Originally from Jamaica, Natasha has been living in NYC with her family illegally since she was 8, and now she’s less than a day away from getting deported. Daniel, a Korean-American teenager who is struggling to pursue his own creative dreams rather than his immigrant parents’ wishes for medical school, happens upon Natasha at a record store. This sets in motion a day that neither of them will forget, where Daniel’s belief in fate and destiny counters Natasha’s love of factual science.
Inspired by the author’s own love story with her husband, Yoon has laid out a wonderfully sweet tale of chance encounters and being at the right place at the right time. While I adored the chapters from the two protagonists’ point of view, I also really enjoyed the asides that are included, of the sub (sometimes sub-sub) characters that Natasha and Daniel interact with. From the guy who drives through a light, to a paralegal, I love how this showed other sides to the story. So while the main characters may get mad/annoyed with someone else (as many of us can be guilty of as well), the side “histories” of these other characters shed some light and provides another view.
For a while now, there has been talk online about wanting more diversity in books, and I’ve found that sometimes it can be done haphazardly, but not in this case. Daniel and Natasha feel more than just characters of visible minority, they bring so much more to the story than that. There is so much of both their cultures infused into The Sun Is Also a Star that it works so perfectly well all together. Myself being in an interracial marriage, I felt so connected with not only the two of them but also the dynamics when different cultures meet. (Thankfully, I have been blessed with a very peaceful merging of cultures.) So many details and aspects of the book felt captured so realistically. I felt like I was spending a day in NYC with these two so much so that while reading about them having Korean food, I had to order in some Bibimbap for myself to satisfy that craving!
I really enjoyed Yoon’s first book Everything, Everything so when this second book was announced, I could not wait for it. I didn’t think it would top her debut novel, but it has. Immensely. I adored this book so much and after I turned the last page, it left me with such a happy feeling. Loved it.