Natasha Kingsley has one day to be saved by destiny. To be clear, she doesn't believe in destiny; life is a series of random events and coincidences to which people desperately try to ascribe meaning. She believes in chemistry and physics and data and facts. But with her family about to be deported from New York City to Jamaica tomorrow, she's desperate enough to give destiny a chance.
Daniel Bae's parents have his life all planned out for him: go to a fancy college, become a doctor, have a family, be happy. And with his obnoxious (and usual parental favorite) older brother Charlie having just flunked out of Harvard, the pressure is on. Today, Daniel will interview for Yale, aka Second-Best School, and commit himself to the life his parents have planned for their Second-Best Son. But he has a few hours before getting locked into that future--and with it, he decides to wander the city, work on his poetry, and indulge in his wild dreams while he still can. After all, who knows what destiny might have in store for him?
When Natasha and Daniel stumble into each other on this life-defining day, they quickly realize that there's something special here. Destiny? Fate? Random chance? True love? Over the course of a single day, they traverse the city, struggle for the futures they want, and discover each other. Maybe it's true love and destiny, or maybe love really is just chemistry and coincidence. But there's something between them worth exploring, and whether it's random chance or the will of the universe, this one, life-changing day gives them the opportunity to do just that.
The Sun Is Also A Star is one of those books I've heard a lot about and been meaning to read for a while, and it completely lived up to my high expectations. The chapters are short and mostly alternate between Natasha and Daniel, but they also give glimpses into the minds and lives of a variety of other characters, both major and minor, who they interact with, and touch on subjects from the history of the Black women's hair care industry to that of the multiverse theory, all of which weave back into the story seamlessly.
I especially liked the story's exploration of the ways tiny moments and interactions can create enormous ripples or profoundly change a person's life--this style could easily be confusing or unfocused, but Yoon's thoughtful, beautiful writing, plotting, and characters deftly weave The Sun Is Also A Star into a kaleidoscope of stories, questions, ideas, and lives, all centered about this one day and the two central protagonists. I don't generally like romances, but these many intersecting pieces of the story--and the fact that the characters are all excellent--made me enjoy this one, and gave it a broader, more intriguing scope and depth than a traditional romance novel.
The story's explorations of destiny, coincidence and true love are grounded both by real, fascinating concepts in the sciences, especially astrophysics, and by the believable, perhaps equally fascinating impact that minor interactions and occurrences have on the various characters and their lives. Insightful, absorbing, and irresistible, I would recommend The Sun Is Also A Star to readers ages fourteen and up looking for a story about the wonder of everything from tiny personal moments to the universe itself.