I have had this on my TBR for a while, and I decided to listen to the audiobook version, downloaded from my local library on OverDrive. I absolutely ADORED the read, and can’t wait to recommend it to everyone!
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The novel is about two high school teens who each have their own cultural and family problems, which oddly bring them together in a series of interesting ways.
Daniel is a seventeen year old senior who would like to be a poet someday, but the pressure from his very traditional Korean family has him on the straight and narrow path to a Yale medical degree to become a doctor. He’s always done what was expected of him, and living in his golden-child brother’s shadow, he’s been eager to please. But now, his older brother has messed things up, and Daniel has a chance to be the pride of the family- the thing is, he’s just not sure that’s what he wants anymore. Daring to let the universe take control, he sets out for his Yale-alumni interview hours early, looking for a sign. On a New York City street, he sees Natasha.
Natasha is a no-nonsense, scientifically driven daughter of Jamaican illegal immigrants. She’s been living in New York since she was young, and America has become her home, but as she’s just about to graduate, her family is told they are being deported that night. Natasha doesn’t want to leave her friends, her home, her life behind, so she seeks a lawyer’s help. On the way to the appointment with the lawyer, she is almost hit by a BMW, but is hauled out of the way by a good looking Korean guy who has been trying to get her attention since she went into her favorite record store. He saved her life, and more than that, he’s declaring it fate, that they’re meant to be together. She resists, but he’s persistent and there’s something about him… but she doesn’t believe in love, not like that anyway. Besides, it’s almost certain she’ll never see him after today. She lets him walk with her to the lawyers, and by the end of the walk, she’s already sure she doesn’t want to say goodbye.
In between the two main characters relaying their love story, The Universe pipes up, cleverly giving the reader (listener) background information on the characters and their histories. This adds a depth to the story while still maintaining the very short, one day timeline of the novel.
As Daniel and Natasha grow closer and closer throughout the day, I couldn’t help but get the warm-fuzzies for their tragic love story. I wanted them to have a happy ending, and despite their differences, they seemed like they would make an adorable couple! I loved their chemistry, sense of humor, and their honest internal commentaries (sooo relatable). Yoon’s writing had me hooked from the beginning, and I felt the characters come to life through the narration from Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee, and Dominic Hoffman. The themes of love, fate, and science were also connected throughout, making this easy to read YA novel a lot deeper than I expected, in a very good way. We all know how complicated love can be even when everything goes ‘right’, so Yoon’s take on love when complicated by culture, family, age, and everything going ‘wrong’ is a compelling twist on the teen love story trope.
I absolutely recommend everyone read The Sun Is Also A Star, and if you can get the audiobook version, I’d say it adds an even better element to the experience. Definitely worth purchasing as well, because I can easily see a reread of this in the future! Oh, and there is also a film adaption in the making, and I can’t wait for it to come to fruition!