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 was my first book by Nicola Yoon and I am happy to say I am a fan! I honestly had no idea what to expect going in but Nicola Yoon is a compelling author with absolutely charming characters. The story is told through alternating points of view from main characters Daniel and Tasha, with a few chapters from minor characters tying together some major events. The entire book is told over a period of one day. One day of seemingly random, meaningless events that come together to make a very powerful story. I love how the author connected some of these trivial events to the overall plot of the story, showing how these random events actually have a big impact on the course of events. Yes, there is a romance but I was actually okay with the insta-love aspect of it. It was authentic, passionate and realistic. They were absolutely infatuated with each other and the dialogue was adorable. More importantly, both Daniel and Tasha go through a powerful character journey that was so enjoyable to follow.
Daniel is a Korean-American teen who grew up with a traditionally Korean family. His parents worked hard so he wouldn’t have to. In fact, he is heading over to his interview at Yale at the beginning of this story. Daniel doesn’t want to go to Yale or become a doctor, but he can’t tell his parents that he would rather pursue poetry. Not when his brother, Charlie has always been the golden child. When Daniel sees Tasha on the way to his interview, he is immediately drawn to her after watching her quietly dancing to herself in her pink headphones.
Tasha is originally from Jamaica but living in New York years after her family’s visas expired. After an unfortunate event with her father, her family was discovered living in America illegally and they are being deported that night. In a last ditch effort to stay, Natasha makes an appointment with an immigration lawyer. When she meets Daniel, she initially writes off his eager, puppy-like attitude but he eventually wins her over with his grand gestures. As Tasha and Daniel begin to open up to each other, we learn more about each of these characters in an intimate way.
“We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”
I love the fact that Tasha and Daniel were an interracial couple and that Nicola Yoon really showed us each of their families and cultures. I thought it was great how we saw both aspects of the family. When I would get frustrated with Daniel’s parents for acting a certain way, I would read a chapter from his father’s perspective and understand his motivations. I’ve never read another book where I got to see so many perspectives across so many characters of different families, ages and cultures.
This book was so much more than I was expecting, and it was the kind of book you want to hug afterwards. I absolutely adored every second of it and think it was so cleverly written. This book has definitely moved on to my favorites shelf. I highly recommend it!