Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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?
This is a book I was excited for simply because I liked Nicola Yoon’s debut. I had my issues with Yoon’s debut (that ending, just, really? And why wasn’t it explored more, that’s what was missing) but in the end I really enjoyed her debut and hoped I’d feel the same way about this book. Thankfully, I did. It was a really good contemporary read that was interesting in that it gave two opposing views of the immigrant experience in America and also it had a really sweet romance at it’s centre.
I’ve struggled with where to begin with this review as I do have mixed feelings about it much like I did with Yoon’s first book. I suppose I’ll begin with the stuff that went right for me.
Starting With The Good
The thing I loved most about this book is that it’s about the immigrant experience in America, be that legal or illegal immigrants. Daniel is a Korean American whose parents are first generation immigrants and who is struggling to live his own life when his parents are applying Korean standards on him. Then Natasha is an illegal immigrant in the US and struggling with the threat of deportation and returning to a country she doesn’t know. She was young when she left Jamaica and doesn’t view it as her country like she does America. It’s an interesting look at what it means to be American and what it means to belong to a country. It’s not just the country you were born but it is the country you grow up and live in, that becomes your country far more than something as simple as the one of your birth certificate.
I even managed to overcome my doubts about the switching POV. I wasn't sure at first with the continual change in narrator and the short chapters and the whole slight weirdness. I was uncertain for a while and hesitant and basically completely unbelieving, much like Natasha, but Daniel was smart and convinced me to fall in love.
I loved the cynic (or some may say realist) in Natasha. She is wary and doesn't want to get hurt and she knows that she can't get her hopes up this late in the game. She has an expiry date and she knows it and doesn't want this boy she doesn't know but is interested in to know it too but she doesn't want to hurt him either. It all ends up going a bit wrong anyway and she learns a lot of important lessons about being emotional and going on instinct and letting herself be happy regardless of the risks but I loved wary Natasha from the beginning of the book just as much as the one we get at the end.
As for Daniel, I loved who was such an artist who didn't know what he wanted and couldn't make decisions in life but saw the signs and wanted this girl he didn't know and was willing to let himself go head over heels regardless of the risks. I loved that he learnt that all risks aren't worth it but the important ones are worth it and sticking with your instinct and pursuing your dreams.
I just loved how both our main characters grew as people simply from meeting one another and spending one day together. That's what made this book interesting, it was all set during one day. There are few books I've read which are set during a single day, but I've really enjoyed all of those which are. This is one of them.
So Where Was The Bad?
I seemed to love, so why do I have mixed feelings? Look, this book did far better than Something In Between did for the whole issue of US law and how it relates to illegal immigrants but it was still overshadowed by the romance between Daniel and Natasha. I mean, it was done far better in this book by miles. The romance was almost necessary to stop this being a depressing read and it really highlighted the importance of small moments so I don’t think this book could have been separated out to smaller parts but still it annoyed me that Natasha’s issues were overshadowed in some ways. I’ve still got mixed feelings basically.
Also, I didn’t like the ending, again! Really, Yoon obviously doesn’t write endings which suit me. I mean, they aren’t enough to stop me from reading but I did have issue with her ending again. I won’t say how or why but I had mixed feelings about it. I almost wished the book had ended just a touch sooner. Once you read you’ll understand what I mean. It isn’t often I say that about a book but for this one it was true.
So Which Came Out On Top? Good or Bad?
In the end, I loved far more than I disliked so I gave this book a 3.5 star rating and I would recommend it. I hope it is just as successful as Yoon’s last book because it is good. I know it’s a book which won’t fit all tastes, but if you’re already a fan of contemporary YA then give this a go. It’s a story set over one day interspersed with different perspectives but centres around Daniel and Natasha and this connection they have between them. it’s an interesting trip around New York and it will certainly be enjoyable.
Have you read this latest release from Nicola Yoon? What were your thoughts?
Have you read any books lately which you wish had ended sooner? And do you let the flaws bring down your views on a book or are you able to look past them?