Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Reading / Friday, January 18th, 2019

So, firstly, you should know that I love a good YA Novel.

I loved YA growing up, of course, but my love for it returned when i became a teacher. See, ! remebered reading these great, compelling Young Adult novels when I was an actual Young Adult, and desperately waiting to talk to someone about them. Anyone. Really. None of my friends were bookworms like me, and my teachers sure as heck weren’t discussing anything that wasn’t on our super old school reading list.

Midway through my first year teaching in New York City, I spotted a student reading a book on the hallway floor during my school’s lunch block. I asked what that student was reading, and invited them to sit in my classroom to read each day. Within a week a handful of bookworms were reading and chatting in my classroom during lunch and sometimes during extended day. I asked them all what they were reading, and made a point to read some of their favorite books during my long commute on the M15 Uptown bus each morning.

By the end of that year I’d convinced our school to let me read The Hunger Games with our sub-separate Special Ed 11th Grade English class, and I’d found myself a bookclub comprised of other grown women who enjoyed YA Fiction.

So I’m a little bit of an expert. Well, expert-ish.

I recently finished the beautiful Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  This Novel is about to become a movie starring the fabulous Amandla Stenberg, which I am also excited about.

The novel centers around an 18-year-old girl who has spent most of her life trapped within the confines of her home due to a rare autoimmune disorder that makes it challenging for her body to fight off infections and viruses. Maddy is smart and sweet and exactly the type of young lady all teachers want in their classroom. She’s a great narrator, and when the ever-lovable, manic-pixie-dream-boy Olly moves in next door, her slow movement from infatuation to love is absolutely compelling to read. Olly isn’t just a MPDB, though; his family has a complicated backstory and he’s got his own challenges, thoughts, and charming sense of humor.

The plot moves at a great pace, and before you know it Olly and Maddy are running off to Hawaii together, pushing the limits of Maddy’s medical reality and experiencing a whole new world (pardon the cliche). While there are the typical over-romanticized teen lovey-dovey moments, there’s also an ongoing undercurrent of real, relatable conflict. Both Olly and Maddy need to recognize and accept their parent’s flaws in order to move forward into adulthood, which is such a real and relatable issue.  It was this part of the story, the family plotline, that made this book what it is. Teen romances are a dime a dozen, but YA novels that portray parents making (big) mistakes and then turn around and preach humility, forgiveness, and patience are rare, indeed.

This book definitely brought back echoes of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars at times, but was different enough that it felt creative and refreshing. I wouldn’t say it’s on the exact same level as TFIOS, but it’s close. I seriously couldn’t stop reading once I got into it!

So, if you’re at all into the YA world, give this book a shot:) You won’t be disappointed!

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