In an era where books intended for teenagers tend to have a darker edge and deal with heavy issues, Sun is a ray of delight. That is not to say it doesn’t deal with some fairly pressing issues: illegal immigrants, family expectations, cultural differences, and fear of losing oneself, but the way in which these are portrayed are refreshing.
The two main characters: Daniel and Natasha are both quirky and different. Natasha is a scientist, believing in only what can be proven and holding a cynical view re love and destiny. She also only has 12 hours or so until her family are being deported, back to Jamaica. I loved her for her attitude, and also appreciated her taste in music: 90’s grunge, such as Nirvana and Temple of the Dog.
Daniel has the heart of a poet. He does believe in love and destiny – although he also respects scientific fact. Unfortunately, his parents are pushing him to become a doctor : a path he does not wish to take. His relative naivete and playful openness are utterly endearing.
Through a series of events, call it coincidence or call it fate, the two are drawn together and become intrinsically linked. Daniel, attracted to Natasha not only for her appearance and quick mind, but also her cynicism, issues a challenge: he can make her fall in love with him, using science. Natasha, who is likewise attracted to him but also extremely skeptical, accepts.
Intertwined with their stories – split narrative between the two players – we have brief science lessons plus insights into the lives, and minds, of minor characters who cross their path: the driver that almost runs Natasha over (Daniel saves her life), a security guard, Natasha’s father, the paralegal and his secretary. These add an element to the tale, their stories either influencing, or being influenced by, Natasha and Daniel.
Overall, an engrossing and delightfully charming read with moments both bitter and sweet. A touch of magic delivered into the real world.
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
The Sun is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon
Published by Corgi Children’s