A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about a lot -- from popular culture (lots of music references, particularly to '90s grunge) to history (like the historical context for why Koreans own African American hair-product stores) to scientific theories, time-travel paradoxes, and immigration facts. Nearly every chapter has some form of relevant educational material that enhances the storyline.
Stay true to your own path even if it differs from what your parents expect of you. Be open to the possibility of love and helping others. Have hope in the face of defeat. Love transcends superficial differences.
Positive Role Models
Daniel is smart, caring, funny, and empathetic. He's an advocate for Natasha and wants to help her family stay in the country. He falls for her quickly and wants to protect and defend her. Natasha is smart and logical and a critical thinker who learns to ask for and accept help. She also learns to open herself up to friendship and love.
Violence & Scariness
A car with a distracted driver nearly hits a girl. Daniel punches his brother in the face and knees him in the groin; his brother punches him in the gut and the face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mention of an adult couple who have an affair (the man is married). Passionate kissing that almost leads to sex. Tasha sees her ex making out with the girl with whom he cheated on her. Mechanical description of the chemical nature of love and sex ("Oxytocin is released during orgasm and makes you feel closer to the person you've had sex with"). A couple of penis-size and masturbation jokes.
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Occasional strong language: "a--hole," "s--t," "f--k," "f--ked up," "f--king," "dick," "douche," "Jesus Christ," "bastards," "damn," "bag of dicks," one "motherf--ker," and more.
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Products & Purchases
BMW, iPhone, '90s bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and the like.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Natasha recalls how her father was drunk, drove while drunk, and crashed his car into a parked police car, which is how he was arrested and ended up on the list for convicted undocumented immigrants to be deported. An adult smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything) won a 2017 Michael J. Printz Honor and was a 2016 National Book Award finalist for Young People's Literature. The romantic coming-of-age story follows two high school seniors -- Jamaican American Natasha and Korean American Daniel -- from the day they meet on a crowded New York City street and shows how they go on to change each other's lives. There is occasional strong language ("s--t," "f--k," "a--hole") and some passionate (in one case horizontal) making out. The book contains many educational and historical lessons about everything from immigration law to time-travel paradoxes to the reasons so many African-American hair-supply stores are owned by Koreans. The story is also one of the few interracial young-adult romances to feature two people of color, showing that love can and does bloom across differences.
Is It Any Good?
This touching love story about two teens who fall for each other during 12 intense hours together in New York City is a beautifully written, unforgettable romance. The Sun Is Also a Star is wholly fictional, but the dynamic between logical science and math geek Natasha and sweetly sincere and poetic Daniel is inspired by Jamaican American author Nicola Yoon's own romantic history with her Korean American husband, David. It's no wonder, then, that the whip-smart, geeky banter that Daniel and Natasha share is adorable one moment and intensely soulful the next. They communicate like two people who have known each other for years, even though they're at the start of something undeniably special. Yoon alternates points of view between the two leads and occasionally inserts other perspectives from supporting characters who intersect with Daniel and Natasha during their time together. Those asides might have been a distraction, but they actually enhance and enrich the story and add layers to characterization.
The odds are stacked against our central couple due to their fundamental differences -- not only their cultural ones but their personalities. She's a realist; he's a dreamer. She thinks love is just a series of chemicals that create temporary feelings of arousal and intimacy, while he believes in fate and soulmates and two people -- them, in particular -- being "meant to be." What else but fate, he suggests, could've led to their meet-cute and subsequent coincidences that brought them together? But despite their many differences, these two are both outsiders from immigrant families. They're at odds with their parents and struggle to be true to themselves. They find something in each other that sparks a sense of safety, happiness, and ultimately love -- even if their future together is uncertain.
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