A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is award-winning author Nicola Yoon's second novel -- the story of how two teens meet and spend 12 fateful hours together in New York City: Jamaican American Natasha Kingsley has 24 hours until her family of four is deported to their native Jamaica, and Korean American Daniel Bae wants to be a poet but feels forced to make his parents happy and attends a college interview with a Yale alum. But as Natasha attempts a last-ditch way to keep her family legally in the United States, she bumps into Daniel again and again, and he's immediately drawn to her. She's super logical and science-oriented, while he's a romantic at heart. He persuades her to try to see whether they can fall in love scientifically by answering a series of questions that promote intimacy. Meanwhile, they have to decide whether they can successfully take care of their immediate obligations.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Sun Is Also a Star compares with other all-in-one-day love stories? What others have you read?
The Sun Is Also a Star is a rare example of an interracial romance featuring two minority lead characters. Why is this worth noting?
What did you think of the "history" chapters in the book? How do they add to the story? What did you learn from them?
Who's a role model in this book? How do Natasha and Daniel exemplify positive communication and empathy?
- Author: Nicola Yoon
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: November 1, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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