Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 28 (Part 2)

Hello, everyone! This week I have an awesome book to share with all of you! I found The Sun Is Also A Star to be an great and uniquely written read. If you missed our other numerous posts recently or the first part of this week's reviews, you can find the links below. Also, I've linked some other similar books and books I've loved below. 


The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (347 pages)
Overview: One day really can change everything, and Yoon proves that in her novel. Though a set of random circumstances, Daniel and Natasha wind up meeting in New York City on the day that happens to be Natasha's last in the city. They both recognize their instant connection, but practical Natasha shies away from it while poetic Daniel tries to make her see that their relationship is worth fighting for. As they both face the biggest crossroads of their life, they have one day, and each other, to try to sort it all out before it's too late. Overall: 5 
*This book might be a four way tie for my favorite book of all time*

Characters: 5 Yoon finds a way to make everyone the main character without ever making the story feel crowded. Both Daniel and Natasha are POV characters, and Yoon really lets us into their lives, allowing us to see the intricacies of why they are the way they are. Natasha is very factually minded and practical. She's gotten into an advanced science school and managed to thrive despite her parent's poverty and undocumented status. While I won't spoil this beautiful character evolution and depth, Yoon gives us bits of her past that allow us to understand where she is coming from in her stiff and reality based nature.
Daniel, on the other hand, dreams of being a poet yet is trapped in the expectation of going to Yale and becoming a doctor. Yoon shows how even though he disagrees with his family's strict values and ideas, he really never agrees with them. He is tied between his dreamy nature and the starkness of his parent's idea of reality. Through their meeting, Daniel and Natasha unwind each other and repiece themselves back together in a way that is remarkably organic for unfolding over a single day.
I also have to comment on the way that Yoon reminds the reader that everyone is the main character in their own life story. Through chapters authored in third person, Yoon gives a brief insight behind these characters that impact Daniel and Natasha in small ways giving motivations to actions the main characters barely think twice about.

Plot: 5 I loved the plot. They each have a mission that sends them into the city, and it turns out that meeting each other might have been the most important part. Yoon creates ups and downs with both Daniel and Natasha's relationship and Natasha's final plea to stay in the country after her father's DUI lead to their deportation orders. She manages to keep these evolutions, normally set over days, weeks, or months, realistic in the hyper-condensed time frame. While I'd formed my opinion on Natasha's ultimate fate before even opening the book, I wasn't nearly as invested in the ups and downs of that plot so much as the romantic element, Yoon still managed to throw in a last minute twist in the epilogue that was surprising and perfect.

Writing: 5  Wow. Just wow. I really have no words (actually there are way too many to use) to describe my amazement for Yoon's beautiful writing and what she is able to do with literary devices to not only make a world come to life but feel so complete and full. I love how she thought of, and then was able to execute, the insight chapters into significant but minor characters. These really centered the world and drove home one of her major themes which was fascinating. Hearing the motives or little tidbits Daniel and Natasha were oblivious to added dramatic irony to the mix, and at times, made me want to throw the book across the room. But it is a good reminder that whether you believe in fate or destiny or not, there are forces beyond your control that impact your life in ways you never know.
I also loved the strong sense of family and how that served as a strong motivator to the story. Both of the main characters came from immigrant families and from cultures where family community is very strong. Yoon really lets us into their families which give a greater understanding to their motivations and personalities.
I really did fall in love with how this book held every element of life, of the world around us, in it without ever feeling crowded or confused. It made me feel like I really learned something as well, which I believe is the great gift of reading. Yoon's first book is currently sitting unread on my shelf, and I can say that, without a doubt, I can't wait to dive into it!

Links Of Interest:
Coming Up This Month: October: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/09/coming-up-this-month-october.html
Spotlight Review: We All Fall Down: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/09/spotlight-new-release-we-all-fall-down.html
Week 28 Part 1: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/09/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_27.html

If You Liked This Book:
Dream Things True (http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/07/standout-book-dream-things-true.html) features another stunning story of an undocumented immigrant that stands heavily on family and also has a romance that is put in jeopardy by her family's discovery. (5 star).
*If you were curious the other books tied for first place are
All The Bright Places (http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/standout-book-all-bright-places.html)
and
 Looking For Alaska (http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/07/reviews-and-recommendations-week-16.html)

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dumplin'

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (375 pages)
Overview: Willowdean "Dumplin'" is fat. It's something that she's come to accept about herself even after years of fad diets enforced by her mother and bullying at school. Aunt Lucy certainly helped with her self acceptance, and in cultivating her love of Dolly Parton, but Will is left rudderless after Lucy has a sudden heart attack. To reclaim a bit of confidence she'd lost, Will signs up for the Clover City Pageant. Though she's not the typical beauty queen, Will and her group of friends get to put their own stamp on her mother's beloved pageant. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 I like Willowdean. She lives in the place most of us do on the fine line between insecure and confident. Murphy does a great job building a crew of characters around Willowdean. It was fun to revisit the cast after I'd read Puddin', Murphy's forthcoming companion novel.

