I really wanted to like this one but…we, tragically, did not get along.
I finished The Sun Is Also A Star and just felt entirely mad. The author’s extremely famous debut, Everything Everything, was also not my favourite (#sadface) so I’m officially JUST A CANTANKEROUS MARMOT AND THESE BOOKS ARE NOT FOR ME. Which is okay! Books are subjective!
I’m very confident others will like this one because it is beautifully written…I just couldn’t handle the instalove.
- It features immigration representation! This is very exciting because it’s a topic I don’t see enough of in YA and we NEED IT. We have two narrators, Natasha and Daniel. Both are from immigrant families to the USA. Both immigration experiences are so entirely different. Natasha is an illegal immigrant from Jamaica and she is obsessed with facts and science. Daniel’s Korean family are forcing him to live the ultimate American Dream and be a doctor when he wants to be a poet. Also #OwnVoices? YES.
- Natasha and Daniel were both complex. They also had really different voices, which is a win win when it comes to multiple POVs.
- THE COVER IS FREAKING GORGEOUS. This needs to be said. #ShallowBookwormPriorities
- It’s a unique story. It takes place over one day…SO A LOT HAPPENS IN, LIKE, 12 HOURS. Buckle up, kids. We cram in finding your future, eating delicious food, being honest and open when it’s important, being venerable, taking risks — and it’s really easy to have your eyeballs glued to the page. Well done, book. Plus the words are beautiful.
- Did I mention the incredibly HIGH LEVELS OF INSTALOVE???? Because it drove me beyond mad. I basically packed my bags and moved to Severly Cranky territory which means I even stamped my foot a few times. Daniel is working with this theory that strangers can fall in love if they talk about deep questions and stare into each other’s eyes a lot. The first part of that turned the book into a pretentious ball of angst. They didn’t have a SINGLE normal conversation because it was all “WHY DON’T POETS TALK ABOUT THE SUN!” and “WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF GOOD AND HUMANITY AND CUSTARD TARTS!! WE SHOULD FIND OUT!!” (Okay. #lies Custard tarts did not enter this book and honestly that’s another reason it’s disappointing.) And it was just so not my thing. Also secondly staring at people’s eyes is weird and awkward. Lemme look at, like, your earlobe instead.
- Going from “strangers” to “WE WERE MEANT TO BE” in like 8 hours is unbelievable to me. I can’t swallow all these “it’s fate that I’m in love with you” lines.
There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.
THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF “INSTALOVE” OBVIOUSLY???? I felt like the book was trying say it wasn’t instalove, while being instalove.
- I didn’t understand a lot of Natasha and Daniel’s actions. For instance: at one point Daniel at one point saves her life and she gets annoyed because her headphones get broken in the process. What? Another instance: Daniel spends so. much. time outlining how horrible his brother is. And true! His brother is really awful. But when all Daniel talked about for his entire intro-chapters was how his brother was a jerk?? I was flipping pages like “When do we get the part where we explore who Daniel is?” It made him come across very whiny.
- Fair time to mention I don’t understand poetry. Where is my corner of shame. I shall relocate there.
- Coincidences. SO MANY COINCIDENCES. At first they were cute. At first they worked. You can set up a book with lucky coincidences just fine…but when the entire story only exists because of them?! It gets unbelievable real fast.
- Plus many ominipresent snippets. Let’s have a quick chapter from the POV of the security lady! And the train conductor! And the random violinist in the street! I get that the story wanted to show how a life can affect a billion other lives but…it really dragged me away from the story at hand and I felt confused and disorientated. I wanted to focus on knowing Daniel and Natasha.
- The prologue complicates apple pies so much. It’s just not on. Don’t ruin an apple pie with your pretentiousness.
To make a thing as simple as an apple pie, you have to create the whole wide world.
Or you could buy a tin of apples from Woolies + whack together some pastry + stick it in the oven = BOOM A PIE. Like, mate, I appreciate the thoughtful soul-searching and world-philosophising here (except not really) but you must understand know it’s easier to make a pie than this.
I don’t like instalove romances. I don’t like philosophical conversations that never seem realistic or natural and make me absolutely not click with the characters. And the overload of coincidences (especially the entire last chapter) just left me feeling like it’s fantasy when it’s supposed to be realistic contemporary.
But apparently everyone else on goodreads loves it so if you read it, I wish you all the best luck!
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was published November 2016.
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?
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