The Sun is Also a Star
By Nicola Yoon
Delacorte Press, 2016. 384 pgs. Young Adult
It’s seventeen-year-old Natasha Kingsley’s last day in New York. In twelve hours, she and her family will be deported to Jamaica. But there is one last shred of hope – a last-ditch meeting with an immigration lawyer to delay the deportation. On the way to the attorney’s office, Natasha bumps into Daniel Bae, who is on his way to an interview for an Ivy-league college he has no desire to attend. Their meeting sets off a chain reaction of coincidences, or so the logical Natasha believes. Daniel, ever the dreamer, sees their chance meeting as fate. Of course he and Natasha will fall in love and live happily ever after. But there are many alternate versions of the future, and neither Natasha nor Daniel knows which one will be theirs.
This book was already high on my radar but after it won the National Book Award (before it was even released!) my expectations were even higher. Within a few pages I immediately saw why it won the award. Illegal immigrants, multiracial characters, thoughtful prose – it ticks all the right boxes. But as I read further, I quickly found the story, which mainly takes place over the course of one day, to be award-worthy as well. As expected, Yoon’s writing is minimal and lovely. Her format – inserting an introductory chapter after each new character or concept is introduced – is refreshing.
I will warn you that if you are not a fan of May-December or insta-love romances this may not be for you. My disbelief wasn’t completely suspended but my adoration for Natasha and Daniel - who are complete opposites in personality - compensated for that. This is one of the best contemporary YA novels I’ve read all year.