The Sun Is Also A Star is the story of Natasha, a scientific pragmatist who is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Then she meets Daniel, a romantic poetry guy who is finding it hard to live to his parents’ expectations of him.
The bulk of the book takes place over the course of half a day. Interesting choice, because there’s not much you can convincingly do with character or plot development over such a short space of time. However, Nicola Yoon makes a good job of it - neither of the characters change radically, but they do develop, and the plot manages to throw in enough twists to keep it interesting.
The thing that really works is the alternating viewpoints of the story. We alternate between Natasha and Daniel, but also other seemingly random characters and we see how Natasha and Daniel affect their lives and vice versa. This was actually one of the things I liked most - it added an extra dimension to a story that could have felt a tiny bit flat otherwise.
So the main premise of the book is that Natasha and Daniel meet before she is due to be deported and fall instantly in ... if not love, then super attraction. Instalove (because, come on, that’s what it is) is such a difficult sell and I really can’t think of any authors off the top of my head who have ever pulled it off with any degree of success.
I have to say, I didn’t really develop a huge attachment to either Natasha or Daniel. I thought they were nice enough characters, but they didn’t bowl me over. And I think when you’re trying to convince your audience of the existence of instalove, you need to have two blow-me-away characters, and that just wasn’t the case.
The thing I liked most about Natasha and Daniel was their lives separate of each other. I really felt for the predicament Natasha found herself in and for the pressure Daniel found himself under.
Nicola Yoon takes a huge gamble with this novel and for the most part I think it pays off. One day is a tiny timeframe to set yourself and throw in some instalove and you’ve set yourself a real challenge. I did enjoy The Sun Is Also A Star, but for me it didn’t have the emotional resonance of Everything, Everything. Still worth a read though.