The "The Sun is Also A Star" by Nicola Yoon took me on an emotional roller coaster containing fate, love, science, poetry and immigration, all within the time span of twelve hours, Natasha and Daniel fall irrevocably in love. Natasha only believes in the scientific, things she can quantify and she definitely does not believe in love, she only believes in fact. Fact, Natasha is an illegal immigrant and her entire family is being deported to Jamaica the following day. This fact alone results in Natasha deeming Daniel as waste of time with his poetic hopeful nature. Both parties are from completely different walks of life, Daniel is on his way to an Ivy League interview that his Korean parents are forcing him to go to while Natasha is about to be deported, however even with the seemingly different paths, the Universe has conspired to get these two together and will do so no matter how many crazy coincidences have to happen.
One of the best parts about this book is the way in which it is narrated, not only does it switch between Natasha and Daniel but Nicola Yoon interjects short histories of things that are mentioned in the chapters. For example Yoon includes a History of Natural Hair a History of Natasha's father and short anecdotes and backstories on people that Natasha and Daniel cross paths with. This narration clearly conveys that the book is somewhat told from the Universes point of view, I was intrigued by these backstory anecdotes because they allow the reader to understand why the characters are the way they are.
While Daniel is convinced that he and Natasha will fall in love, thanks to his scientific list of steps that guarantee falling in love, while Natasha tries her hardest at one final attempt to stop the deportation. Despite Natasha's effort in not falling in or believing in love with Daniel, she cant help but fall for Daniels hopeful pure nature, honestly I have to say even I fell in love with Daniels earnest sarcastic personality.
While this book may be a sappy love story all does not turn out well for the young couple when the deportation cannot be stopped, Natasha and Daniel are forced to part ways, I especially liked the reality within Natasha and Daniels thoughts. They did not expect to stay in contact because they know that time and distance are a relationships worst enemy. The two live they're lives and know they can move on without each other. The realness within Natasha and Daniels thoughts was refreshing, it shows that this book doesn't exist in a world where everything always works out right away. This book way particularly refreshing because not many Young Adult books are centered around immigration.
The end of the book it is tied together perfectly, the universe is conspiring yet again by bringing Natasha and Daniel together in a wild coincidence that really made me strongly believe in the Universes many dimensions in which things turn out differently. I now wholeheartedly believe that the Universe conspires to give us exactly what we need. The end of the book truly embodies the saying "If you love something set it free and if it was truly yours it will come back to you".
Nicola Yoon created something very special within the pages of "The Sun is Also a Star" I highly recommend this book for dreamers like Daniel or scientists like Natasha to be amazed by the Universes ways of conspiring.
Everything Everything is an impact-full unpredictable read, going into this book I felt as if it would be another tragic love story with a death that would destroy me at the end. I was happy to be wrong. The storyline of Madeline and her SCID (a disease causing a very weak immune system, which gives Madeline the inability to fight off infection, forcing her to remain in her home), was very well planned out and was an interesting take on a force that tears two people apart. I had never read a book that involved SCID, seeing a relationship develop non traditionally because of no physical interaction made it all the more real. Olly wasn't concerned with Madeline physically he was interested in her mentally and emotionally which was refreshing.
The book also boasts diversity in that Madeline is Japanese and African American, Representation Matters!!
The diction and structure made the book a breath of fresh air, and incredibly hard to put down. Everything Everything is not a typical trivial love story, what you may expect to happen turns out completely differently.
I was entranced with Nicola Yoon's airy writing style which made everything flow together like a work of art, accompanied by the drawings illustrating Madeline's day to day feelings which made me connect even more to the characters. Going into this book, I did not expect to become so attached to the characters because of its size, however, the drawings seemed to give me a glimpse into Madeline's mind which made me very happy.
This book, being Nicola Yoon's first, was impeccable, it clearly showcased her writing style and creativity as the drawings and diction burst trough the bindings of the book. The characters were limited, which correlated to how Madeline's life is like, she knows few people because of her SCID.
One of my favorite things about the book was the messages between Olly and Madeline, which really portrayed so much about both characters. In each message bubble the reader finds something new within the character, the connection that developed between them was truly something real and not to mention adorable.
Some of the plot was somewhat irrational, including the fact that she did not seem surprised or scared when she bought two plane tickets to Hawaii and experienced the world for the first time. I felt like this point in the plot was unrealistic, a person with SCID would probably be either in awe of the world or be intensely afraid of it. Madeline was too non nonchalant about leaving inside of her home, which is the only thing she had known for more than half of her life, to being in and experiencing everything the world has to offer. I felt as if this point in the plot was just placed there in order to move the story along in a very severe way.
Nicola Yoon then made up for the sudden lapse in plot judgement by giving the reader reason to be suspicious about Madeline's mother, at this point in the plot the story went from being lighthearted and about young love to being dark and twisty. Madeline's mother gave me evil mom from Coraline vibes toward the end which made the story way more exciting. By the end of the book I was pleading for more explanation pertaining to the mother, just like Madeline felt hurt and betrayed so did I. I couldn't fathom why the mother would put Madeline in such precarious situations.
By the end of the book Madeline had uplifted herself and began to live her life again, which I found wholesome and all encompassing. When Madeline and Olly meet again in a used book shop I couldn't help but smile at the pages, seeing young love stitch its way back together again, the way the story began is the way the story ended and I appreciated that both Madeline and Olly got the happiness that they both desperately deserve.
I highly recommend this book, not only is it nontraditional but it also boasts lighthearted humor, amazing illustrations (I mean look at that cover) and a warm ending that will inevitably make you're heart happy, as it did mine. Nicola Yoon is slowly becoming one of my favorite authors.
This Shattered World is the second book in the Star bound trilogy, the sequel picks up on another planet being colonized, where the army and rebel groups are fighting making the planet a scene filled with conflict. This book managed to give a completely new viewpoint on the conflict in the universe on the colonized planets. In addition to giving first hand insight as to what it was like on planets that rebelled against the colonizing industry, and what life was like for native people while colonization was ripping through their livelihood. This book is set on the planet Avon, after reading the first book one would be familiar with the planet because one of the main characters from the first book was stationed there. However, this book is centered around two new main characters, Jubillee Chase, a commanding officer in the army trying to stop a rebel uprising on Avon and Flynn Cormac, a member of the rebels fighting for Avon. The authors did an amazing job describing Avon in all of its swampy glory, making thee reader feel as though they are standing in the foggy moist swamp themselves.This sequel also gave a deeper look into what the whispers are and where the came from, in addition to a look into who the real antagonist is.
The sequel describe two aspects of a war which I thought was a very interesting take on a war torn society, two sides motivated by two different stories, making the plot ever more beautiful. The book was again told from two point of views, each chapter switching from Jubilee to Flynn, which, I have to say, always makes me a tad bit nervous, I always feel like authors do this so that the reader will have another point of view for when a character dies. However both characters represented strong aspects of what life was like in a universe where so much injustice is being carried out by the most powerful man in the universe. The sequel was also set up in the same way as the first book with the cut away scenes to another occurrence that I rather liked.
Jubillee was an amazing lead, I appreciated how strong she was in the face of adversity, which was very diffrent from the last lead, Lilac who was not as strong throughout the plot. Flynn was also a refreshing lead being from what seemed to be the wrong side of the spectrum. In this book readers got to see more history and culture behind wherre the people on these scattered planets came from. The reader finds that everyone is from Old Earth and moved on from there, some keeping thier original histories intact for example, Flynn and the Fianna were all of Irish decent and Jubillee was of Asian and African American Decent. It was interesting to see how these cultures were so preserved even after humans have been distanced from earth for so long.
The authors did something a tad bit different with this love story, even though again both parties came from two different backgrounds, the approach was way different to the point where I did not want Jubilee to fall for Flynn. The twos first meeting resulted in Jubilee being kidnapped by Flynn which made the whole situation seem somewhat stolkholmy... Although Flynn only did this to prove a point to his people, I still think Jubilee falling for him was somewhat inappropriate in the situation at hand.
Flynn as a character felt very similar to Tarver, it was almost as if the same character with a different physical description was being written about, which I felt was somewhat strange and dry. Jubilee and Flynn seemed like the same person just with different backgrounds, their similar mindsets made them a great team as they fought to expose the injustice on Avon and stop the corrupt governmental terraforming companies.
I loved how the book brought back Tarver and Lilac to help Jubilee and Flynn, it made the characters more likable because the reader is already to enveloped into thinking about what happened after the first book with Lilac. I enjoyed seeing Tarver happy and comical, it made Tarver seem like a real person. With that cool, perfectly placed cameo everything started moving faster, re introducing the problem with the whispers and solving the issue on Avon much faster.
It was rather interesting to see the whispers point of view in this book, and their thoughts and feelings led to a new understanding of the situation. The Whispers point of view was well needed and very important to the plot at large, and to understanding that the whispers are innocent in all of this.
It was also refreshing to see good happen after solving the problems on these colonized planets, represented by the cloudy skies finally clearing on Avon, which really spoke to me in a deep way. In addition something the Whispers said to Jubilee was so beautiful coming from a non human entity. It made me and hopefully readers everywhere that everyone has a purpose in this world and that purpose is beautiful. That quote goes as follows.
“You're the most important thing in this universe. You; this vessel; the people of this planet; lovers, warriors, artists, leaders, dreams more numerous than stars. Each mind unique, each thought created for an instant and then broken apart to form new ones. You don't understand the unbearable beauty of being you.”
This novel, brilliantly written by Annie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, is the first of a trilogy chronicling the journey of different human pairings as they face the terrain of various planets together having only each other to rely on. I thought this book was very well written as a result of it having 2 view points for the reader to understand the story from. Each of the main characters, Lilac and Tarver, had their own point of view and each chapter switched from one character to the other. These differing points of view allows the reader to get a glimpse into the respective characters mind and why they made certain decisions. The authors did an amazing job painting a clear picture of the planet the characters were on and the emotions the characters were feeling. The descriptions were so gripping that I felt, as a reader, that I was transported into the books universe. In addition, the authors did a marvelous job creating two different voices that told the story, it was clear in the narration from both of the characters the differing feelings and experiences that speak to the story as a whole. The novel chronicles the emotional turmoil the characters face as they are marooned on a deserted planet, one being an heiress and one being a soldier, the book gave a very interesting take on what one goes through when one can only rely on the other person. The story has equal amounts of humor and action which was important to the development of the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because it took the reader on a journey that, while being terrifying for the characters, was very vital in the character development of both characters. The format of the book kept things very intriguing, at the start of every chapter there was a dialogue from an interrogation taking place in the future that really analyzed what happened in the previous chapter which I found very helpful. As I reached the ending of the book, because of Lilacs journey, I couldn't help but question "is ones soul so trivial that we are in fact replaceable?" The book left me craving more of the intriguing world, causing me to start the second book immediately, I highly recommend this book.
Paper Towns was a very interesting novel, but plot was pointless. The writing style was filled with many thoroughly thought out metaphors, which added depth and yearning to see the main character, Quentin, reach his goal. John Green did a marvelous job balancing the humor, development of the characters and the more serious discussions about self identity and perceptions. This novel really captured what it may be like to be a teen trying to figure out the next steps in life through self discovery. The most impressive character was Quentin because he is relatable and lost in life as a teenager and and incredibly well written character, Quentin is realistic and captures what it is like to be stepping into another chapter in life trying to hold on what one once had. Every time Quentin speaks the reader gets a glimpse into his mind which is incredibly helpful on the characters journey to find his star crossed lover Margo Roth Spiegelman . The character of Margo Roth Spiegelman was a character that really embodied the idea and main theme of the novel, Margo was a person that many people see as an idea rather than a person. Throughout the book the perceptions of Margo are ever evolving, and by the ending it is clear that Margo is more complex than anyone could have ever imagined. However, I thought that Margo made Quentin find her for no apparent reason, the goal of finding Margo was reached however, Quentin sacrificed so much to drive across the country to find someone who did not want to be found. Margo wanted to slip into nothingness and remain a mystery to become what the misconceptions of her made her up to be. Therefore I believe that Margo's character made the journey of finding her very pointless and a waste of Quentin's time. I particularly got very frustrated with Margo because she wasted Quentin's time all to become nothing. In closing, I thought this book was well written and filled with amazing metaphors that will make the reader think, but the story was pointless to me. My favorite quote that fit the novel perfectly was "What a treacherous thing to believe a person is more than a person."
The Fault in Our Stars is perhaps the most praised story by both critics and the media, the love story and the characters envelope the reader from start to finish. John Green did an amazingly beautiful job writing this story and making the book a literary masterpiece, the narration by the character Hazel Grace makes the reader really catch a glimpse into the unsettling reality that people with detrimental diseases face. The Fault in Our Stars is a tragically amazing story that induced tears from start to finish, happy tears, sad tears, and all tears in between made me have to halt reading to get my thoughts together in a way that I wouldn't completely fall apart. This story documents a love that, for these ill fated young people, was the love that only comes once in a lifetime, for them this love was star crossed, and destined to fail as a result of the fatality of their disease. The characters were so breathtaking that the reader becomes part of the characters and feel their tragic emotions, this book not only captures the feelings of those who are dealing with sickness and death, but also those who they leave behind. The Fault in Our Stars shows the pain of the tragic ending of fatal diseases but also portrays that one can have a lifetime full of love in the shortest of times that the person is with you, like in the case of Hazel and Augustus. It doesn't matter how much time you've had with your loved one, its what you did and felt during that time that makes all the difference. Perhaps the best takeaway from this book was that some Infinities are simply smaller than others. I highly reccomend this epic tearjerker.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a life changing piece of literature that perfectly chronicles a life journey so inspiring that I still reread certain parts, especially when facing a challenge. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from this book and it goes as follows "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." In addition, the author uses nature as a point of reference to tell a story of believing in your ability and dreams in the most vivid descriptions. This book will uplift and awaken a new sense of self determination in the reader, imparting newfound wisdom that will stick with the reader for many years to come. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone in need of a little pick me up inspiration to follow their dreams and be the best person you can be. Perhaps the most important message I received from reading this marvelous piece of literature was to live your life to the fullest of your dreams. Never Settle.