Tag Archive | India

Arranged marriage? No way! When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

book cover of When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon published by Simon Pulse  | recommended on BooksYALove.comApp developers’ camp – yes!
Time away from Mamma’s nagging – yes!
Greeted as “my future wife” by some guy – no way!

Utterly furious at her parents about this arranged marriage they never mentioned to her, Dimple isn’t ready for the feelings that grow between her and Rishi in San Francisco as they try to win the camp competition as a team.

Find this May 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore – you just have to meet Dimple and Rishi for yourself!

Arranged marriage today – relic of the past or possibility of a harmonious future together?
**kmm

Book info: When Dimple Met Rishi / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Surely if Dimple wins this young web developers’ challenge, her mamma will stop insisting that the California teen will find her “ideal Indian husband” at Stanford this fall. When Rishi coincidentally finds Dimple at InsaneCom, she is furious to discover that their parents have arranged their marriage – and that he thinks it’s wonderful!

No makeup no glitter Dimple won’t let tradition-loving Rishi woo her – but he is sweet and articulate and even a bit charming.

Deeply romantic Rishi is sad that Dimple can’t see their wonderful future together – but maybe he can help her win the app contest now.

As Dimple and Rishi spend more time together, their attraction grows – but how can it go further when they’ll be on opposite coasts for college?

Family expectations and complications, technical issues and too much coffee, new friends with old problems – looks like InsaneCom will live up to its name for Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel!

X on the map, any map for Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (book review)

book cover of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.comTime traveling,
On a pirate ship,
If there’s a map, she can go there!

Just imagine a Gifted young woman navigating the Temptation and her interesting crew to any port present or past, nations long-swallowed by history, mythic lands – all so that her father the captain can find a way to undo her mother’s death… and perhaps undo Nix herself!

I listened to Heidi speak on a debut YA authors’ panel last week at TxLA, and she was just as funny in person as in this offbeat author interview video.

Sail into your local library or independent bookstore for the February 2016-published first adventure in this two-part sea saga (Heidi is indeed working on the second book now, she assured us!).

If you could travel to any place at any time, where would you come ashore?
**kmm

Book info: The Girl From Everywhere / Heidi Heilig. Greenwillow Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her father seeks to undo her mother’s death, 16 year old half-Chinese Nix guides their time-traveling pirate ship to ports real and imagined, encountering mythic creatures and real robber barons, wondering if his quest will undo her as well.

She can guide the Temptation to any port on any map, fictional or factual, so onward goes the ship, seeking every possible cure that could keep Nix’s mother from dying in childbirth – if Slate could only find the map for the exact 1886 Honolulu where they lived.

A crowded 1774 Calcutta market where just-a-friend Kashmir rescues her, sugar barons who want to depose the king of Hawaii, today’s Coast Guard with questions for the grand wooden sailing ship in New York harbor – Nix, Slate, Kash, Rotgut, Bee and her ghost-wife Ayen travel through time and oceans on the captain’s quest.

If her mother survives childbirth in her timeline, what happens to Nix?
Is there room for love when a pirate ship can’t put down roots?
What treacherous waters must Nix cross to fulfill her own dreams?

First of a two-part adventure that spans time, tides, and every human emotion, The Girl From Everywhere wants to remain in existence, despite her father’s longing to undo her past. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins (book review) – personal success or species survival?

book cover of Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins published by CharlesbridgeHonor or money?
A chance for schooling or a chance for wild tigers?

A rich man’s under-the-table reward for a tiger cub could ensure the future for Neel and his family, but the young man must make his own choices on his beloved Sundarban island near the mouth of the Ganges River.

Where is the line between what is best for wildlife and what is easiest for people?
**kmm

Book info: Tiger Boy / Mitali Perkins; illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Clarksbridge Publishing, 2015.  [author site]  [illustrator site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Neel struggles to keep a lost tiger cub on his Bengali island away from a greedy rich man who wants its skin when the reward would pay for scholarship exam tutoring and medicine for Ma.

The headmaster has selected Neel to take the scholarship exam, despite his difficulty with math and no money for the tutor, even though the boy would rather stay in his Sunderban island village.

Rich Mr. Gupta has come to the island, hiring men like Neel’s father to cut down the special sundari mangrove trees. When rangers ask the villagers to find and return the tiger cub that escaped from a nearby island’s game preserve, the greedy man instead offers a reward for its skin.

