Hello fellow Deweys!
Today I finished reading Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star. I absolutely loved her novel Everything, Everything so I was excited to see a copy her latest book on my library's ya shelf. The Sun is Also a Star is a love story that tackles the scientific perspective of love against the romantic perspective, by finding ways to blend the two together in order to find an example of a love that is real. This novel also goes beyond the typical ya romance by broaching tough issues such as deportation and family racism.
Natasha and her family are from Jamaica. Natasha's father came to America to pursue a dream of acting. A dream that has not been able to support the family of four. When the family's visa's expire and Natasha's father is in trouble for a DUI, the family faces deportation. Natasha, who has dreams of going to college, tries to fight her own deportation but nonetheless fails. At one point the reader feels sympathy for Natasha. Is it her fault that her family came to America, allowed her to grow up here, and ultimately let her down? Should she pay for her parent's mistakes? In the novel, Yoon mentions that Natasha knew her family was illegal and that her mother was going to buy her a Social Security Card with real stolen numbers so she could go to college. Knowing that her mother was going to do that for her, and now can't, makes Natasha's heart break a little. However, Yoon also mentions through the voice of Daniel, the boy Natasha falls in love with, that Natasha shouldn't be blamed because "She was a kid. She didn't have choice. It's not like she could have said Mom, Dad, our visa expired. We should go back to Jamaica now" (Yoon, 2017, p. 294). This makes the reader wonder could Natasha have said something? Or is this newly found love blind?
The relationship between Natasha and Daniel forms within 1 day. In fact, the entire novel minus the last 10 or so pages encapsulates that of a single day. For me this seemed to diminish the credibility of their love. Personally, I believe in love at first sight because I've experienced it. Is it a love that works and lasts forever? Well, that's up in the air. But it definitely is and can be a love that is real. It's the amount of activities and conversations within the novel that take place within a single day that I don't believe in. Along with the relationship of Natasha and Daniel, Yoon ties in the struggle of familial racism. Daniel, a Korean boy, is supposed to fall in love with a nice Korean girl. Not Natasha. Yet they do anyway.
While the format of The Sun is Also a Star mainly bounces between the perspectives of Natasha and Daniel, other perspectives are also thrown in, such as Natasha's father, a server in a Korean restaurant, a flight attendant, and explanations of science. For me this gave the novel a unique and well rounded spin. However, that one day story line sort of irked me. So For the Love of Dewey Readers, I leave you with a rating of 3 out of 5 Coffee Beans.
Yoon, N. (2016). The sun is also a star. New York: Delacorte Press.