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 🙂
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?
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.
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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