The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – Destiny mixed with cynicism has never been so beautiful

Summary:

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?

My review:

I won’t lie: when I finished reading The Sun Is Also A Star, I cried my eyes out. Have you ever read a book that just nudges and moves a part of your soul? The Sun Is Also A Star did that for me. And then some.

The first thing you should know before reading this book is that it is wildly ‘unrealistic’. The second thing is that it is a romance. So, it is a wildly unrealistic romance. But before you decide that it isn’t for you, I implore you to give it a chance. Why, because Yoon has spun a story where ‘unrealistic romance’ is not a fault at all.

Instead, in describing this book, I prefer the words improbable and whimsical. The Sun Is Also A Star is not the kind of story that endeavours to be grounded or realistic. Rather, I think The Sun Is Also A Star endeavours to be a book that illuminates the mysterious power of cause and effect, how the smallest of gestures can become hurricanes that reshape the entirety of who we are and how we give life meaning. Or perhaps in simpler terms, The Sun Is Also A Star is about fate.

Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.

Going in, I was very skeptical. I was not a fan of Everything, Everything (at all!), but I had also heard how extraordinary this book was. Even a third into this book, I still wasn’t convinced. But as the story began to develop, the characters began to develop, as everything slowly came together, it got exponentially better. I began to really love cynical Natasha and dreamer Daniel, but, more importantly, I began to understand them. The storytelling peels them back, layer by layer, revealing two teenagers who, despite their facades and how they stick to their guns, are vulnerable individuals with desires, dreams, and hopes. And the ending – absolutely beautiful. I have no words for it except for incoherent, bumbling sobs.

Apart from it’s grander and more romantic themes, The Sun Is Also A Star also offers a fantastic and complex perspective on the immigrant experience, immigration itself, racism, and the tremendous weight of family and expectations. Through multiple perspectives (that never get confusing to read!), the explorations are complex, honest, but full of heart. Moreover, in between some chapters are short chapters that detail a ‘brief history’ of something; I thought I would be bored and would skip these chapters, but instead, I was enamoured and fascinated. Usually I would argue that such chapters break up the flow of the story, but in The Sun Is Also A Star, the ‘brief history’ chapters are deliberate and meaningful. Contrary to my initial expectation, they enhanced the story.

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.

The narratives in The Sun Is Also A Star were utterly stunning and poignant. As readers, we see how past, present, and future weave together and how immense things are, and how things come together in a single moment for one person. Best of all, Yoon writes these moments with incredible tenderness but with gravitas. Indeed, Yoon’s writing is absolutely spectacular and implores you to appreciate the beautiful and mundane things in life. In a time where more is more is more, I enjoyed being reined back a little to see the bigger picture.

I know that this review may come off quite cryptic to people who haven’t read this book, but I promise it’s because this book is best experienced knowing little to nothing at all about the events of the story. It’s a whirlwind of an adventure, one that is full of love, family, and the magic of firsts. There were some parts that were bittersweet and made my heart ache like was the one who went through everything, but that it just made the book all the more powerful.

So, The Sun Is Also A Star in a word? Wonderful.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | My review on Goodreads


Is this book for you?

Premise in a sentence: All within a day, two teens meet under (extra)ordinary circumstances and fall in love.

Perfect for: Readers who love a good romance, and like themes of fate and destiny.

Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance

Recommended? Yes, but only if you don’t mind something that is ‘unrealistic’.


Let’s discuss!

  • Have you read The Sun Is Also A Star? What did you think?
  • Do you like books with fate and destiny (and love)?
  • I loved the rep in this book, especially that there was an interracial romance! What are some of your favourite books with an interracial romance?
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24 thoughts on “The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – Destiny mixed with cynicism has never been so beautiful

  1. Yayyy so great to hear your thoughts on this CW! It’s one of my favourite books as well and I agree with you about everything to do with the immigrant experiences, the way it integrated different perspectives, and how poignant it was. I also adored that ‘love at second sight’ quote! Other ones I loved: “I love this part of getting to know someone. How every new piece of information, every new expression, seems magical” and “He’s told them nothing about his past. He does it because he’s a father who loves his sons fiercely, and it’s his way of protecting them…They don’t know that poverty is a sharp knife carving away at you. They don’t know what it does to a body. To a mind.” (so heartbreaking *sniff*) And yes, I originally went in with lower expectations because of the unrealistic one-day romance but the way it was depicted felt so incredibly real <3