As time for the exam gets closer and the rare tiger cub has not been found, Neel’s father reluctantly joins Gupta’s men in the search, while Neel and his big sister venture out each night, trying to find the cub before its frantic mother tears through the preserve’s fences and swims over!

Neel’s love for his home island is as strong as the sundari trees that Baba planted long ago to protect their farm from typhoons – now his appreciation for the rangers’ dedication to protecting the endangered wildlife of the Sundarbans is stronger, too.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

5 to 1, by Holly Bodger (book review) – girls valued, men as chattel

book cover of 5 To 1 by Holly Bodger published by Knopf Books for Young ReadersEach girl-child is cherished,
every boy-baby expendable,
the old land’s prejudices reversed –
yet is this more fair?

“The girl problem” – created by cultures valuing male heirs so much that girl babies are discarded, leaving a vast imbalance of men to women when that generation wants to marry – is turned on its head in the fictive land of Koyanagar which walled itself off from (probably) India in 2042 to protect its females.

Yet not every girl in this women-dominated society believes that boys should fight on stage to be lifelong husbands, tasked with fathering girls. And not every impoverished boy believes that becoming a housebound husband with extra food is worth the price that their society demands.

Have you experienced “the girl problem” personally?
**kmm

Book info: 5 to 1 / Holly Bodger. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Three days to decide their fates – a privileged young woman and the 5 boys competing to become her husband and provide daughters – in a series of unfair Tests that two of these 17 year olds are determined not to win!

In this walled country of Koyanagar, women are valued, unlike the land which they separated from in 2042, where so many girl babies were discarded that only 1 in 5 boys could find a wife.

Sudasa is 17 now and must choose a husband at her Test, where she finds that her powerful grandmother has ensured that the teen’s only male cousin is competing against 4 uneducated boys for her hand!

Boy number Five doesn’t think the contests are fair either – because he doesn’t want a life of tame luxuries as a house-husband. He’d rather stay with Abba in their poor coastal village and find a way over the deadly Wall to search for his mother who couldn’t get back inside when its gates closed forever a decade ago.

In Sudasa’s poetic voice and Five’s carefully reasoned tones, the three days of Tests in intelligence, skill, and sport grind on.

Can he find a way to escape both marriage and certain death as a wall-guard?
Can she escape her grandmother’s plotting and choose her own future?
Do any of Koyanagar’s other 200 girls turning 17 this year feel trapped too?

Like a funhouse mirror, the 5 to 1  ratio of girls to boys in this fictional future country points out the disappearing girls in cultures today which value male heirs over all else.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

I is India – All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens, by Gloria Whelan (book review)

book cover of All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan published by Simon Schuster Books for Young ReadersOppressed by outsiders,
India longs for independence,
Gandhi‘s eloquence speaks for millions.

In the 1920s, British young ladies like Rosy oughtn’t concern themselves with political matters, but she believes that her beloved India deserves freedom.

Even though All My Noble Dreams  is a sequel to Whelan’s 2011 Small Acts of Amazing Courage,  you’ll easily be able to follow Rosy’s journey without reading the first book.

Find this fictional look at a tumultuous historical era at your local library or independent bookstore in 2013 hardcover or the paperback edition published on April 1st.

When do you know that it’s time to stand up for what is right?
**kmm

Book info:  All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens / Gloria Whelan. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013 (paperback 2014). [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Rosy thinks it most unfair that India is ruled by England, but even she is surprised at what she will risk in 1921 for its independence.

Her British Army officer father tolerates the teen’s volunteer teaching of Indian children, but forbids her listening to Gandhi’s speeches, insisting that these people cannot govern themselves.

Rosalind agrees to take a letter from the independence leaders to the Prince of Wales himself when he visits. Sneaking the Prince out of his hotel in disguise to see India beyond the jeweled ceremonies is her own idea…

How much can one British girl do to help the land she now loves?

This well-crafted sequel to Small Acts of Amazing Courage  takes readers into the years of India’s struggle for independence with vivid accuracy and great heart.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, by Paula J. Freedman (book review) – Bollywood plus Hebrew School?

Book cover of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman published by Amulet BooksHebrew school – check.
Bollywood movie DVD collection – check.
Punjabi and Yiddish grandparents at the same celebration – oy vey!

