This is a work of YA contemporary fiction. Daniel is a seventeen-year-old Korean-American poet who, against his traditional parents’ wishes, does not want to attend Yale or become a doctor. Natasha is a science-minded undocumented immigrant from Jamaica who’s been living in New York City since age 9, but is about to be deported that night. A series of coincidences and serendipitous events continuously bring Natasha and Daniel together throughout the day. Daniel knew from first sight that she was “the One,” but Natasha doesn’t believe in love or fate. Daniel believes he can use science to get Natasha to fall in love with him. In spite of herself, she does, over the course of one day. But her deportation is the doom looming over both of them.
I loved the first half of this book. Daniel’s and Natasha’s family histories, respectively, were fascinating. I enjoyed learning about Korean-American and Jamaican-American cultures. I also found it very creative that the author wrote some chapters in first person, some in third person, and some not from any character’s perspective at all, but presenting a history or a future. I’ve never read a book written in this way before. However, after 50%, it became overwritten. The plot began to contain too many coincidences and drastic changes to Natasha’s character and outlook (all in the scope of one day) to remain believable.
*SPOILER ALERT* In the end, what disappointed me was that Daniel’s and Natasha’s lives were both ruined because her immigration lawyer cheated on his wife with his paralegal that afternoon, and therefore didn’t get to the court in time to help Natasha. And we’re all supposed to be okay with that. It’s mentioned briefly, in passing, how this lawyer’s life decisions screws up his children, but no mention of the poor wife whom he betrays. As for the paralegal? Her story ends with “And They Lived Happily Ever After.” No guilt, no remorse, no repercussions for wrecking an entire family. If the whole subplot with the lawyer and his paralegal had been removed from this book, then it could’ve had a more creative and satisfying ending.