The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016)

Romance laced with social issues and philosophical musings.

Recommended grade level: mature 8th graders and up

Pages:   348 (for ISBN 9780553496680)

Genre(s) and keywords: romance, realistic, diverse

Tone/Style: contemplative

Pace: moderate

Topics: Asian-Americans, African-Americans (sort of; she is technically Jamaican), undocumented immigrants

Themes: love, romantic relationships, fate, chance, finding meaning, preparing for the future

Summary: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Source)

Who will like this book?: Give this to readers who want sweeping romance with lots of feels, who like humor and quirky characters but also aren’t afraid of a bit of tragedy. Thoughtful readers will find a lot of big questions to ponder here. Undocumented immigration is a timely topic that will give readers some perspective on current events.

Who won’t like this book?: Cynics will be rolling their eyes at certain aspects of this book. On the other end of the spectrum, those who like their romance unencumbered by harsh realities should look elsewhere, too. Some may feel the book has an agenda regarding undocumented immigration.

Other comments: There’s somewhat heavy swearing, including f-words (maybe about ten of them). There is making out, and the narrators think about sex but don’t have it.

Sequel(s):

Readalikes: This book squarely targets the John Green fanbase; any of his books should appeal to fans of The Sun is Also a Star. Also try any Rainbow Rowell books, particularly Eleanor and Park. For other romances involving undocumented immigrants, try Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz and Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (both recommended for mature 8th graders and up). Fans should also be sure to read Yoon’s first novel, Everything Everything.

-Kylie Peters

Image: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28763485-the-sun-is-also-a-star

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