“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”
~~ Nicola Yoon
I actually picked up this book because the cover attracted me – and that there were all of these Bookstagrammers that featured the cover in many of their photos. As a designer, this is what I like to see in covers: color and integrated font.
Romance novels and I have a love/hate relationship (see my post on romance in YA). I delved into that specific black hole when I read John Green’s Paper Towns (which, then, pulled me into Eleanor and Park and A Shadow Bright and Burning). They are too forced and, often, try too hard to seem real. Life does not work in a logical manner – rather like these YA romances give readers this sense that romance and love is like an American or Germanic interstate… where, in reality, it is usually like a 16th century European road. Perhaps this is why I enjoy fantasy novels and science-fiction best – creating something new and defying expectation with every page.
So, I entered into this new adventure a little warily.
“Having dreams never killed anybody.”
~~ Nicola Yoon
Let’s be honest… reading the back cover makes it sound totally cliche and I almost regretted buying it because why would you write a romance novel with so much cliche in it – excuse me while I go vomit. It is the story of two kids: one about to be deported and the other trying to get into Yale who have their own motivations and none of those goals involve falling in love.
It is a coming of age story… no big deal… I guess… whatever.
While I, personally, do not enjoy alternating points of view… it works, here. It takes the story from something of a mountain of gag-inducing pages to something I could not put down. And that is something that has not happened to me in a while. It reads like a spider’s web: one seemingly random event after another until, ultimately, it all connects.
The characters are the kind that we all know or, perhaps, are. Characters that are more like people than characters is always refreshing – characters that the reader could befriend, not feel distant from (this was my issue with Fangirl – which I did not finish).
“Hearts don’t break, they just stop working…” This is part of a poem that Daniel writes when his relationship with Natasha is on the fritz. I can see this book as a movie, definitely a love story, perhaps two anime characters walking through gritty New York City, contending with the forces of love, loss, and storefront properties. I love how Yoon gives permission for us to enter their minds – each one, Natasha and Daniel, own enough freedom to tell you how they think, show what they feel.
I 100% recommend this book. Go check it out!