The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

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?

Serendipitous happenstance is the chain holding together the events of this beautifully written novel. I liked Everything, Everything quite a lot, but I think Nicola Yoon's style and and narrative skills have improved even more in The Sun Is Also a Star! Just look at this opening passage:
Carl Sagan said that if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.... If you want to make an apple pie from nothing at all, you have to start with the Big Bang and expanding universes, neutrons, ions, atoms, black holes, suns, moons, ocean tides, the Milky Way, Earth, evolution, dinosaurs, extinction-level events.... You have to start at the beginning. You must invent fire. You need water and fertile soil and seeds. You need cows and people to milk them and more people to churn that milk into butter. you need wheat and sugar cane and apple trees. You need chemistry and biology. For a really good apple pie, you need the arts. For an apple pie that can last for generations, you need the printing press and the Industrial Revolution and maybe even a poem.To make a thing as simple as an apple pie, you have to create the whole wide world.
Yoon's entire narrative takes place over a single day, weaving together the primary narratives of both Natasha and Daniel with brief histories and excerpts from the lives of other secondary characters. The connections are imaginative and effective, creating complex network of stories that show what can happen during the course of a day when the right events line up. Some of this narrative actually reminds me of Grasshopper Jungle in some ways, in the way that history and future combine to create a single story with many angles and delightful twists, even if the ending might not be what is expected.

I highly recommend this novel for fans of Yoon's debut novel and also for fans of Grasshopper Jungle, tales of romance and love at first sight, and fans of books about immigration narratives.

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out Nov. 1, 2016)


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