A review of A Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (no spoilers included)
The Sun is Also A Star follows our two main characters, Natasha Kingsley, a Jamaican-American and Daniel Jae Ho Bae, a Korean-American, each unique and completely opposite of one another. Natasha, doesn't believe in much unless it is scientifically proven, while Daniel is a dreamer with a deep belief in fate. Natasha's family is on the brink of deportation, while Daniel is struggling to live up to his family's high expectations. This novel tells their two narratives, across a small 24-hour window, a day in which both of them try to conquer their family circumstances, while battling the consequences that unwind after storylines collide.
The Sun is Also A Star, is one part love story and one part family complications and broken pasts, which help to build the foundations of this spectacular 2016 release. The diversity of the characters was something that helped make this novel a stand out, especially with the added chapters relating the history behind their cultures, families, and personalities such as 'Hair: An African American History' and 'Multiverses: A Quantum History.' These chapters also helped in displaying Yoon's poetic writing style, which is my favorite element to all her stories, thus far.
What I also appreciated about this novel, was how unafraid Yoon was when writing it, she was able to introduce many prevalent issues that are on-going in today's society issues including legal and illegal immigration in America, Asian stereotypes related to intelligence, and the pursuit of the American dream. These issues are typically unseen within young adult fiction and something that needs to be voiced more readily.
Secondly, I found myself constantly rooting for Daniel and Natasha's relationship, despite the obvious use of 'instalove' within this novel, I found that it didn't bother me as much as it has in other novels because I could understand the characters motives behind it. The characters needed to believe in love, especially when their current realities seemed to be falling apart in front of them. Yoon also makes her readers think about the following questions, Can fate be real and is there such a thing as love at first sight? Only the reader can decide, which character to side with, Daniel, the believe or Natasha, the unbeliever.
Thirdly, I believe the dual perspective narrative within this novel were well executed. This method of story telling really worked, but allowed the reader the chance to see each characters' individual voices and wasn't not at all choppy, but flowed from one chapter to the next.
Despite, the positives aspects of this book, there were still a few issues I had with this novel, many related to the language usage and innuendoes that were sprinkled throughout the story. I really disliked Charlie, Daniel's older brother, finding him to be rude and crass, but I believe Yoon wrote him to be unlikeable. However, he was not my least favorite character, my least favorite character was Attorney Fitzgereld based upon his selfishness and arrogance seen throughout his storyline. I also disapprove of all the vulgar language used through-out this novel, even though, used sparingly, I believe it ultimately, took away from the story's overall tonality, one overflowing with hopefulness and longing.
Overall, this story was addicting and infectious, despite it few flaws, I would easily give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The positive elements definitely outweighed the negative, but I would only recommend this story for a older audience (+ 15 and up) as there are trigger warnings for sexual and vulgar language. This story will stick with me for a long time because of its overarching themes related to never giving up and the importance of believing in something despite its consequences and hardships.