Natasha doesn’t have time for love. Not when she’s on her way to a deportation tonight, thanks to her father’s mistakes. Not when she’s facing leaving the only home she’s ever known.
Daniel doesn’t have time for love. Not when he’s on his way to a Yale interview, desperate to appease his demanding father. Not when he’s determined to step out of his older brother’s shadow, once and for all.
Too bad fate has other plans.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed Yoon’s first book, Everything Everything (which was one of my favorite reads of ’16), but that doesn’t mean much, since I still devoured this book from cover to cover without setting it down once. It’s an easy and cute read, with endearing characters and the less-than-perfect ending that seems to be Yoon’s style.
Natasha is a really real-feeling character; she refuses to be the typical lovesick teen girl, and focuses instead on her family, her future, science, things she can touch and feel and control. It’s a nice role reversal from the usual “head in the clouds” teen girl trope that we see so much in YA contemporary. Daniel, on the other hand, is a total hopeless romantic and is absolutely adorable for it! I love his poetic witticisms and how raw and honest he is with his feelings. It was a wonderfully refreshing change from the usual “stoic, grounded” teen boy trope.
Narrators aside (yes, there are more than once – and Nicola Yoon performs the switches brilliantly), my favorite thing about this book was actually the bits of backstory we got about the background characters, and the way she dove into why these seemingly insignificant characters did the things they did. It gives the entire book a feeling of fate, as every little step leads to another crossroads. It was a style unlike anything I can recall seeing in any other YA books I’ve read, and it was enough on its own to push this from 4 stars to 5.
I also have to say that I loved Nicola’s touches here and there on race and culture, and the way she delved into the divides between Natasha’s Jamaican family and Daniel’s Korean family in a beautifully self-aware manner. I can’t wait to see more from Nicola Yoon, and will certainly be pre-ordering her next release!