A Review of: The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon

This book…. An interesting read, fun writing, but did not hit me in the feels like I expect it’s supposed to. That being…. I’m old enough to laugh at the premise of “fate”, “meant to be”, and all that garbage. After all, I remember thinking these kinds of things at that type age. And now I know, it’s bullshit. So mostly this book made me feel… pity. And laughable at the end when ‘they meet again “coo-incidentally”. ‘ Who believes that would ever happen? Not me. I guess it’s fiction.. but why encourage such foolish ideas?

I read this because the title to me implies a bit of science fiction… it’s not. I also read it because I thought it was by the same author as the recently released movie Everything Everywhere All At Once – which is a little science fiction. (but in reality the book is ‘Everywhere Everywhere.’ ) Not that I was a huge fan of the movie, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.. anyway, it’s not related!

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The story takes place primarily over about half a day. Waking in the morning, and 9pm at night.

Starring a teen Korean boy and a teen Jamaican girl. Daniel sees Natasha and “instantly falls in love with her” (gag.) Over the course of the day, he manages to talk to her, then follow her , (accidentally, he just happens to be going in the same direction), [but he isn’t stalking, her, promise!] Then he saves her life, because he just ‘happens’ to be behind her at a crosswalk, when she nearly steps in front of a non-attentive driver, and he pulls her back. Then he gets coffee with her, and plays a ’30 questions to make you fall in love’ game. He really wants it to work. But Natasha is all science and doesn’t go in for that kind of hogwash, while Daniel is a ‘poet’ with his head in the could and foolish ideas…. So much gagging…. But Natasha is falling into the energy of it – despite that she’s having the worst day of her life, her family about to be deported from NYC, and she’s trying to see immigration, and lawyers to stop it. She’s 17 or something. And she’s doing all this… not her parents. That seems plausible! (yes I’m rolling my eyes, again.) Anyway…

The story has some things ‘bring them together’ and other twists that doom them. Will she fall for him, like he is her, or won’t she? Will she get deported? Or won’t she?

In the end, due to events they inadvertently caused, her lawyer doesn’t her the removal from the usa stopped, and her family does get deported. But she also does fall in love, which is hopeless, because she’s off to Jamaica. And in the end it doesn’t work, because phone call are just not cutting it for teens, to find a happily ever after.

But bonus round, ten year later they end up on the same plane? …. Groan……Gag….. hard NOPE.

About our characters: Natasha’s outlook on romance, love, relationships is far more realistic and grounded. She’s cynical, and sees things as they are. She’s not falling for the fairy tale bullshit. Daniel is hopelessly unrealistic. Thinks he can fall in love, that it is Fate, and she’s the one, FOR EVER….. They’re 17!. This is not how reality happens. Fairy tale crap. Apparently he’s the prince , meant to save her from her existence…. But fails. At least there’s a thread of real life there. Things don’t work out, just because you have a fairy tale in your brain.

Thoughts:

• Story pacing?
It’s a pretty short book & read, so the pace is constant, every event and scene moving the story forward. In the beginning it’s hard to figure out what is going on, as there are multiple stories, that seem unrelated, and have real meaning. Until the characters cross paths, then we understand the backstory. 7/10

• Story character arcs?
Sure. They do have arcs. Daniel was on how way to a meeting, to try and get accepted to Yale university. Which he doesn’t really want to do, to be a doctor, because that’s what his parents want and expect. But in the end, he follows his own desire, goes to a community college, on his own dime, since parent cut him off if he didn’t go to Yale – and studies writing, like he wishes. So his arc is getting from following orders, to doing what he wants out of his life.

Natasha’s arc is more of a path. No real growth or change for her in the grand scheme…. She’s doing everything she can to stop her family being deported. In the end, they’re deported. Sure, she thinks she falls in love with Daniel, thru their interactions, but it’s more like a distraction thru the day, and evaporates when she leaves. 4/10

• Story arc?
I guess. They both are doing what they have to. Things happen, twists and turns are worked thru. And then the day is over, and what happened happened. No real growth here, or lessons… just the events of a day. If that is an arc…. 3/10

• Story writing quality?
Was an easy read, nothing distracted me from the story. 8/10

• Story wokeness? ( tolerable / gag me)
We have two minority characters, and they show the grittiness of not just racism against them, but between minority nationalities. IE: Daniel’s Korean parents will never support him dating a Black girl. We have the reality of our character living as an undocumented illegal immigrant in the USA, of no fault of her own, her parents brought her there when she was 8. 7/10

• Grates against my annoyances?
The plot. 2/10

• Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words)
Nothing stood out – so that’s a plus. 7/10

• Story romance level? The whole book is about Daniel trying to get Natasha to fall in love with him, in a couple hours. So while not an unnecessary component of the story, it was still so gag-me. 2/10

• Story readability?
A fast and easy red. 7/10

• Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)?
Story in itself was complete. Started out with wondering if Daniel will make it to his Yale appointment, and will he go / get in? And Will Natasha be able to stop the deportation, or not? Ended with Daniel getting to the appointment, getting recommended, and not going. And with Natasha’s family getting on a plane. 9/10

• Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places?
Nothing felt fresh or new. 2/10

• Was there anything I wanted to know that was left unanswered?
No lingering thoughts. 8/10

• Things I really liked / or didn’t like?
I didn’t like the improbability of every aspect. Today, Daniel would most definitely be a creep, and stalking, and someone who’s behavior has a lot of red flags, someone Natasha should and would get away from. So I didn’t like that we accept his actions and allow them, instead of being sane and smart. Any teen being taught to ‘go with it’ in a situation like this is probably going to be a victim.

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