Size Doesn’t Matter (104): The Sun Is Also a Star; Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (104): The Sun Is Also a Star; Revenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte BFYR on November 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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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?

My hopes were sky high for The Sun Is Also a Star, partly because of the gorgeous cover and partly because of how amazing Yoon’s debut Everything, Everything is. The Sun Is Also a Star didn’t quite live up to my hopes, but there’s no doubt of Yoon’s talent.

What frustrates me is that I could have been one hundred percent in love with The Sun Is Also a Star. This ship could have ripped my heart apart and put it back together again. However, the story distracts you from itself. While the bulk of The Sun Is Also a Star alternates between the perspectives of Daniel and Natasha, there are a lot of other sections with other points of view or with little lectures about stuff. These totally threw off the pace of the story and disengaged me. They just felt so very artificial, so very “literary.” If those were removed and The Sun Is Also a Star told the same story from the perspectives of Natasha and Daniel, this book would definitely have been a new all-time favorite.

The chemistry between Daniel and Natasha sizzles. I love the fact that he’s the cheesy romantic who wears his heart on his sleeve, and Natasha’s the cynic who doesn’t believe in love. They spend a few hours together in a plot that screams Jennifer E. Smith but that spills over in banter and realness. The perspectives are so incredibly well done, the kiss scenes are hot, and the issues of race are deftly handled. I read snippets of Daniel’s POV to my boyfriend, and he totally related to everything.

The ending was never going to be my favorite, but I could have bought into it if the story was more focused. View Spoiler »

Bonus half star went to the amazing chemistry, banter, and well-written characters. However, I can’t help but be saddened by how much more this book could have meant to me.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Size Doesn’t Matter (104): The Sun Is Also a Star; Revenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityRevenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Published by Point on March 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don't mess with a girl with a great personality!

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is my first Elizabeth Eulberg book, which may be rather unfortunate. While I could see glimmers of goodness here, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality was clunky, awkward, and didn’t really get its message across as it wanted to.

Set in the world of Texas pageants, Lexi’s a grudging member of Team Mackenzie. Her seven year old sister, Mac, has been on the pageant circuit since their mother got obsessed with pageants post-divorce. Lexi finds the whole thing creepy and fake. Also, the pageants are bankrupting them, since they cost way more than Mac could ever win. If there’s one message that comes through clearly, it’s that pageants, especially for little kids, are fucked up.

The family and pageant stuff are the highlight of the book, but even that’s not brilliantly handled. Lexi goes through serious shit with her mother and at the end both she and Mac take a stand. There’s no resolution at the end. Not that I expect things to be wrapped up neatly in a bow, View Spoiler »

However, running along side the family plot line, Mac’s friend Benny enters a dare war with her and gets her to spiff up. She ditches her outsized clothes, starts wearing makeup, and styles her hair. In classic Mean Girls fashion, she goes from outcast to one of the queen bees. Her friends worry about whether she’s gone to the dark side for good. Actually, it’s basically exactly Mean Girls but with pageants and without the incisive humor.

Ultimately, Lexi basically dismisses every possible kind of girl. Too thin (like Brooke, meanest of the mean girls)? Not okay. Too fat (like her mother)? It’s terrible for your health but also just not okay. Average? Yeah, that’s not good either. Wearing makeup and tight clothes is good, but god forbid your skirt be too small (yeah, Brooke, that’s you again) or you wear too much makeup. On some level, this does capture how fucking hard it is to be a confident woman in our society, but it basically just comes across as Lexi’s woman-hating hypocrisy. Not pleasant to read.

The romance also frustrates and infuriates. Lexi spends the whole book obsessed with Logan (who is of course dating a beautiful pageant girl). She gets picked up by one of his friends, Taylor, once she glams up. Though Taylor treats her well, she wants Logan, who ultimately doesn’t turn out to be what she expected. While it’s healthy to see a heroine find out that her crush wasn’t the person she thought, her treatment of Taylor is another thing that makes her hard to sympathize with. Also, it all just felt predictable in the bad way.

I own a couple more Eulberg books that I’ve heard better things about, so I’ll be reading more. There were elements of the writing I liked, so I hope those books work better for me than this one.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (104): The Sun Is Also a Star; Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality”

  1. At first I liked (in Sun is Also a Star) the alternating sections only because it was interesting to see how their actions impacted the lives of others… like with the security guarde… but then we got to the paralegal bits and queue the groans.
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  2. Nori says:

    So, I loved the different perspectives and the general idea that so many different people and concepts can work to either get you to your goal or prevent your goal from happening. Ahhh, I had a serious frustration moment at the same point as you toward the end. But, I also loved the ending.

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