This book is so damn adorable. It takes on pretty heavy issues (anxiety, sisterhood, body-image, rejection, homophobia, etc) but does so with such chaThis book is so damn adorable. It takes on pretty heavy issues (anxiety, sisterhood, body-image, rejection, homophobia, etc) but does so with such charm that it doesn't come off as an issue book AT ALL. It's light without being fluffy. Gorgeous without being overwrought.
I loved Molly's complicated feelings about how her relationship with her sister was changing and it made the book pretty evenly about friendship, family, and romance, which is a very difficult balance to strike. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a sweet read that will keep you smiling. ...more
So this review is pretty much a love letter to the author. Just FYI, before you proceed.
I have been a lover of reading for my entire lifeSo this review is pretty much a love letter to the author. Just FYI, before you proceed.
I have been a lover of reading for my entire life. I started reading before I was five, and I never stopped. And yet. I have never written a letter to an author besides once, when I was ten, for a school assignment.
But dear Nicola. I had to write to you.
I want to tell you something about your beautiful book, The Sun is Also a Star, but before I do, I want to tell you a few things about me.
1. I love Taking Back Sunday and Brand New and Jimmy Eat World and Blink-182. This of course isn’t the only music that I like, but a lot of what I like is the kind of music bands like those play. And for the longest time I was embarrassed by how moved I was by this music--music that so many insisted wasn’t for people like me. Music that people used as proof that I wasn’t enough of whatever it was they'd decided I should be.
2. My first boyfriend was born in Jamaica. He was East Indian and American, but he had a Jamaican accent that showed itself when he was angry. He was Jamaican, but he had pale skin and thick, black hair. He was a mess of contradictions and he gave me my first kiss. I didn’t love him, but he was the boy who showed me that love could look however I wanted it to.
3. I’m black, and I just married the love of my life. He is Chinese-American.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff: your incredible novel.
I could take the time to tell you about your characters and why I’ve fallen for each of them. I could tell you how much I love Daniel’s inability to hide anything that he is feeling, but that Natasha’s vulnerability hit me hardest whenever it showed itself. That Natasha’s passion for Nirvana was a validation of sorts that I didn’t know I still craved.
I could tell you that I can count on a single hand how many novels I’ve read that had parents who were actual people with passions and regrets and their own full heads and hearts, and not just Robo-moms and dads, and that as I get older, seeing my parents as people has become one of the biggest revelations of my life. Parents want to be known just as their children do.
I could tell you that I felt more badly for Charlie than I did for anyone else in the novel, even Natasha. Because even when she was losing everything, his own self-hatred meant that he had already lost it all.
But I won’t go into the gorgeous intricacies and intimacies you weave together so perfectly with and throughout Daniel and Natasha’s love story. I won’t talk about Irene or Jeremy or Hannah Winter (but they are, each of them, exquisite).
I’ll just say this: Your book changed my life.
I am not exaggerating.
I am thirty, and I’ve been dating my now-husband since I was nineteen, because I met him in college and loved him almost immediately and I never let him go. Even so, how I wish I had this book to read when I was fifteen. How I wish I had known that I wasn’t alone when I saw so clearly how completely complicated and lovely people could be. When I knew in my bones that I could probably fall for someone regardless of what they looked like and where they were from, and I felt so unmoored by this knowledge about myself that I cut out dozens and dozens of pictures of men from magazines looking for a pattern; a “type”. I wish I’d had this book when I’d just kissed my Jamaican-American, East Indian, first-ever boyfriend, who more than one person in my extended family referred to as a “white boy,” and thought that he wasn’t worth knowing because he seemed so foreign. They thought I was too young to know what I really wanted and needed. I wish I’d had it for all the people who looked at me in the years that followed and thought they had me pegged as a ‘black girl who liked white boys’, because of the way I spoke or the music I liked or my first boyfriend, like finding someone to love was something as simple as that. Like liking white boys or any boy who didn’t look like me was something to be condemned.
And there’s more. There’s this love story that didn’t exist on paper before you told it. Now your kid (and my future kids!) and every kid who has a black mom and an Asian dad will have a story about two people who look like their parents falling in love in spite of everything. Now every Asian boy who has a crush on a black girl, or vice versa won’t feel strange or different or alone.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I loved your book. I love your book. It is endlessly important to me.
I guess what I’ve been trying all this time to say is: Thank you.
God. These books are so good. I honestly feel uncomfortable by how much I enjoy getting into the head of a serial killer. Creepy and voicey and oh GodGod. These books are so good. I honestly feel uncomfortable by how much I enjoy getting into the head of a serial killer. Creepy and voicey and oh God, just so so good....more