The Sun Is Also a Star book and movie spoilers ahead. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is now a movie starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, out May 17. But whether you’ve read Yoon’s book or not, you may be wondering how the movie differs from the source material, especially when it comes to how the book version of The Sun Is Also A Star ends. The movie definitely keeps viewers on their toes up until it’s over, so does the book do the same?
First, let’s look at what happens in Ry Russo-Young’s film. After a chance encounter (emphasis on chance), New Yorkers Daniel Bae (Melton) and Natasha Kingsley (Shahidi) spend the day together and fall in love, even though Natasha originally insists that she doesn’t believe in the concept. The problem is, Natasha’s family is being deported to Jamaica the next day. Throughout the movie, she tries to figure out a way for her family to stay, but it doesn’t work out. After an emotional goodbye at the airport, Natasha and Daniel part ways, and through a montage we find that she grows to accept her life in Jamaica, because that’s just the way things shook out for her.
But wait! Just when you think it’s all over, "Five Years Later" appears on the screen and we find out that Natasha is back in New York City trying to hunt down Daniel… the day before she moves to California to attend grad school at Berkeley. And — surprise! — they run into each other in the coffee shop where they spent part of that life-changing day together. They reunite with a kiss and she tells him that she only has one day, yet again.
As for the ending of the book, it starts out similarly, but the part where Natasha and Daniel find each other later is different. Natasha’s family does get deported, and Daniel and Natasha do go to the airport together to have their final goodbye. But, instead of finding each other in New York, they end up on the same airplane years later.
As is often the case with books that are adapted into films, there are more characters in the book than there are in the movie. In the book, there is a character named Irene, who is a security guard at the immigration office Natasha visits towards the beginning of the story. As explained on Book Rags, Irene was experiencing suicidal thoughts, but the events of the day, specifically her interaction with Natasha, caused the course of her life to change.
At the end of the novel, 10 years later, rather than five, Natasha ends up on a plane on which Irene is now a flight attendant. And what do ya know? Daniel is also on the plane, and Natasha notices that he’s a few seats over after talking to Irene. Of course, they both recognize each other.
Other than the ending, there are some other changes in the story, but nothing so big that it changes the main narrative of Natasha and Daniel’s relationship. There’s more information about some of the other characters, and some small differences in how the plot moves forward. For example, in the book Daniel’s brother had to withdraw from Harvard, as noted by LitCharts; in the movie, he never attended college.
It makes sense that the filmmakers would change the ending in the way they do, if only to give viewers increased hope that the two characters will end up together. By slashing the time jump in half, it seems more likely that Natasha and Daniel could get back together — half as much life got in the way. Also, the ending in the movie lets Natasha tell Daniel she only has one day, which mirrors everything that happened with them before.
People who have read the book still might like it better than the movie, because that tends to happen with adaptions. But, fans should be pleased to know the changes don’t fundamentally alter the story they love.
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