If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe
Carl Sagan (via The Sun is Also a Star)
Nicola Yoon visited R.J. Julia, an independent bookstore in Madison, on Thursday, December 1 to promote her latest book The Sun is Also a Star. Yoon gained notoriety when John Green re-tweeted Yoon’s #weneeddiversebooks campagin photo. This exposed her first novel, Everything, Everything, to a wider reading audience. By the time The Sun is Also a Star was named a National Book Award finalist for the Young People’s Literature category, Yoon was already a popular figure in the YA reading community.
All of this, in addition to simply loving her books, led to a very excited librarian walking into R.J. Julia a few minutes before the free event began. I was elated to find the room packed with teens, and Yoon must have felt similar excitement. Instead of a traditional reading, Yoon decided to use a Q&A format, allowing several readers to ask insightful, funny, and interesting questions. Although most audience members had clearly read The Sun is Also a Star, Yoon was careful to refrain from any plot spoilers. Instead, she discussed the inspiration for writing a book about a scientifically-minded Jamaican American girl meeting a poetry-loving Korean American boy and connecting over the course of a single day in New York City. Yoon explained why she used the specific title (Carl Sagan), what inspired the Natasha character’s worldview (Carl Sagan), and some of the “aside” chapters that delve into cultural, scientific, or moral concepts (Carl Sagan). Finally, Yoon was more than happy to answer any questions about her previous novel, Everything, Everything.
Yoon then held a book signing for which, of course, this librarian stood in line. Overall, Yoon was funny, engaging, and open to all kinds of questions. From a timid question about the cover art to complex questions about being Jamaican-American, Yoon was a hit with all the adults and teens in the room. This librarian gives two thumbs up.
To hear and read more about Yoon and The Sun is Also a Star, watch this reading and read this interview.