Rated Reads

The Sun Is Also a Star

by Nicola Yoon

Rated: High

Natasha has been living in the United States, specifically New York City, since she was 8. She was born in Jamaica and her family is undocumented. Today, because her father attracted the attention of the authorities, she and her parents and younger brother are being deported to a country she hasn’t considered home for about nine years.

Daniel is a Korean-American who wants to be a poet. His parents, however, want a secure future for him: They want him to go to Yale and become a doctor. Today, he has an interview that could really help him get into Yale.

Through a series of steps that are collectively wildly unlikely, Natasha and Daniel meet. Daniel, with his poet’s soul, is quite sure that they are meant for each other, almost immediately. Natasha, with her interest in science and the heart of one who’s seen her actor father disappointed in his dreams (and consequently disappoint his wife in her hopes for security and a good home), feels the pull to Daniel but resists.

Their story plays out entirely over the course of that one fateful day. It’s sweet and romantic and emotional. How can the universe have brought Natasha and Daniel together if it’s just going to take them apart right away?

The Sun Is Also a Star is undeniably romantic and heartbreaking. It captures all the strong emotions of first love. Plus, it explores themes of race and interracial relationships, of the push and pull between generations of parents who are immigrants and their American children, who straddle cultures. It looks at the issue of undocumented immigration and how it affects individuals and families. I couldn’t help but be sucked right in by its gravitational pull. If you’re in the mood for a romantic story, this is it.

Rated: High. There are probably 20 uses of strong language and more instances of milder language. There are more than a handful of few vulgar sexual references, and the characters have one particularly intense makeout session that involves hands roaming a bit.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Sun Is Also a Star
  • by Nicola Yoon
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: