The Sun Is Also a Star & The Problem with Forever // Sweet YA romances

Copy of Copy of Hello

Hello everyone!

Today I think I will be sharing an unpopular opinion haha. [Braces self from thrown tomatoes] I tend to avoid reviewing books that I dislike, especially popular books that everyone seems to love. I always feel like I should be liking the book if everyone else likes it. However the truth is that we all have different tastes: There are books that we dislike that others love, and vice versa.

Recently, there’s been lots of discussion about the value of negative reviews and unpopular opinions, which encourage me to be more brave when it comes to sharing my own opinions. Check out these posts by Balie, Kelly, and Annie 🙂

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.inddNatasha: 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?

The structure of the story reminds me of They Both Die at the End. (Or vice versa, since this book was published first!) Two people spend a day together, POVs of minor characters are also told.

What I Liked

  • Diverse characters. Daniel is a Korean-American and Natasha is an African-American.
  • The chemistry between the two characters. The book takes place over the course of one day, when Daniel and Natasha meet and spend a day together. They are different- Daniel is a hopeless romantic who wants to be a poet, Natasha is a realist who likes the sciences and maths. By being with each other, they each learn a new way of seeing the world.
  • Chapters which are dedicated to interesting cultural and historical information that is relevant to the plot, such as the origin of the word “Irie” and the African hair industry.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Some plot points are very unrealistic, which ruined the book for me.
  • Informative chapters sometimes feel out of place and interrupt the pacing of the story. Although they are interesting, I wonder if they add to the story.
  • I am not too used to the omnipresent narrator who provide narration for the minor characters and the factual chapters.

The Bottom Line: 2/5 stars

The Sun Is Also a Star is a cute love story and a cultural experience. Although I like the diverse characters and the chemistry between them, I was thrown off by some unrealistic plot points in this book. 

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Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard. 

What I Liked

  • Mallory’s development throughout the course of the book. She was once fearful but learned to take small and courageous steps towards confronting things that scared her. It is inspiring to see Mallory celebrate small achievements: speaking just 7 words on her first day of school, or sitting with a group of girls at lunch for the first time.
  • The theme: People can’t be perfect but we can always strive to be better.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Slow pacing. Things don’t really start happening until the last 20% of the book, and it’s a longish book.
  • Ellipses. It’s… like…. people speak…. like this… all… the…. time. You see how it can get annoying?
  • Rider is a bit too perfect and too mature. There’s also a bit of that white knight in shining armor trope going on here. Rider is always the one trying to save Mallory when she is confronted with a difficult conversation.
  • Mallory’s adoptive parents are your classic overprotective parents. They never seem to grow beyond that.

The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars

Despite the slow pacing and the stiff secondary characters, The Problem with Forever is a sweet and encouraging book about overcoming fears and self-acceptance.

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How do you feel about reading or writing negative reviews? Do you have a unpopular opinion about a book?

34 thoughts on “The Sun Is Also a Star & The Problem with Forever // Sweet YA romances

  1. Kat says:

    This is a great post, Sophie! Negative reviews are not fun to write and less fun to post. On the other hand, readers deserve the honesty, and it’s just your opinion. Sorry to hear those books didn’t work out for you, but it’s awesome that you listed both what you liked and didn’t like. Great reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. delphinethebabbler says:

    Wonderful reviews Sophie! Overall, I liked, or was at least neutral with The Sun is Also a Star. I totally agree with you on some of the parts being unrealistic, I got a bit annoyed at times with how quickly the relationship with the two protagonists was developing and just found some parts downright strange. I did like the chemistry but at times it was all too much.
    Anyway, I hope your next reads are better! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Delphine!
      Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who feels this way (phew!) Yes the relationship between the two protagonists developed very quickly, and there was just too many coincidences into the book for it to be believable! And yes parts of it are strange indeed!
      Thank you Delphine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MichaelK says:

    Great post and so true! It is indeed difficult writing negative reviews esp for a popular/acclaimed book but it is necessary to express our opinions and this freedom of opinion is one of the cornerstones of our civilisation.
    I’ve written negative reviews. The most outstanding one would be about the widely admired “100 years of solitude” by Nobelist G.G.Marques. although I can see it is an astonishing literature work, I just didn’t like it mainly because the so-called “magical realism” is not my cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Yes to the freedom of opinion!! I do feel the pressure to express positive opinions about a popular book, however I want to be honest about how I feel.
      I remembered reading 100 years of solitude a while back, though I don’t remember much about it (that should be my mantra haha :’) ). I only remember that it was quite long and a bit dull haha…
      Thanks Michael 🙂 hope you are having a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marie says:

