Natasha has one last ditch attempt before she and her family will be deported from the United States. Daniel has one last chance to rebel before his parents’ expectations lock him into a future he doesn’t want. Neither of them are in a position to meet the love of their life. But during one day in New York City, both of them will find that you can’t turn your back on fate so easily.
I wasn’t sure about this book at first. I’ve gone off m/f romance, and until now I haven’t read much contemporary. But I kept coming back to it. And the fact that it works for four categories of #DiversityBingo2017 gave me the excuse I needed to pick it up and give it a go.
The Sun is Also a Star is a beautifully crafted novel full of life and passion. I didn’t care if there were enough coincidences for a Victorian drama – I wanted them to happen. I wanted, despite all the things that stood in Natasha and Daniel’s way, for them to have a happy ending. Their day together is achingly lovely. It’s exciting, it’s a whirlwind, but it can never solve their problems.
Something I didn’t expect was a style that reminded me of Pamela Freeman’s Castings Trilogy (you can read my review here). Little aside chapters, half of which delved into the stories of minor characters – people you wouldn’t even notice, like the security guard or the train conductor – who have their own worlds going on, their own struggles and choices. The other half are lessons – history and science, the social politics of a black woman’s hair, Jamaican language, Korean immigrant family names. Both types of chapter have the same purpose. They expand the reader’s understanding of the worlds that these characters live in, through other lives and through important context. It was a surprising and brilliant technique that really brought home the difficulties and the joys that Natasha and Daniel deal with. These chapters gave a whole other dimension to this love story.
This is a powerful and passionate novel, and I can’t think what made me put off reading for so long. I loved Natasha and Daniel (even if he was a little too eager to begin with!), but I also loved how involved their families and their futures were in their story. This is not a novel which ignores reality. This is a novel which confronts it.
Natasha and her family are Jamaican, illegal immigrants to the USA, who face deportation. Daniel is Korean American. The author, Nicola Yoon, grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn.
The Sun is Also a Star meets the criteria for:
Diversity Bingo 2017
22. Book by author of colour
25. Black MC (#ownvoices)
35. Immigrant or refugee MC