asian-American, I found it immensely relatable. In the book, it’s mentioned how Charlie turns his back on his brother and his culture because he wants to fit in with society, most meaning White-American-society. I could really identify with that because in my life, I’ve experienced that pressure to assimilate into American culture and I’ve seen it. I also related to that feeling of being different and of wanting to fit in, of wishing you could fit in.
I absolutely loved how this book centered around diverse characters who are your “average” teenagers. Their backgrounds certainly play a huge role in the book, but it’s not all that they are. They’re teenagers contemplating their future, going on dates, falling in love. It’s so great to have a main female lead be a black girl with wonderful curly natural hair and to have an Asian male lead who is the love interest and a poet. I loved how Nicola Yoon portrayed them and described them.
My only qualm with this book was the ending. Even though this is contemporary, it feels magical. It’s set on one fall day in New York City and it’s about love and meant-to-be and fate, and then the ending happens. It’s realistic and I think it fits the book well, but it felt a little anticlimactic. I wanted more.
This book has definitely made it on my recommendation list. I’m giving it 4.5 stars. The Sun is Also a Star is a book I think everyone should read.
Love Always, Belinda