The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Read By: Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee, Dominic Hoffman
Length: 8 hours and 4 minutes
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?
After my mixed feelings about Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, I was a bit hesitant about this one. I was nervous that I wasn’t going to like it as much as everybody else (which is okay, but still nobody likes to be the ugly duckling) and then I’d have to wonder what was wrong with me since everyone else seems to enjoy her work. Happy to report, though, that I did enjoy this one quite a bit more than I did her debut. Let’s talk…
I had so many feelings while reading this book, and most of them were not good feelings. It is obvious that this book talks about a sensitive subject. Not only is the subject sensitive, but it’s also a subject that not a lot of books, especially YA, are exploring. Which, given the current state of this county and everything going around immigration and refugees, is even more important now than ever. I felt like my heart was being squeezed the entire time I was reading this. It made me uncomfortable that there are people dealing with this every single day. It made me feel guilty because I have never paid attention to it, and that I’ve been blind to it for so long because it hasn’t directly impacted me. It made me angry because there are people who genuinely fight to be here in the United States and are not taking it for granted like most of the citizens do, but they get shit for it just because.
There were a lot of hidden little “lessons” throughout this book. At least for me. Was it intentional? I like to think so. Even if it wasn’t, *SHRUG*, because there were a lot of eye opening moments for me as I read. Here are a few:
- The United States of America is mostly a very selfish country. Please do not get me wrong, I love this country and am proud to be a citizen, but I can’t deny that we think that we are the best. We expect people to come here and embrace our culture, but we do not always embrace We want them to speak English, but do we make any attempt to try to speak theirs? Not usually. We want them to cook the food of their country so that we can enjoy it, but do we embrace the utensils (example: chopsticks) that go along with that? Not always. I’m certainly guilty of both of these things. If I remember correctly, in the book it was referenced as “America taking everything” from other cultures and people who immigrate here, and I can see how that is true about a lot of things. It’s sad, and it makes me want to be better and more inclusive.
- Our choices are so impactful and we don’t even KNOW it. Even minor decisions that we make have the potential to impact others in a huge way without us realizing it. Once I started thinking about it, it kind of made my head want to explode. We are all so weirdly intertwined, and even something as minor as smiling at a stranger and saying hello has the potential to change their day. Thinking about this also lead me to realize that as human beings, we should all be kinder, again, because you just don’t know what the smallest choice you make could lead to with regards to someone else’s day and life.
I guess we should talk about the insta-love between Natasha and Daniel, too. Yes, it was a bit silly and unrealistic, but it was also adorable, sweet, and hopeful. The day that Natasha and Danial spend together – I’m jealous of it. It is such a fun way for people to get to know each other. In my opinion, and I’ve been out of the dating game for quite some time, I think that dating should be less online apps and electronic communication and more of what Natasha and Daniel did in this book. It was spontaneous and random and not always successful, but it was honest and real.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It was thought provoking, raised awareness to an issue that I feel needs more attention, and had subtle undertones of hilarity and first love bliss to round it out.
It is easy to say that a book “changed your life” and is going to lead you to change your ways – but has a book ever really caused you to change your life in a big way?