By Nicola Yoon
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I, as I assume most people are, am composed of many contradicting views and opinions. I have many mental battles as my mind argues with itself, debating the things it needs and wants. As it tries to make sense of all the mismatched pieces that make me and find a compromise between them. I, for example, am both a helpless, optimistic romantic, at the same time that I am a cynical realist. This book is like a battle between those two, and you know what? I think I kind of loved it.
The book follows two characters, Natasha and Daniel, while also randomly jumping into the histories of those they encounter on their adventure, showing how in the end, all are connected.
Natasha is an illegal Jamaican immigrant and complete realist. She believes in science, in the things that she can see, and nothing more. Daniel is a Korean American who believes in miracles and love and that all happens for a reason. Due to a string of random events the two end up having a day long adventure through New York as Natasha tries to prevent her family’s deportation, and Daniel prepares to make the choice that would define his entire future. Together the two try to scientifically prove the idea of love at first sight.
First of all, let me say that this book is all about insta-love. The entire plot goes down in one day, the main protagonists along with all other people they come across, having their narratives woven together to form a beautiful design, much like the cover of the book. (To see how the cover design was made using only string, go HERE).
Anyway, the two meet and by the end of that day they have become attached to one another in a way that neither could have possibly anticipated. It is insta-love, and no one can argue otherwise. The thing about that is that I did not really mind it. The characters were entirely aware of their fast blooming relationship. They knew the impossibility of it, the absurdity behind their emotions. Still, both desperate to escape the horrible fate that has been set out before them, they go with it, allowing for destiny to push them in another direction.
Second, despite the fact the the book is very obviously a YA contemporary romance, it is also about so much more. It is a book about people. About the unknown lives of those around us, the lives we unknowingly impact for better or worse. It is about how we are all connected and how one person’s choice affects people they would never have imagined.
This is a book about growing up, and about passion. It’s about race and how people react to it. It’s about poverty and dreams and loss. It’s about destiny and fate, about the things in life that are inevitable and the things in life that we change with every move we make. This is a book about complex people leading complex, contradicting lives.
Some many serious topics are mentioned in this book. So many lives are examined, along with the consequences for those living them. This is done in a funny, relatable way, filled with unique, likable characters.
I know some people that have not liked this book, mostly due to the romance factor and the fact that they fall in love in 12 hours. I understand this. Insta-love is a frustrating thing. Still, if you can look past that and see the things that the book is presenting through this relationship, then the book will take on a whole new meaning. If you look at how and why these characters for their relationship, if you can see the larger picture of how all the strings connect, then you will not be disappointed.
Definite 4/5 stars for me. I would completely recommend. It was a great way to start my reading for 2017.