    This is a great post, Sophie! ❤ I get it about reviewing books you dislike, to be honest I know I am almost reviewing only books I loved, but… I don't know, haven't rated a book really badly in a little while so I think I'm very lucky haha. That being said, negative reviews are so important for everyone, to really know what to expect in a book 🙂
    I have read Nicola Yoon's debut and I enjoyed it, but I have heard mixed reviews about The Sun is Also a Star and… I think, by now, I have lost interest. Also, I get it, it's always a bit annoying whenever it feels too unrealistic :/
    Lovely reviews! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Marie!
      That’s great that you haven’t had to rate a book badly for a while- I guess this means that you are enjoying the books you read overall right? 🙂 These days I am getting better at choosing books that I love overall, however once in a while I am disappointed haha.
      Thank you Marie ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I’m not gonna lie I actually kind of love writing/reading negative reviews. I definitely find them easier to write and I guess reading them gives me a better overall picture of the book than the five-star ones can (that’s not to say I don’t love reading positive reviews, there’s a reason my TBR list is so huge and that reason is gushing five-star reviews! :D)
    These are great reviews for these two books as well Sophie, though it’s a shame they weren’t that good in your opinion especially because they’re such popular books too. I struggle with omniscient narrators at times too (that’s what takes me so long to get into Philip Pullman’s books, the way the stories are narrated) and yeah slow pacing is something I hate at times. I need to feel like the story is going somewhere and if I don’t I get bored more often than not. :/
    Again great reviews. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rebecca @mylifeasasportsfangirl says:

    I really enjoy both reading and writing negative reviews. Personally, I do find it tough sometimes to write a negative review especially if I don’t truly pinpoint why I don’t like the book. Most of the time, I don’t have a problem with that haha 😛

    I haven’t read The Problem with Forever, but I had similar feelings about The Sun is Also A Star. It was sort of just meh for me and I couldn’t get into it with all the realistic elements especially the ending. The ending had me rolling my eyes, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Rebecca! Yes writing a negative review does have some challenges, especially when I can’t get into a book but don’t know why, like you said 🙂 In other instances it feels good to have an outlet!
      Glad to hear that I am not the only one who feels that way about The Sun is Also A Star (phew!) Yes, that ending! He gets into Yale with that interview?!!? And then he rejects the offer from Yale?!!? I just couldn’t get over that part lol :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jasmine's Reading Blog says:

    Negative reviews can definitely be a challenge to write for a number of reasons and other times, writing them is like an outlet! I totally see how some might be put off The Sun is Also a Star, even though I loved it. And I agree, They both Die at the End is a readalike for sure (I mentioned that in my review of Silvera’s book in my post today!).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    Hey Sophie!! Great reviews… I’m so glad you shared them despite feeling they are unpopular… I have to admit I always have to take a deep breathe before sharing what I feel are unpopular opinions because yikes what if people you love won’t listen to recommendations anymore because you disagreed with a book they loved?! I read another review about The Sun Is Also a Star and had the impression major instalove (it does happen in one night!) which turns me off… I much prefer the TOO PERFECT man in The Problem with Forever! (Which I loved even knowing that Rider was too perfect…) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Dani 🙂 Yes for this reason I am a bit nervous about posting negative reviews. However I try to think that it is okay to have different opinions on a book. There are books that we love that others dislike and vice versa right?
      And yes, the characters in The Sun is Also a Star do progress very quickly in one day! Haha yes Rider is a sweet heart- if only all men could be like him 🙂
      Thank you Dani ❤

      Like

  9. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Hahaha Sophie I loved The Problem with Forever but I don’t have a problem with unpopular opinion. I love reading why a book I loved has not been enjoyed by another. Now writing negative reviews myself make me feel slightly guilty 😉 Following you now as I want to read more of your “unpoluar” opinions LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Lol! That is great that you are open-minded when it comes to hearing different opinions (not everyone is!) I will keep writing my unpopular opinions then. Thanks 🙂
      Also I think I overall did enjoy The Problem with Forever. (For me, 3/5 is a book that I liked, 4/5 is a book I would reread.)

      Like

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