"The Sun Is Also a Star," Vocabulary from Prologue-Natasha

In one of the most popular and highly praised YA novels of 2016, Nicola Yoon tells the story of two teens who meet and fall in love over the course of a single day in New York City. Learn these words and see why this book shines.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Prologue-Natasha, Multiverses-Daniel, The Waitress-Daniel, Joe-Epilogue

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. extinction
    complete annihilation
    If you want to make an apple pie from nothing at all, you have to start with the Big Bang and expanding universes, neutrons, ions, atoms, black holes, suns, moons, ocean tides, the Milky Way, Earth, evolution, dinosaurs, extinction-level events, platypuses, Homo erectus, Cro-Magnon man, etc.
  2. destiny
    the circumstances or condition to which someone is fated
    Local Teen Accepts Destiny, Agrees to Become Doctor
  3. futile
    producing no result or effect
    My mom says it’s time for me to give up now, and that what I’m doing is futile.
  4. constellation
    a configuration of stars as seen from the earth
    It’s huge—actually eight posters that I taped together—and shows all the major stars, constellations, and sections of the Milky Way visible from the Northern Hemisphere.
  5. navigate
    direct and plot the path and position of a conveyance
    It even has instructions on how to find Polaris and navigate your way by stars in case you get lost.
  6. fate
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    Today is my last chance to try to convince someone—or fate—to help me find a way to stay in America.
    To be clear: I don’t believe in fate. But I’m desperate.
  7. anonymous
    having no known name or identity or known source
    To her I’m just another anonymous face, another applicant, another someone who wants something from America.
  8. interaction
    a mutual or reciprocal deed
    Every interaction with these applicants saves her life just a little.
  9. betray
    disappoint, abandon, or prove undependable to
    But before that, before he becomes a politician and marries well, before he changes his name to Charles Bay, before he betrays his good wife and constituents at every turn, before too much money and success and much too much of getting everything that he wants, he will do a good and selfless thing for his brother.
  10. prosperity
    the condition of having good fortune
    For most immigrants, moving to the new country is an act of faith. Even if you’ve heard stories of safety, opportunity, and prosperity, it’s still a leap to remove yourself from your own language, people, and country.
  11. compass
    navigational instrument for finding directions
    Names are powerful things. They act as an identity marker and a kind of map, locating you in time and geography. More than that, they can be a compass.
  12. optimistic
    hopeful that the best will happen in the future
    Bev’s always been relentlessly optimistic, even in the face of dire odds.
  13. patois
    a regional dialect of a language
    Maybe you've heard the word irie before. Maybe you’ve traveled to Jamaica and know that it has some roots in the Jamaican dialect, patois.
  14. content
    satisfied or showing satisfaction with things as they are
    Everything is all right between you and your god, and therefore between you and the world. To be irie is to be in a high and content spiritual place. In the word, you hear the invention of religion itself.
  15. copacetic
    completely satisfactory
    Anyone looking in at us from the outside would think things are copacetic.
  16. vortex
    a powerful circular current of water
    Local Teen Trapped in Parental Vortex of Expectation and Disappointment, Doesn’t Expect to Be Rescued
  17. reversal
    turning in the opposite direction
    My whole life it’s been the opposite. Why can’t you be more like your brother? This Reversal of Fortune is not good for either of us.
  18. strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
    I want to tell him that maybe he shouldn’t leave everything up to God and that hoping against hope is not a life strategy, but that would mean I would have to talk to him, and I don’t want to talk to him.
  19. decency
    the quality of conforming to rules of propriety and morality
    Secretly, in their heart of hearts, almost everyone believes that there’s some meaning, some willfulness to life. Fairness. Basic decency. Good things happen to good people. Bad things only happen to bad people.
  20. cynic
    someone who is critical of the motives of others
    My dad says he doesn’t know where my cynicism comes from, but I’m not a cynic. I am a realist. It’s better to see life as it is, not as you wish it to be. Things don’t happen for a reason. They just happen.
  21. rejection
    the state of being turned down
    And rejection was not an easy thing. To be an actor you’re supposed to have thick skin, but Samuel’s skin was never thick enough. Rejection was like sandpaper.
  22. resign
    accept as inevitable
    Resigned Local Takes Westbound 7 Train to Childhood's End
  23. logic
    a system of reasoning
    Instead of being ruled by logic, we are ruled by emotions.
  24. salvation
    the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil
    The conductor loves the notion that you can be made anew, free of sin and therefore worthy of love and salvation.
  25. dictate
    rule unconstrained by law
    Since I’m letting the universe dictate my life on this Final Day of Childhood, I don’t bother waiting for another train to take me to Thirty-Fourth Street.
  26. subtle
    difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze
    I look left and right. Still no Sign. I’m looking for something subtle, along the lines of a long-haired man turning water into wine and holding a placard proclaiming himself to be Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.
  27. sentiment
    a personal belief or judgment
    Things happen for a reason, Tasha. I don’t believe that sentiment, but still, there has to be a logical explanation for the horribleness of this day.
  28. deja vu
    the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
    I get a sudden sense of deja vu. I’ve been here before. I’ve noticed those bright eyes and that smile. I’ve even had this conversation.
  29. infinitesimal
    immeasurably small
    Like hydrogen-7 or lithium-5 or boron-7, love has an infinitesimally small half-life that decays to nothing.
  30. actuarial
    relating to statistics to calculate insurance premiums
    He has actuarial tables in his mind. He knows the cost of a human life lost in an airplane crash, a car accident, a mining disaster. He knows these things because he once worked in insurance. It was his job to price the unwanted and unexpected.
  31. satellite
    any celestial body orbiting around a planet or star
    It seems like such a long time ago when I thought the world of him. He was some exotic planet and I was his favorite satellite. But he’s no planet, just the final fading light of an already dead star.
    And I’m not a satellite. I’m space junk, hurtling as far as I can away from him.
  32. banter
    light teasing repartee
    He is classically handsome; debonair, even. Watching him stand there in his suit, I can picture him in a black-and-white Hollywood romantic comedy trading witty banter with his heroine.
  33. quota
    a prescribed number
    Her face dares me to ask her more, but I’ve reached my quota of daring things (1=following cute girl, 2=yelling at ex-boyfriend of cute girl, 3=saving life of cute girl, 4=asking out cute girl) for the day.
  34. impress
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
    I am clearly not meant to impress this girl.
  35. paradox
    a statement that contradicts itself
    “And we’re ignoring the grandfather paradox?” she asks.
  36. improbable
    having a chance of occurring too low to inspire belief
    Something strange and improbable would happen so that the impossible couldn’t.
  37. inevitable
    incapable of being avoided or prevented
    It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.
  38. romantic
    expressive of or exciting love
    Besides the fact that I’m being deported today, I am really not a girl to fall in love with. For one thing, I don’t like temporary, nonprovable things, and romantic love is both temporary and nonprovable.
  39. random
    lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
    “Something temporary and not at all measurable. People just want to believe. Otherwise they would have to admit that life is just a random series of good and bad things that happen until one day you die.”
  40. nihilism
    the delusion that things do not exist
    Instead of pushing him away, my nihilism is only making him more comfortable.

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