Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Quick review for a somewhat quick read. I actually liked “The Sun Is Also A Star” more than I liked “Everything, Everything”. It’s a very ambitious novel that covers a lot of ground, probably more than I think one book could really cover, but what it manages to do still resonated with me on more than one level, and the cross-cultural elements of the novel really stayed with me after I finished the novel, even when I found the events not as satisfying as I would’ve liked.

It’s hard to label this a dual perspective story when it’s really a multi-perspective novel. The reason why I say it’s multi-perspective is because of the omniscient narrator, who explores more than just the main two characters in the novel. I actually appreciated the omniscient narrator, who gives context of more than just the history of the families and main character perspectives here. The omniscient narrator also gives context within the measure of actual cultural and socioeconomic histories pertinent to the character backgrounds. I honestly wasn’t expecting to hear a microhistory of (for example) black hair care and the influences of women like Madame C.J. Walker, but I’m very glad it was included.

The primary characters in this novel are Daniel and Natasha. Natasha is a Jamaican born teen whose family faces the reality of being deported from America after her father makes what she considers the worst mistake of their lives. Natasha struggles with conflict in her family and wants more than anything for them to stay, so she searches for ways to do so in the very last day before they’re deported. Daniel is a Korean-American boy who has his future lined up for him, but faces inner turmoil in conflict with his family based on his own dreams. Natasha and Daniel couldn’t be more different in their ideologies (scientific based for her, artistic for him), but their struggles feel palpable and similar in the scheme of the story. When they unite, their chemistry and banter is fun to watch in places. Ultimately though, the story shows their very real conflicts and it doesn’t always end up in an idealized scenario. I feel like there were certain points of the narrative that were too easily summarized for future context, but I understood why they were done that way. It’s amazing that this book takes place in the span of a day for the present events, but it goes through this entire history and background to build the history and characterizations up to where they feel fuller, if not entirely realized. I really liked and appreciated the novel as a whole, though I’ll admit that even after finishing the novel, it still left me wanting more.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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