“The Sun is Also a Star” does not shine as brightly as hoped (Review)



The Sun is Also a Star's cover

Title: The Sun is also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 384

Publication date: 11/1/2016

Recommended age range: 12-17

Cost: $12.32 at Barnes and Noble

One believes in logic and science, not fate or love at first sight. The other is a poet who is trying to figure out his own destiny. Nobody would ever expect them to fall in love.

In Nicola Yoon’s new novel, The Sun is Also a Star, Natasha and Daniel meet by accident, and spend the day attempting an experiment: they want to know if they can fall in love in less than twelve hours. They learn each others’ life stories, whilst simultaneously fighting their own personal battles; Natasha tries to stop her upcoming deportation to Jamaica, and Daniel attempts to figure out a way to follow his own dreams, instead of just sticking to the path his parents set for him.

Together, Natasha and Daniel challenge the idea of love at first sight, and question whether or not their destiny is theirs to control.

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I really wanted to love this novel. It is rare for a romance novel to focus on an interracial couple, and having an interracial couple at the center of such an ambitious one really is a step forward in diversity. The ideas in the novel, and the challenges it brings to the ideas of fate, logic, and love at first sight, are all brilliant in theory. However, the execution of these ideas, and of the love story itself, is where the novel falls flat.

The Sun is Also a Star has too many side ideas that detract from the major themes of the story. The side plots about Natasha’s immigration crisis, Daniel’s struggle with familial expectations, and minor characters’ battles with depression and unrequited love all distracted from the main plot of the novel. None of these side plots were fleshed out enough to contribute to the story. Instead, they were half-baked back stories for both the minor characters in the novel and the major characters.

Speaking of major characters, Natasha and Daniel, in their attempts to be layered and well-rounded, are instead unlikeable and hard to root for. Natasha, the female lead of the story, could have been a fantastic lead for a story that deconstructs love at first sight, with her logical mind and solid beliefs. However, the author treats her so badly that she just seems cold and unfeeling, instead of just a realist.

Daniel, her love interest, was just annoying. He consistently pursued Natasha even whenever she did not want him to, and constantly tried to change the core aspects of her personality.

Due to this novel’s weak and half-baked ideas, overly complex plot, and unlikeable characters, The Sun is Also a Star falls flat where it could have shined.