It’s worth a special trip to your favorite local library or independent bookstore to meet Tara and friends in My Basmati Bat Mitzvah if you like

  • interesting family dynamics
  • a look into two different cultural heritages
  • guys and gals who are trying to sort out relationships and other complicated things
  • middle school experiences that are both funny and typical
  • a strong-minded main character who still has big questions
  • conversations about faith and God that aren’t self-righteous sermons
  • chances to be “both X and Y” instead of having to be “either X or Y”

Samosas at the bat mitzvah reception and chilies in the matzoh ball soup? Count me in!
**kmm

Book info:  My Basmati Bat Mitzvah / Paula J. Freedman. Amulet Books, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Tara just wants to add a hint of India to her bat mitzvah ceremony, to stay friends with her best friends, and to win the robotics contest – how can this all be so hard?!

The twelve-year-old loves her Yiddish-speaking Gran and her Punjabi grandpa, Bollywood movies and cheezy monster flicks, the Diwali and Hanukkah festivals of light that each side of her family celebrates.

Attending Hebrew school in preparation for her bat mitzvah at age 13, she’s confused about God – better talk to Rabbi Aron some more. And she’s confused by best buddy Ben-O’s sudden blushes and breath mints, by the class clown’s attentions, by Rebecca wanting to be best friends with her and that snooty Sheila at the same time.

A mishap with an heirloom sari and continuing jibes that her Indian mother’s conversion to Judaism didn’t really make her Jewish collide with problems on the robotics team and a glimpse into Sheila’s not-so-perfect purple life in the hectic weeks leading up to her bat mitzvah.

How can she balance new friendships and old?
Why are boys so weird now?
Can she really mix India and New York City in her bat mitzvah?

The importance of family traditions and questions about faith thread through this coming-of-age story like the golden threads in Daadiji’s beautiful sari.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Cinders & Sapphires, by Leila Rasheed (fiction) – British high society & true goodness collide

book cover of Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed published by Disney HyperionEngland and India are so different,
Not even the green of the trees is the same,
But whispers and rumors are too close in both lands.

The objections to British rule over India have moved from prayers to violent demonstrations in 1910, especially following Lord Curzon’s partition of the country to split off Muslim-majority Bengal.

This first book in the At Somerton series will appeal to both fans of Downton Abbey and lovers of historical fiction with its upstairs-downstairs intrigues and political unrest abroad in the time just preceding “The Great War” which we call World War I.

What’s ahead for the Averley sisters and the others At Somerton as 1911 dawns?
**kmm

Book info: Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton, book 1) / Leila Rasheed. Disney Hyperion, 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation:  High society and propriety will encircle Ava’s life in 1910 once the ship reaches England, but an accidental (and unchaperoned) meeting on deck leaves her breathless, hopeful, and confused. People would be shocked if they discovered that she’d kissed a man before her debutante season, utterly appalled if they found out he was Indian!

How dreadful for her father to leave India under a cloud of suspicion after his distinguished career there! Now they are returning to their family estate with her sister Georgiana so that he can marry a wealthy and beautiful widow to keep it afloat for now. The suddenness of the wedding and so many guests descending on quiet Somerton has the servants running to and fro, especially housekeeper Mrs. Cliffe whose daughter is now a housemaid.

Suddenly, Lady Ava and Lady Georgiana will have brothers and another sister (so jealous of everyone), plus a fashionable stepmother who will steer Ava through the intricacies of the London Season to find a husband. Never mind that Ava wants to attend Oxford, wants to think for herself, wants to think at all! And Ravi is at Oxford, might even visit London…

When Rose Cliffe is promoted to ladies’ maid for Ava and Georgiana, she’s sad that her evenings at the piano in the friendly servants’ sitting room are over. Music just flows through her veins, but a country girl like her could never afford piano lessons. The ladies’ maid to the new Lady Westlake hints strongly that learning secrets is the best way to get ahead in this world. The clandestine letters between Ravi and Ava, hinting of violence against the British in India, go through Rose’s hands…

Is there any hope for Ravi and Ava to be together?
What other secrets glide through Somerton’s elegant halls?
Must Ava marry someone, just to keep the estate intact?
As upstairs murmurs and belowstairs whispers collide, more stories At Somerton will follow this debut tale of keeping up appearances, societal expectations, and scandalously delicious secrets. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Other stories, other poets (book reviews) – novels-in-verse

Much like eclipse-viewers look indirectly at the sun, we can get a glimpse into life situations which may or may not mirror our own through novels-in-verse.

Click each title link to open my no-spoilers recommendation in a new window/tab for each of these BooksYALove favorites.
**kmm

book cover of After the Kiss by Terra Elen McVoy published by Simon PulseCamille and Becca don’t realize that they share a school, a coffeehouse, and one boy’s kiss… until an ill-timed cellphone photo makes all the connections fall into place.

