Natasha and Daniel are on the brink--of two different things. Natasha's family is about to be deported to Jamaica, where Natasha lived until she was 8, and Daniel is on his way to an alumni interview for Yale. They meet by chance, and everything is against them, but Daniel is smitten at first sight, and Natasha gets there over the course of their day together, too.
In a way it's just a teen romance novel, but Yoon's stakes are high and her characters full of humanity. I feel like Yoon should have the cult readership of Rainbow Rowell, and maybe she does, at least in the community of readers that centers the lives of people of color.
In America, the family name is called the last name. Dae Hyun said it showed that Americans think the individual is more important than the family.
That's what Daniel is struggling with--his family's expectations, not to mention an asshole brother who rejects everything Korean. Daniel embraces his family identity, but pushes back on his parents' racism.
Natasha, the scientist, is not even claiming identity from her family or for herself. She's got hangups.
And I'm not a sattellite. I'm space junk, hurtling as far as I can away from him.
When I say "scientist," Natasha specifically wants to become a data scientist!
"Data scientists analyze data, separate the nose from the signal, discern patterns, draw conclusions, and recommend actions based on the results."
I love that even if she doesn't romanticize it. It's just a career that makes sense to her. Despite her practicality, she has her human vulnerabilities.
He thinks my hair smells like spring rain. I'm really trying to remain stoic and unaffected. I remind myself that I don't like poetic language. I don't like poetry. I don't even like people who like poetry.
But I'm not dead inside either.
Did I mention Daniel is a poet?
The shit Natasha is going through with her dad, whose fault it is that they're being deported is just as important as what she's experiencing with Daniel. Her dad is an aspiring actor. He came to America to become a star. (Or a sun?) In his one triumph, he expects his long-suffering family to be happy for him, but it's too late.