Nicola Yoon is already a household name to many readers. She’s about to become a household name to moviegoers too, and enter the pop culture pantheon. Her first book, Everything, Everything — a gut-wrenching life-affirming story about a young woman winning the freedom to love — is about to hit theaters as a blockbuster starring Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg. (Everything, Everything even gets a Beyonce song!) But it could be Yoon’s second book, released last fall, that is more of the moment.
In The Sun Is Also A Star, Yoon tells the story of teenage Natasha in a family that’s about to get deported — uprooted out of New York City and sent to Jamaica. Yoon told that National Book Foundation that she “wrote this book for anyone who’s ever desperately searched for meaning. For everyone who asks the big questions. For all the dreamers and questioners.” That dreamers mention may be a coincidence, but perhaps not — since the Dream Act put in place by President Obama means to stop the deportation of young people who have basically always called America home. Those benefiting from the Dream Act are also called Dreamers. The object of Natasha’s affection is Daniel, also an immigrant who is trying to find the American Dream through admission to Yale University. Their stars collide.