    • Hi Wendy!
      Yesssss!! My thoughts exactly.
      Oh goshh, those quotes *clutches chest, tear rolls down face* I think the quote about getting to know someone captures the magic of falling in love. I love that quote so much. 💛

  2. I haven’t read Everything, Everything yet, but it’s on my shelf and I plan to read it soon. I have seen mixed reviews about it though, so if I end up disliking it as well it’s good to know that you really enjoyed this one despite not enjoying Everything, Everything :) I’m definitely going to give this one a chance!

  3. I felt the same for this book!! I’d heard many critisicm regarding the “insta love” and how improbable it was, but this book WORKED despite this! Broke my heart and healed it back together <3 I'm glad I gave this a chance even after being left disappointed by EE!

    • Hi Lucille!
      Ahhhh you totally capture my feelings about the book precisely. I think it worked too; perhaps loved it more because of it. The book is about miracles after all, right?!

      Ughhh yes, broke my heart and mended it back together is SO accurate. 💛

  4. This is a beautiful review! You put to words everything I felt after reading this book but wasn’t articulate enough to say. Both Natasha and Daniel were wonderful and I was able to relate to a lot of different aspects of their storylines. I also enjoyed the chapter breaks and thought they were beautifully done.

    • Hi Shouni!
      Oh wow, thank you so much for your kind words! This review was the kind that just poured out of me. I loved and felt so much for this book.

      I’m glad you enjoyed all those things; I enjoyed them too. 💛 totally agree with the chapter breaks; they were definitely beautifully done and brought it all the much closer to home, if that makes sense!

  5. I have still yet to read this! And it’s good to know that it’s nothing like Everything, Everything (I did not like that book unfortunately).

    Love your cryptic review! I think it is always better when you go into a book blind. That way it’s more of a surprise :)

    • Oh hi Valerie!! How are you? Long time no talk! 💛

      I didn’t like EE either. The ending was so cheap to me and I felt so cheated.
      But, TSIAAS is pure loveliness. I hope you get the chance to read it. 💛 And I totally agree! The books and movies I don’t know much about end up being some of my best reading/cinematic experiences.

  6. I absolutely love this book. It’s so thoughtful and philosophical in a very clever way. And I loved how it ended so so much. You reveiwed it very well :) I love the interracial romance in Team Human. As a product of an interracial romance I’m very fond of seeing that in books.

    • Hi Shanti!
      Aw, thank you for your kind words! I totally agree; it’s also so warm and lovely too. I felt so hopeful after reading it. 💛
      I’ve never heard of Team Human; what is it about?

      Aw, I trust your judgement! I’m in an interracial relationship and those books have a special place in my heart too. 💛

  7. I don’t think I’ll ever read Everything, Everything (just doesn’t really appeal to me) but I do want to read this one one day! Great review!!

    • Hi Savannah! Thank you so much!
      To be honest, I don’t recommend Everything Everything. It’s strewn with problems and the ending was sooooo cheap too.
      The Sun Is Also A Star, however, is far better than EE and so much lovlier too. I hope you get the chance to read TSIAAS someday. 💛

    • Hi AJ!
      Aw I’m glad too! I was sooo sceptical because I didn’t like EE, but am glad I gave this book a chance. 💛
      Ahh fate and destiny tropes are my weakness, especially if pertaining to a romance. I hope you get the chance to read it and like it as much as I do. 💛

  8. I LOVED this book. I read it a few months back when I was not in a very good place (Brexit, Trump, etc), and it really started to help me feel like maybe the world wasn’t the worst place ever. Maybe, haha.

    • Hi Lydia!
      Awww, I hear you. I totally know what you mean. I remember sharing the ending with my sister (I read it via audiobook) and we both had a happy cry. It just makes you feel so hopeful, you know? 💛

  9. Wow This sounds like my kind of story T_T; My heart twinges reading your review, imagine the real feels when actually reading the book….

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