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.
While this wasn’t my favorite read, it is 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 offers a refreshing change from the usual “stoic, grounded” teen boy trope.
Narrators aside, 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. 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.
Unfortunately, the ridiculous levels of insta-love in this story were far and wide enough to lower my ranking considerably. I’m not sure how much I’ll pursue Nicola Yoon’s future endeavors, as it seems like I’m doomed to only sort of like her work, no matter how much I want to love it.