I’m usually not a fan of contemporary books, but this one surprised me. It was very different, and the topics it covered were extremely relatable and relevant to today’s society–deportation, identity, familial obligations, etc. It’s definitely not your typical YA contemporary novel because it dives deeper into these more serious topics and addresses them head-on. ☀️
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?
I will warn you ahead of time that there is insta-love. 💞 Okay, technically it’s not insta-love but the possibility of falling in love. However, once you get over that aspect of it, the book is very enjoyable. One of my favorite things about this book is that we also read from the perspectives of some of the side characters. Their personal stories are incredibly touching, and it’s a much-needed reminder that every person has their own struggle and story. 💖
“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.”
Overall, I give this book 4 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This is a book that makes you think about our world and the people in it a bit more, yet it offers the sweetness of romance in between. There are many coincidences that make it somewhat unrealistic. However, the life struggles and inner conflicts are aspects many people can relate to and understand.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Natasha and Daniel are opposites that complement each other well. While Natasha is the Type A individual that focuses on facts and what’s real, Daniel is a dreamer who believes in fate and love at first sight.
Natasha is so driven and firey. She does everything in her power to prevent her family’s deportation. I loved reading about how her own life was shaped by her family’s through her dad’s POV and how she shaped other people’s life (eg. Irene).
Although I love both characters, I found Daniel to be somewhat cringey in the beginning. His poetry-loving heart makes him a huge victim to insta-love. That one scene where they’re making out in the norebang is especially cringey from Daniel’s POV because all he can think about is sex. Still, I can appreciate how caring and passionate he is.
One of my favorite side characters is Irene. Natasha meets Irene outside the government building every day as she works through her deportation papers, and neither person thinks the other notices them. In the end, Natasha’s “Thank you” to Irene prevents Irene from committing suicide, and Irene finally gets to thank her back in the epilogue, helping Daniel and Natasha reunite.
Least favorite character is Charlie, Daniel’s brother…he’s just an asshole.
You can already tell from the prologue that this book is going to be deep.
“To make a thing as simple as an apple pie, you have to create the whole wide world.”
The plot touches many important struggles individuals face that normally aren’t highlighted in YA, especially YA Contemporary. We’re normally sprinkled with cutesy love and high school drama, but I love how this book doesn’t shy away from important, relevant topics. Deportation is a struggle that thousands of people may be facing, especially in today’s political climate. Although I was sad that Natasha couldn’t stop her family’s deportation in the end, it just re-emphasizes how it’s a reality for so many people.
One part that really messed with my own moral compass was the part about buying a fake social security card. I can definitely understand how Natasha needed it to attend college, but it just gave me such iffy vibes because I know how much it can ruin someone’s life.
While I am not a Korean-American boy, I can definitely relate to Daniel’s struggles with pleasing his family as a Taiwanese-American girl. There’s this fine line between balancing both cultures. We want to make our parents proud and prove that their sacrifices to come to this country were worth it, but we also want to live our own lives.
Nicola Yoon’s writing is really genuine. She teaches you about different cultures, different realities, and different ways people view the same situation. Some chapters may be shorter that what you’re used to, but since I listened to this as an audiobook, I didn’t mind at all.
The Audiobook Experience (Bonus)
I really enjoyed the audiobook experience. I think it helped make the story more real. When I read a book, I usually imagine everything with my own tone of voice, so getting to listen to Natasha’s Jamaican accent and her family’s was super interesting. Having different narrators for each different character just re-emphasized the idea that every person we meet is someone special and has their own story.
This is a very reflective book. It teaches you that the smallest of actions can have huge impacts. Driving drunk can lead to your family being deported. Falling in love with your secretary can change the course of someone else’s life. Saying thank you to someone you barely know can save their life. It’s definitely not your typical YA Contemporary book, but in many ways, it’s better. ☀️
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HAVE YOU READ The Sun Is Also A Star? WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS! 💕