Imagine you’re a teenage girl, living in New York City. You meet “the one,” a cute, romantic, poetry-writing guy. Unfortunately, you meet him on the day in which your family is being deported back to your home country of Jamaica.
That’s the premise of “The Sun is Also a Star,” a hot new read aimed at young adults.
I know, I know — why am I reading YA books? Many times, they’re actually pretty good. I really liked “The Fault in Our Stars.” For this one, the romance (if you can call a 12-hour relationship a “romance”) didn’t draw me in all that much, although I can see that it would be a total pull for the youngins 🙂 “I didn’t know you this morning, and now I don’t really remember not knowing you.” Also, parts of the book seemed a little contrived. Protagonist Natasha’s immigrant family is being deported TONIGHT — subtle anti-Trump message? Natasha is described as “a girl who believes in science and facts,” yet the only real evidences we’re given of this are a star poster she tapes on her wall, and her saying things like “meant to be doesn’t exist.” Is this science, or is she just treating poor artsy Daniel like a jerk? For me, it came off as more the latter — as well as totally PC. I mean, we can’t have a book where the guy is into science and the girl writes poetry, now can we?
I did feel that the book was well-written overall and flowed well. The series of really short chapters were easy to read and the pacing was fast — I honestly didn’t want to put it down. Author Nicola Yoon added in may side stories among the Natasha and Daniel chapters, and these were all from the points of view of peripheral characters. It was interesting the way we got to know a bit about the customs agent planning to take her own life later in the day, the train conductor who was newly divorced and had just found God, and the insurance adjuster who had lost his daughter and is now an alcoholic who almost causes an accident. The most interesting part of the book, to me, were these little side stories, and thinking about the way all our life stories are playing out simultaneously, and how our actions affect others in ways we may never fully appreciate.