Plot: 4 While this book is mainly billed as being about a beaut…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Lianne Oelke (420 pages)
Overview: Jane wants to forget the past. Forget the high school that expelled her. Forget the people that watched her fall from grace. Forget her family who thinks that prayer is the answer to everything. Facing community college at Elbow River as a last resort graduation option, she signs up to be on House of Orange, a new web reality show, to solve her housing problem. Though she knows to expect the unexpected, House of Orange and its inhabitants test Jane in ways she never imagined. Maybe the year won't be as bad as she imagined. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 I LOVE Jane. There are very few main characters I can say that I appreciated more. Her sarcasm, dry humor, and outlook on life echoed my own thoughts, and I loved how she was so introspective. It is fascinating to listen to Jane work through her own thoughts and recognize her behaviors as masks for other feelings. I also thought that Oelke did a wonderful job with her depiction of Ja…

Diving Into Difficult Topics with Books (Part 1)

The world is filled with a lot of negativity and difficult situations. It's also filled with awkward stuff, misunderstandings, and confusing transitions through life. A lot of times, people wish they could have do-overs of certain moments knowing what they learned after the experience. Sometimes it's for awareness, preparedness, or redemption. Regardless, no one has a time machine.
But we do have books. There's been a couple different moments lately that got me thinking about books, censorship, and how books really are a safe space too explore topics that are tough to discuss or process. From starting and graduating high school, leaving for college, navigating breakups (of the romantic and friendship varieties), or seeing different takes on how people think of sex, YA on its most basic level navigates some of the biggest moments of teen years that no one is ever prepared for.
Books offer a safe space to contemplate regular teen moments and more intense situations that see…

Meet Me In Outer Space Review

Meet Me In Outer Space by Melinda Grace (262 pages) To Purchase from your Local Bookstore(Affiliate Link)
Overview: Eddie has an auditory processing disorder. Sometimes, she hears things that don't quite add up. Sometimes, she's able to piece together what is meant, and, others, she asks people to repeat themselves. This works well enough regularly, but, in French 102, it might keep her from her dreams. Eddie needs the language credits to graduate; she needs the French language if she wants to make it in France, the capital in fashion. She fully expects to fail French 102, but she doesn't expect to fall for the TA. Sometimes, though, life defies expectations. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 4 Eddie is a highly relatable character. She's driven and willing to work doubly hard to overcome a system that actively works against her. She also knows what her dream is and how to get it. Spending the summer and fall semester of her junior year in Paris would allow her to step toward he…

Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (306 pages) Buy At Your Local Bookstore*
Overview: It's just one elevator ride. Just one elevator ride to the rest of Will's life. Eight floors takes so long when you're headed to kill someone. Even in revenge. Even for justice. Even when your brother was just murdered. It's even longer when every stop brings someone who's left your life back in. There's so much to learn before Will hits the lobby. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Because of the atmosphere and the point of the story, we don't get super into the characters. They each represent a stop on a horrible cycle. It starts with Buck, Will's older brother, Shawn's, older brother figure. When Buck got killed, Shawn had to avenge his death, which got him killed. He also meets his Uncle Mark, an aspiring filmmaker who's death lead to Will's father's death because of the Rules. Each character doesn't exist to explore themselves or have their own motives- they…

Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (417 pages)
Overview: Glamping should not include getting stranded in the middle of the woods with your ex-best friend. But life doesn't always go as it's supposed to. When Zorie agrees to go with her friend Regan and her crew on a summer camping trip, she doesn't know Lennon will be there, and she's certainly not expecting the group to abandon the two of them in the middle of the California wilderness, forced to complete a multi day track back to civilization. It turns out, though, that an adventure in the woods might be just what they need. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I thought that all of the characters, including the adults, were given dimension. I loved the parental dynamic between Lennon and his moms as well as Zorie's relationship with her step mom who never considered Zorie less than her own daughter.
Lennon and Zorie are also awesome characters. Zorie has to battle her intense anxiety and relinquish control while she's stuck in…

The Second Life of Ava Rivers

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner Overview: The Rivers family has been lost for twelve years. Vera has been missing a twin. Her parents lost a daughter. Then, one day, there's a breakthrough. Ava is at a hospital an hour away, and their lives have been forever changed. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 The characters in the book are all interesting and quite complex. I really liked Vera and her very honest inner conflicts about her family's situation. She loses a lot of her life when Ava suddenly comes back into the picture. She's been in Ava's shadow her entire life, and no one knows what to do when Ava comes back.  Her parents and brother are also strongly featured as they fall apart and cope in their own ways. It makes it clear just how impactful events like these are on people who are not directly seen as the "victims". 
Plot: 4 This isn't a fast paced story. There are some wow reveals, but, overall, it is much more about the fallout to each twist th…

The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (372 pages)
Overview: Five years ago, five cheerleaders on the same high school squad died in three separate incidents, but how separate were they? That's what Monica wants to know. Her sister, Jen, was the last teen to die in the tragedy when she died by suicide, but Monica isn't convinced it was simply survivors guilt at play. She's also not convinced that Jack Canning was truly at fault for two girls murders or that the car accident that took the final two girls was really an accident. With an unlikely friend by her side, Monica sets out to dig up the truth about what really happened to those five girls even if it jeopardizes her own life. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Monica's voice. Even though it's told in third person, her character really shined through. Despite making some poor choices and putting herself in dangerous situations, she does strive to do what she thinks will bring truth or justice. Ginny, a girl she connects…