Author: Nicola Yoon
Page Count: 344
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Diverse
Blurb as on Goodreads:
A story of a girl, a boy, and the universe
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
I’ve had this book since the time of its release but I kept putting it off and I don’t know why. I think I’d just read Everything, Everything and really enjoyed it (my first YA contemporary read in years) and maybe I didn’t think this one would be as good. That was so silly of me. I wish I’d picked it up sooner – The Sun Is Also A Star was amazing, adorable and just SO good! I’m already feeling the urge to reread it – and that almost never happens!
I enjoy Nicola Yoon’s writing style – it’s easy to read and the short chapters help me fly through the book and feel so accomplished by the end. It was so easy to fall into the story – and that’s exactly what happened – I fell into the story on page one and only resurfaced at the end.
The entire story takes place over the course of a single day and we follow Natasha and Daniel as they travel all over New York, alone and/or together at certain times, and they get to know each other throughout the day. And they’re fighting against time because Natasha is to be deported at the end of the day. But not just that, we also get short snippets about histories of various other people and things in the universe that just added so much to the story!
I don’t usually enjoy stories set in a single day (or featuring a Groundhog Day scenario or time loops etc) or even road trips or insta-love but this story was nothing like I was dreading it might be.
The thing about falling is you don’t have any control on your way down.
A lot of people were put off by the “insta-love” in the book but honestly, it didn’t seem all that sudden to me. It’s not like their eyes met across a busy intersection and they got magnetically pulled towards each other causing a traffic jam and started making out in the middle of all the chaos or just met in some nightclub, ripped their clothes off, shouted “I love you” and decided to get married in the morning.
No. They saw each other, felt a flutter of something, a possibility, a potential for something amazing, they spent time together, talked a lot, got to know each other, traveled together, shared experiences, made memories – maybe they were naive or hopeless romantics but they felt a connection and took a chance, developed a friendship. So no, it didn’t feel “insta-lovey” to me. There was a gradual shift to more.
We’re kindling amid lightning strikes. A lit match and dry wood. Fire Danger signs and a forest waiting to be burned.
How can he be so okay with showing off his heart?
I liked that this was a case of opposites attract – I love that trope! Natasha and Daniel are from different parts of the city, Natasha is Jamaican while Daniel is Korean American. Natasha is a reserved, logical, no-nonsense person who has neither patience nor time for love, fate, faith, God or anything that isn’t rooted in science. Actually, she has a scientific explanation for just about everything in life.
Daniel is a poet, a dreamer, he believes in signs from the universe, fate, a higher power or mysterious forces in play that must have brought them together on this day for a reason. He is open and adventurous.
We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.
The day they meet is Natasha’s last day in NYC and she is doing everything she can to fight the deportation and hoping for a miracle even though she doesn’t believe in them. Daniel has some time to kill before a very important interview that will decide if he goes to Yale.
She smiles so big that I know that whatever happens will be worth it.
I liked how sweet Daniel is to her even when she keeps rebuffing his attempts at friendship or more. It was so adorable! They’re both dealing with some stuff in their lives and she’s holding on to a lot of uncertainty, low confidence, doubting her worth and identity. I liked how they both helped each other think and change throughout the story. Daniel is just so determined and straightforward and his honesty was so heartwarming to watch.
He stops to take a breath. “Is that okay with you?” he asks.
By the time I closed the book, I had goosebumps all over and tears streaming down my face, my breath just caught in my throat. I hugged this wonderful, wonderful book close and just let the overwhelming feelings wash over me for a while. It was a beautiful story and I really enjoyed it – the chapters alternating between Natasha and Daniel’s POVs, the twists and turns and connections – AND I got to travel all over New York which is high on my list of places to visit someday! I learned a lot, felt a lot and cared a lot. It was my first 5-star read of 2019 and I can’t wait to see the movie!
Anyone who loves a good diverse, contemporary romance and adorable characters. Oh, and New York City!
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Have you read this book yet? Are you planning to? Excited for the movie? Let me know in the comments below!