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Joy Khalifa

Egypt

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

February 18, 2019

    “Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.” This quote from the Young Adult book, The Sun is Also a Star, is linked to the main character Natasha. In this book by Nicola Yoon, Natasha struggles to understand why she should love herself, her race, and her country. She also struggles with learning to love the new stranger that appears in her life, Daniel. This book has been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide and while it has been widely read, it has not been widely understood.
    
    This book begins with the adolescent, Natasha Kingsley, in the office with an immigration officer who refuses to let her stay in her country; she is being forced to go back to Jamaica, so she decides to take a walk. She realized it’s her last day in America and while on the walk, she becomes so heavily focused on her music and forgets about the stop sign. She walks without thinking and almost bumps a moving car but is saved by Daniel. Daniel is an immigrant from South Korea and is on his way to an interview at Yale, to become a doctor because of his parents’ dreams. Their adventures escalate quickly and they become romantically involved. This story shows how two immigrants living in America have the ability to relate to one another and to become confident enough to form a friendship. As their affection towards each other increases, they start to learn new things about their own lives too. This book targets young adults- the protagonist of the story is one herself and it discusses themes like love and immigration that young activists now explore.

    This book speaks about some important issues. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is immigration. The two main characters are both immigrants from two different countries but find common ground as they have both have forged new lives in the United States. Daniel comes from South Korea and Natasha is from Jamaica but somehow they share a connection. Natasha and her family are going to be deported back to Jamaica and this is creating a serious issue. It’s hard for families to relocate and to find a good job. Natasha’s family came from Jamaica where their life was hard and living in the United States has been hard for them too. They left Jamaica in order to live a better life, however, their life at the moment isn’t the best. They live in a small apartment and are struggling financially. Like many families, the main reason they immigrate to big, populated countries is because they want to have a better life. They want a life that will give them something better, something exciting, and something with money. Money is what families rely on. They want more money in order to live a somewhat normal life. They work hard and try their best but it all goes back to money and its effect on people.  Many people don’t understand this because our parents most probably have not immigrated from a small, poor country. We started our lives in a great country and we’re living a great life without worrying about when or what we’ll eat next. Despite that, there is a serious issue in this world. People are always having to immigrate, going back-and-forth to find a place to feel free but it’s most probably illegal.

    This book instantly grabs your attention with its take on our worldwide issues. Readers become very aware of immigration and how it’s affecting our everyday lives and we don’t even know it. It’s affecting our lives because we see new people every day. People are coming and many are leaving for economic and sometimes political reasons. Our population is increasing partly because of the immigrants that are arriving in each country.  This book speaks out to many people; I can’t relate to the idea of immigration but with this book, I can indirectly feel the pain. I connect to the pain that Natasha goes through when she can’t love herself. She’s having trouble loving her identity. Most people hide themselves behind a thick wall because they don’t want to show people who they really are. I’m the same because I’m scared. I’m scared people won’t like my flaws or imperfections. I’m scared that people won’t like me for my weird, goofy side but slowly through other people’s help, I’ve been able to show my “true identity” and here’s the thing; loving yourself takes time but loving yourself with the help of the surrounding people makes everything easier.

    This book allowed me to unravel a mystery and it is that we’re not aware of the agony that is located around us. We are breathing everyday, smiling, and looking forward to tomorrow yet some people are slowly breaking down and going through excruciating moments. They won’t show it, but pain is present. Pain is present and we are oblivious to its extreme existence. I have learned a really important lesson: my biggest pain in life isn’t the fact that I’m an immigrant or not but it’s the fact that I am having a hard time with appreciating my work and my fighting spirit. I’m having a hard time appreciating myself. There is no rule on when and what to be sad about. My problem is a problem and I can cry if I want to. I can struggle if I want to. Natasha didn’t walk around with tears on her face, she stood strong but inside she was slowly and indirectly breaking and disintegrating. Daniel was trying to please his parents by becoming something he didn’t want to be. He struggles with the fact that he also needs to please himself. His parents matter but he matters too. It’s hard, it’s really hard to appreciate what you’ve done to the world and it takes time, a lot of time. Besides, we’ve got time.
 

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