by Nicola Yoon
Released: November 1st 2016
Published by Delacorte Press
Narrator: Bahni Turpin, Dominic Hoffman, Raymond Lee
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
“THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is still a powerful, moving read and I’m very happy that I gave this author a try.”
~ Under the Covers
I’m so conflicted about this book! I really went into it wanting to love it. I’ve seen lots of raving reviews and the subject matter seemed like it would be a nice and deep book to get my claws into. And in many ways it was! Which is what makes writing this review so conflicting. I loved a lot about it! But there were some things that I just couldn’t completely get behind, which ultimately made me give this book a lower rating than I would’ve. Here’s why…
What I loved about it:
- The writing. This is my first read by Nicola Yoon but it was definitely easy to get swept up into the world she’s creating and the characters you are getting to know. It felt very …. real life.
- The social issues. I think that’s the most powerful thing about this story. It’s dealing with a lot of very real issues that many people go through daily and it does it so well! Natasha, the heroine, is a Jamaican illegal immigrant living in New York. Her family is being deported by the end of the day. On this last day in NYC she meets Daniel, a Korean-American, who is struggling with his own internal issues of following in the career path that his family expects him to instead of his own desires. They each are dealing with something heavy already. Natasha, with immigration and her own family’s issues between her parents. Daniel with the pressures and expectations of his family and community being a first generation Korean-American. These are heavy enough on their own, and I think the author does a great job at showing us their individual sides and struggles. And then there’s the romance. Obviously race is a factor between them. Daniel’s family and community would never accept him to be with a black girl, and this is also handled very well. I have to give props to the author for taking on so many things and making this a story that had so much character depth. While this is my favorite thing about this book, it just couldn’t be the only thing that made me give it a higher rating.
What didn’t quite work as much as I was hoping for:
- The romance. This is the hardest blow to my rating because this book is essentially a love story! Sadly I know a lot of people say that the author manages to really make you believe in this wonderful tale of love at first sight and the deep connection that develops between the main characters in just 24 hours. There is a connection. I wanted to believe it. I just … didn’t think it was enough for it to be love at first sight and all that jazz. Had there been more than 24 hours then yes, I would be totally on board with their connection moving further and developing deeper feelings. But I’m one of those people that don’t really believe that easily in love at first sight. As much as I was hoping this book would prove the reviewers that said it accomplished it…it didn’t for me.
- The ending. It was all a bit anticlimactic to say the least when we speed through what happens after the 24 hours are over and then how it abruptly ends with what I consider is a bit of an open end. Sooooooo, what happened after that??? The reader is left to assume a lot of things about the future and the resolution of the lives of these two characters and it felt too open ended for me. I wanted a more solid resolution after being so invested in the outcome.
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is still a powerful, moving read and I’m very happy that I gave this author a try. It’s a story that will make you think and see things from a lot of different perspectives. Not just social issues, but having dreams and desires, hopes, religion, making the right decisions in life, the effects of those decisions on others’ lives. A lot of the issues that all the characters in this story go through I’m very familiar with myself either in a personal way or through some of my closest friends, and the author really excelled at presenting them. This is not a “rose glasses” kind of story and it shows the world as hard and often cruel as it can be. I think overall, I’ll definitely be looking for more of this authors’ work.
“Sometimes your world shakes so hard, it’s difficult to imagine that everyone else isn’t feeling it too.”
“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”
“We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”
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