Warning: Contains spoilers. If you haven’t read The Sun is Also a Star yet, do not continue reading. You’ve been warned.
I started reading Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star way back in January and I finally finished it on Thursday. Why did it take me so long? The classes that I took during the spring were reading intensive. It was hard for me to continue reading when I had a million other things to read and write. As a result, I had to put the book on hold until the semester was over and I was free.
I read Yoon’s first book Everything, Everything last May and I loved it. I also saw the movie and can say that the book was way better. Since I enjoyed Everything, Everything I thought that I would enjoy The Sun is Also a Star. It’s told from alternating points of views from Daniel and Natasha, the main characters. Natasha is a girl whose family is getting deported to Jamaica after her dad’s drunken mistake. Daniel is a Korean-American dreamer whose parents want to dictate his future.
I’m all for love stories, and I’m even more all for interracial relationships. I enjoyed how different this story was compared to others. The topic of deportation is something serious, and Yoon covers it very well in the novel. Throughout the novel, I was hoping for some miracle and Natasha wouldn’t get deported I was rooting for her!
Another interesting thing about this novel is that there are several short chapters seen from minor characters’ point of view. There are several scenes that happen in one chapter, and the chapter after that describes a minor character’s motives for their actions in the previous chapter. One example is at the beginning of the book: Natasha has her items put through the metal detector as she enters the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The guard takes out Natasha’s phone from the gray bin and stares at the case, which is the cover of a Nirvana album. The readers are told that the guard, whose name is Irene, does this every time Natasha comes to the USCIS. The next chapter explains to the readers that Irene is lonely and longs for interaction.
I wanted to like the novel. I really wanted to like this novel, but I couldn’t. This is another reason why it took me so long to finish it. I was so fed up and wanted to stop reading, but I was already more than halfway finished. I hate leaving books unfinished, and I thought that it could redeem itself at the end. I was still left disappointed.
First of all, the pacing was way too slow for me. The majority of the story took place in less than 12 hours, but I still found the pacing incredibly slow. It could be because I took long breaks between reading, but Daniel and Natasha’s day together seemed to last for weeks.
What really upset me about this novel is that it was way too unrealistic. When they first meet, Daniel bets that he could get Natasha to fall in love with him by the end of the day. He thinks a girl that he met five minutes ago would fall in love with him by the end of the day. And she does!!! I adore love stories, but ain’t no way two people falling in love after knowing each other for less than 24 hours. That’s not love, that’s lust. That’s a crush. IT. AINT. LOVE! To really love someone, you have to know them for longer than 12 hours. Daniel and Natasha barely knew anything about the other, but they’re “meant to be together”. Daniel is so certain that Natasha is the one for him after one day of knowing her. That’s ridiculous and unrealistic. You know what’s funny? In the end, Natasha and her family do get deported to Jamaica. Over time, the two start to forget about the day that they met.
I found both of the main characters to be annoying. Natasha was too cynical for my liking, and she was also very rude. It was like she felt that she knew everything because she was good at science, and that turned me off. I also hate science, so yeah. I liked Daniel’s character at the beginning, but he got annoying to me after meeting Natasha. He became way too obsessed with making her fall in love with him, and it was a little too much for me. A lot of times in the novel, he kept telling her they were meant to be together. He also came off as misogynistic at times. I believe there was a part in the story when he says that Natasha is his, and that turned me off. To me, his “love” for her did not seem genuine at all. It seemed more like he was lusting after her. The character that I liked the most, believe it or not, is Irene from USCIS. I’ll explain why later.
I didn’t get why Daniel and Natasha were so madly in love with each other. Both characters say it was like they’ve known each other forever, which made me want to throw my book across the room. They haven’t known each other for more than a day! I don’t remember any of the characters giving any logical reason why they liked each other that much other than physical attraction. Daniel thinks that Natasha is beautiful, and Natasha thinks that Daniel is sexy. Love is more than physical attraction, at least in my opinion. When you really love someone, you see so much more than how attractive that person is. You take notice of every little detail that they do and you enjoy their little quirks and flaws. You learn what makes them happy and what irritates them and you do little things because you want to. Whew, I got a little preachy. Anyway, I didn’t get any of that from Daniel and Natasha. I only got lust.
I have to talk about the ending, which did nothing for me. Ten years later, Irene is now a flight attendant and recognizes Natasha. It’s mentioned that Natasha saved her life on the day that she was supposed to get deported. Irene planned to commit suicide that day, Natasha left a thank you message for Irene, and something changed inside of Irene. She decided to change by going to therapy and taking medication. Irene was a character that seemed the most real to me, but we don’t get much of her. I cared more about her than I did about the main characters. Back to my main point: Irene asked Natasha if she remembered her and I could feel the emotion coming out of her. When Natasha tells Irene her name, Daniel (who happened to be on the same plane. Shocker!) recognizes her and the story ends. I felt no emotion. None. Their “love” seemed so artificial that I couldn’t get the feels when they reunited after those years.
I also would have liked to see more scenes with the main character’s families, particularly Natasha’s. It felt like I didn’t know anything about her family other than her dad is an aspiring actor. I could never remember that Natasha had a little brother because he was rarely mentioned. It was odd because Daniel’s older brother was mentioned a bunch of times in the novel.
In conclusion, I didn’t enjoy reading this book and I’m disappointed. I wanted to like it, but I found more cons than I did pros while reading it. These are only my opinions, though. On Goodreads, it has a 4.1 rating, so tons of people adored it. Would I ever read another book by Nicola Yoon? Yeah, maybe. I won’t totally bash the author and never read her work again. Her plots are interesting and different, and I admire that about her. Now that I finished this book, it’s on to the next one!