The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star is set for release on November 1, 2016. Having absolutely adored Yoon’s first novel, Everything, Everything, I have been very eager to read her newest work.

The story provides a behind-the-scenes peek at how an undocumented immigrant has to live with the daily uncertainty of being sent away from her home – the place she considers home in her heart.

In the span of one single day, Daniel and Natasha’s story unfolds. They get to know one another bit-by-bit each time they cross paths. Fate, as far as they can tell, keeps bringing them together again. The characters are quite different in their outlook on the future, but still are immediately attracted to each other, creating an innocent, sweet romance with amazing possibilities. Both have futures planned out for them, which are not their choice. Daniel feels enormous pressure to become a doctor like his brother, in order to have a better life than his father had. Because of the mistake of her father, Natasha is being forced back to Jamaica where she doesn’t have any real connections or interests. When they meet and share their stories, the urge to try to save themselves becomes even more urgent – before it’s too late and they lose each other forever. They day they spend together allows them freedom from the extreme pressure & stress they are facing. Together, they are able to be themselves, with no one to impress and only each other to please.

The ending of the story is hopeful, allowing the reader to imagine a future for both Natasha and Daniel, rather than detailing what is going to happen to them and tying everything up with a little bow.

A really neat thing about this story is that the author, Nicola Yoon, is Jamaican American like Natasha and her husband is Korean American like Daniel. She wrote what she knew from her own personal life, and it’s evident by the true-to-life feel of the story. Great job, Nicola. This is a beautifully written, moving story which will stay with readers long after the last pages are read.

Thank you to Random House for sending an early review copy of this book.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

9780553496642_9ffdfEverything, Everything is an awesome YA novel. Fans of Eleanor and Park, The Fault in Our Stars, and/or If I Stay will love this novel with similar themes and style. Along with the regular story narrative, there are diary entries, illustrations, and lists which enhance the story and help readers to become more familiar with Maddy, the main character. Maddy has a rare disease that causes her to be very sick at times, but the triggers which cause sickness are unknown. And, for that reason, she hasn’t left her house in 17 years and has almost no face-to-face contact with the outside world. She reads books, some many times over. I loved the descriptions and reviews Maddy gives about books, and the way the author weaves in bits of famous literature to the novel. Aside from her mother, her daily nurse Carla, and the occasional visit from her tutor, Maddy only interacts with people through Skype, email, and IM. Until the day everything changes. A moving truck pulls up next door and Maddy looks out her window and sees Olly. Something about him tells her that her life will not be the same any longer. The author describes it best:

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I loved everything about this book. The style of writing was direct, intense, and beautiful. At times, the relationships between Maddy and her mother, between Maddy and Carla, and between Maddy and Olly were filled with raw emotion that, as a reader, I could really feel. I laughed out loud as I read Olly’s shenanigans with the Bundt cake. I cried at the end, but I won’t tell you why. The illustrations, spoiler book reviews, and dictionary entries by Maddy throughout the book were wonderful and really added an extra dimension to the story. Also, being a book nerd and lover of pages, I loved that the story started with books and ended with a book. You’ll see what I mean. Just read it, and you’ll be in love with it just like me.