From the moment I read the prologue and the hints of the quietly funny, intriguing, thought provoking story that was to come, I knew I was going to enjoy The Sun is Also a Star. I’m very happy to say I was not disappointed.
The Sun is Also a Star is written in possibly one of my favourite structures to read. It has super short, snappy chapters which I adored and made it almost impossible to put down. (The amount of times I told myself ‘just one more chapter’ was uncountable. I eventually gave up lying to myself and devoured it whole.) The Sun is Also a Star is predominantly written from the perspectives of our protagonists, Natasha and Daniel but there are also the occasional chapters written from the points of view of others, for example, their parents, a secretary, a lawyer etc. I really loved that the chapters weren’t all set in the present day or even from the past of the two main characters. Some were written to tell you what happens in the future for a specific character, (e.g Daniels brother), some tell you about the past of another (e.g. the story of how Natasha’s parents moved to America from Jamaica.) And then other chapters gave insight into the history and meaning behind certain words, cultures, sciences etc. For example, ‘Hair: An African American History’, or the believed evolution of why humans have eyes. This was extremely interesting and completely unlike anything I’ve read before. Not only was I reading a fantastic story, I was learning things I probably never would have, had it not been for this book. I loved it!
I will say that it was a little confusing the first few times this happened, as it deviated away from the predominant plot, but it was so interesting and easy to read, that I very quickly got totally used to it. It was something I don’t think I’ve seen done before and I loved how it helped give an insight into the different cultures and lives of the wide cast of characters.
“Sometimes your world shakes so hard, it’s difficult to imagine that everyone else isn’t feeling it too.”
One of the main things I loved about ‘The Sun is Also a Star’, was the way it delved into two totally different peoples cultures and backgrounds. Natasha was born in Jamaica to Jamaican parents but moved to the US when she was eight. Daniel was Korean-American, born in the US to South Korean parents. These are both cultures I haven’t personally read about or learnt much about before, so I loved learning more and feeling as though I was getting educated and a real insight into different peoples lives and backgrounds, whilst the reading experience also nowhere near felt like a ‘lesson’. For example, there were a few chapters that explored the story of how Daniels parents moved to America from South Korea, how they adapted to their life there and how they chose their children’s names. E.g. deciding whether to go with a Southern Korean family name, or a classically American name so they would fit in with their peers. As they felt people and teachers etc would be more likely to be able to easily understand/pronounce it and it wouldn’t cause them to stand out too much and therefore possibly be the subject of teasing. It was so interesting to read about. I think Nicola Yoon did a fantastic job with ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ in keeping the balance between a wonderfully and culturally insightful read and one that was also relatable in many ways, to people from many walks of life.
“But why not more poems about the sun? The sun is also a star, and it’s our most important one.”
I really loved all the characters in this and really enjoyed how we met so many of them and learnt so much about them all from each of their points of view. It was really refreshing to have a small insight into the lives of almost each and every character we came into contact with throughout the story.
Both Natasha and Daniel were strong, independent and smart, whilst also being vulnerable, scared and daunted by what life held for them. Daniel was a poet, a romantic and a believer in fate. Natasha a scientist, with a strong belief in logic and that science can provide an answer for almost everything, especially love. It was so interesting to see both these kinds of brains colliding and bouncing off each other, whilst at the same time learning from each other and expanding their mindset. The thing I really enjoyed about their characters was that Daniel was the one, for lack of a better word, ‘pining’ over Natasha. It’s so often found in books that the girl is trying to do anything to get the guy to like her and I loved that that storyline was flipped in this. I really enjoyed the relationship and dynamic Natasha and Daniel built throughout the story.
Oddly enough, despite this obviously being an emotional rollercoaster of a book, the part that really got to me was the epilogue. But it had nothing to do with Daniel or Natasha. It was Irene and her story that tore my heart in two, it got to me big time and I loved that Nicola Yoon didn’t forget about her, drop her story or use it playfully. It was heartbreaking and I personally felt that it held a really strong message.
Overall this was a fantastic, thought provoking, diverse, interesting, romantic, adorable, funny, witty and thoroughly enjoyable read. It’s definitely going to be a contemporary I recommend for a long time coming. I am so excited about Nicola Yoons writing!
Thank you so, so much to Penguin of sending me a copy of The Sun is Also a Star in exchange for an honest review. I was incredibly excited to receive it and even more so after enjoying it as much as I did!