Told in alternating chapters by each teen, their free verse ranges through the emotions that they must deal with as they try to reconcile what they thought was true with what reality is, After the Kiss  of Alec, the haiku-writing baseball star.

 

book cover of Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe published by VikingSara feels like her life at the ballet academy, far from her small New England hometown, is a never-ending Audition, as the dancers constantly compete for lead roles, for advanced classes, for the eye of handsome student assistant Remington.

Is he really interested in Sara? Can she continue to keep up with her schoolwork and her dance lessons and her hidden relationship with Remington? Only her poetry journal hears her fears and dreams.

 

book cover of Karma by Cathy Ostlere published by Razorbill

Religious turmoil becomes armed warfare in 1980s India, and Maya is caught in the upheaval almost as soon as she arrives with her father and the ashes of her mother, brought “home” to the family which disowned them when they married, a Sikh and a Hindu who thought that love would overcome all.

Is it Karma  that brought their only child to a place she’s only heard of, far from her birthplace on the Canadian prairies, that separates her from her Bapu, that makes her versified memories a clouded mirror?

(all review copies and cover images courtesy of their respective publishers)

Karma, by Cathy Ostlere (fiction) – lost in her parents’ India during civil war

World Wednesday takes us from the prairies of Canada to the crowded streets of India as Maya travels to her parents’ homeland on a grief-stricken mission.

Instead of learning more about her Sikh and Hindu heritage or meeting family for the first time, she’s flung into the chaos, violence, and massacre that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Look for this stunning verse novel at your local library or independent bookstore – you need to hear Maya’s story for yourself.
**kmm

Book info: Karma / Cathy Ostlere. Razorbill, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: At 15, Maya is taking her mother’s ashes home to India, back to the grandparents she’s never met, traveling with her father in 1984, far from Canada where she was born.

Unheard-of for a Sikh and a Hindu to marry in India of the 1960s! Disowned by her family, his family warning of spiritual disaster, Maya’s parents emigrate to Manitoba, where Bapu hopes to be successful and Mata prays for children and peace.

The aloneness that the prairie winds swirled around her mother finds Maya in the crowded streets of poverty-stricken New Delhi, as she tries to make sense of everything in her journal, her diary in verse.
Suddenly, India’s Prime Minister is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, and Hindus begin killing Sikhs in revenge. Bapu disguises himself and leaves Maya at their hotel while he tries to find a safe way for them to get to his hometown.

When rioters set fire to the hotel, Maya flees blindly into a city filled with mayhem, heading to the train station to go – anywhere. An accident, an attack, a fright, amnesia, a lost girl… Others continue telling Maya’s story when her own voice is no longer sufficient, as she journeys and drifts in confusion.

Can she find her voice again? Can she find her father? Did he really plan for her to marry someone here in India? How can she keep going, knowing that she left Mata’s ashes behind? This powerful novel in verse takes mature readers to a far land in a time not so distant, when civil war almost fractured India and its horrors threatened a young girl’s hold on reality. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Read around the world (reflective)

We’ve circled the globe during July and the Ultimate Blog Challenge, highlighting books set in many countries (and eras).

The Grassland Trilogy reaches back beyond written history, showing the courage of young people trying to Escape the Mask, see Beneath the Mask, and go Beyond the Mask.

Cate of the Lost Colony traveled from the glittering court of Queen Elizabeth I to the desolate sand dunes of Roanoke in the New World, and Plain Kate, driven from her home by superstition, must search for answers down the river, into the mists.

Esty’s Gold took us from famine-stricken Ireland to the Australian goldfields in the 1880s, while The Reformed Vampire Support Group sticks together in today’s Sydney.

Online gamers in China, India, Singapore and the US are fighting For the Win and a fair chance at life.

Annexed and Briar Rose brought us perspectives on the Holocaust – the Netherlands, Germany, Poland – so many bitter sorrows, so many untold tales.

Modern-day Paris hides decades-old secrets in Die For Me, while in Montreal, Mira just wants her own today in Pieces of Me.

And we’ve just begun the Rivers of Time trilogy, as Lia and Gabi go back to 14th century Tuscany in Waterfall.

Oh, the photo up there? That’s me aboard the wooden sailing ship Southern Swan in Sydney Harbour in the 21st century. Ready for more great books in August?
**kmm