Literature Reviews

Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

the sun is also a star

Rating: ★★★★★

Title: The Sun Is Also A Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Year Published: 2016

Where to buy: Available at most bookstores and online.

Summary: Natasha and Daniel are seemingly opposites, but the universe has other ideas for them.

TW: racism, sexism, threat, abuse, violence, mention of suicide, hobo as a slur.

The story impacted me more than I expected

Nicola Yoon’s novel does take a while to kick off, but when it does, it makes you think about the small things that occur every day that we take for granted.

Yoon’s writing style is what drew me into Natasha and Daniel’s “universe” (hey, see what I did there) and kept me intrigued. The story is very much character-driven, so if you’re looking for some finality in this young adult romance novel, you don’t really receive a resolution as such.

The interconnecting narratives were a bit distracting at first, but once they begin to make sense, you feel like you’re overseeing everything – perhaps that is Yoon’s intention, to make the reader feel like God. In actuality, God is a prominent theme throughout Yoon’s novel which produces this otherworldly atmosphere when reading. I also really identified with some of the character’s thoughts, Yoon created some beautiful poetry within her work of prose:

It seems like such a long time ago when I thought the world of him. He was some exotic planet and I was his favourite satellite. But he’s no planet, just the final fading light of an already dead star.

And I’m not a satellite. I’m space junk, hurtling as far as I can away from.

NATASHA, p.65

The theme of family is also prevalent throughout, and through this theme, we begin to see the cultural differences between Natasha and Daniel. For reference, Natasha is an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica, and Daniel is a Korean-American. What was refreshing about Natasha and Daniel, in particular, was that Yoon did not immerse the characters in stereotypes (I’ve read some horrendous stereotypical descriptions, so I was relieved) but allowed them to just be. On the contrary, their families were described differently, and some stereotypes slipped through, but I think Yoon wanted to produce a cultural and communication difference between the generations.

Why did I read it?

I don’t read a lot of YA or romance, so I wanted to change up my reading. I also liked the title and was curious about its meaning.

Does the author have other works?

Nicola Yoon has also written Everything, Everything (a book that I won’t be reading due to its ableism), and written for a YA anthology Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy.

Overall…

If you enjoy character-driven, romantic, existential YA novels – this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings

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