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This is kind of a love story for people who hate love stories. At least, I usually avoid the romance section of any library or bookstore. Mostly, this is a book about two people trying to break free from the expectations foisted on them by their families, communities, and governments and find their own place in the world. That's the really compelling narrative that drives the book forward and I think it's something a lot of us can relate to.
by Nicola Yoon
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?
"A close-to-perfect YA book and a huge step forward from Yoon's debut. There is so much I liked about this book that this review could just be an exhaustive list. This is the story of two teenagers and the day they fall in love. When you have that kind of old story it can be anything, from brilliant and unique to tired and boring. Yoon has a few tricks up her sleeve here to make it shine, but ultimately it would all be ho-hum YA gimmicks if she didn't have the deep emotional honesty to back up her story and her characters.
But let's look at why Yoon's choices here work so well. The two teens here, Natasha and Daniel, each get to narrate their side of the story. They each get to have their own voice. We get to know them, and we get to see how they read each other. Both of them have their own larger narratives outside of their romance which they will continue to struggle with during and after this story. Many of the secondary characters who otherwise would be overlooked also get to throw in their own stories, which helps it feel less like a limited pov story and more like one part of a much larger world.
I held myself a little bit at a remove through much of the book. There is one major plot point that will be the singular deciding factor of how the book ends. I was worried about it. I wasn't sure if it was going to fit with the world the book lived in. But my worry was for naught. Yoon manages to create a plot that feels real with just enough magic to make any reader close the book smiling. This book deserves all the hype and more." Goodreads Review from Book Riot contributor Jessica Woodbury
Katie MacBride, Assistant Librarian
This is Katie's first summer recommendation!