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Monsoon Summer

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  530 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Jasmine “Jazz” Gardner heads off to India during the monsoon season. The family trip is her mother’s doing: Mrs. Gardner wants to volunteer at the orphanage that cared for her when she was young. But going to India isn’t Jazz’s idea of a great summer vacation. She wants no part of her mother’s do-gooder endeavors.

What’s more, Jazz is heartsick. She’s leaving the business s
Paperback, 257 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Laurel Leaf Library (first published August 10th 2004)
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Apr 08, 2011 Jasmine rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, 2011, poc-author
Okay, so this book was half good, and half really annoying, but the really annoying parts REALLY irritated me. Here's my problem: if you're going to make a teenage girl be completely insecure, you have to give her an actual reason why. You can't make her have awesome parents, a great little brother, a really nice male best friend (who is obviously in love with her), be really good in school, a great athlete, and tall and with a great figure, and have her be super insecure about herself without s ...more
Mitali Perkins is an unsung author in the YA lit world. Monsoon Summer was my first experience reading her work, and after reading this book, I am convinced that her books need to be marketed more. Her goal is to make multicultural literature available, enjoyable, and accessible to young readers, and I'd say she succeeds on all accounts with this beautiful work of multicultural, modern-day fiction.

When Jasmine "Jazz" Gardener learns that she'll be spending the entire summer in India with her fa
"Monsoon Summer" took me by surprise and blew me away with it's emotional depth, rich character development and complex layers. Set in modern-day India, fifteen year-old Jasmine Gardner (from Berkeley, CA) and her family spend a summer abroad in the village where the protagonist's mother was born and adopted. Poor villagers and rich industrialists share the same locale, poignantly showing teenage "Jazz" utter poverty and modern city life juxtaposed at the orphanage and her private school for gir ...more
Mar 14, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
I liked a lot of things about this general, I always tend to like books set in foreign locales that give you a real feel for the place and this one did that...explaining in detail the poverty, the landscape and the people. It also highlighted the difficulty of being a modern day American girl who's family isn't truly American...I think that it shows the real difference between the former white immigrants who came here wanting to be American and were proud that their children only spok ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Sandi rated it it was amazing
Fifteen-year-old Jasmine (Jazz) Gardner travels with her family to Pune, India for the summer when her mother receives a grant to set up a clinic at the orphanage where she lived as a child. Jazz, who is part Indian and part American, is reluctant to leave her best friend and business partner Steve, as well as all that is familiar about her home in California. She has recently found herself falling in love with Steve, yet she does not feel herself worthy of his affection. Jazz struggles with a l ...more
Sam Musher
May 26, 2010 Sam Musher rated it really liked it
This book could easily have begun and ended with, “I’m going to write a book that showcases the value of small business loans to women in developing countries!” Or, “I’m going to write another book about a girl finding herself and falling in love with her best guy friend, because there really aren’t enough books like that!”

Instead we get a javelin-throwing business owner, a little brother obsessed with bug collecting, a well-run orphanage that is not to be pitied, and an endearing love interest
Jan 14, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
The plot is simple and predictable, but I found the main character, Jazz, lovable enough to keep rooting for her to figure out what I had known she would be doing from about page 10. I appreciated the positive relationship that Jazz had with her parents and her little brother--it was a nice change from a lot of other novels with teenage main characters that are filled with "you don't understand me" angst. I also liked that, even though there is a romance, the romance does not take center stage. ...more
Hattie D.
May 13, 2014 Hattie D. rated it it was amazing
I read the book Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins. I would rate this book 5/5 stars because I really enjoyed reading it the whole time. I loved the plot of the story and found it interesting at all parts. This story begins as a girl named Jasmine who is often called Jazz throughout the story, finds out she is leaving to go to India where her mother was put into an orphanage when she was young. Jazz’s mom loves helping people and giving back to people as much as she can so she tried very hard to g ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Roberta rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookleggers
Jazz, 15, and her best friend (and secret love), Steve, own a successful small business in Berkeley, taking photos of tourists in hippie costumes called The Biz. It’s actually a great idea, I wonder if it exists.
When her mother wins a grant to spend the summer in India to establish a clinic at the orphanage from which she was adopted as a child, Jazz is reluctant to go but understands that the family must stick together. Jazz has always identified more with her tall, shy, "bulky" father than wit
Sep 03, 2015 carrietracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, india, travel
When Monsoon Summer opened in Berkeley with a do-gooder mother planning a trip where she was going to give back to the orphanage she was adopted from in India, I sighed a little. I mean how cliche, socially conscious people from Berkeley. Luckily, I had just read this piece by Colby Sharpe: That One Time When Linda Urban Put Me in My Place. Please go read it too, it’s short and it’s very much worth it. The thing is, kids (and teens) aren’t adults. They don’t have the years of experience we do. U ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Gwennie rated it really liked it
Shelves: teens
A clean read, and really interesting to follow along with the main characters journey of self-discovery. Mitali Perkins has a website with reviews of multiethnic books. I'd recommend this book to girls who liked the Bindi Babes series and are ready to move into teen books.
Oct 18, 2007 Kricket rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007, teen-fiction, india
This is a really cute story- goodhearted without being too preachy, and lots of fascinating Indian culture. Writing wasn't standout, and there's a few loose ends left at the end, but I will definitely recommend this at work.
Erin Banet
Mar 13, 2012 Erin Banet rated it it was amazing
Great feel good story! It inspired me to want to help others!
Jul 02, 2014 Sharon rated it it was ok
I picked up this book thinking that it was going to be a book about an Indian-American girl named Jasmine Gardner who goes with her parents and little brother to India over the summer, during monsoon season, to volunteer in an orphanage. (which is what the back of the book said). Instead, it ended up being about how she missed her friend, Steve, who she was actually in love with. I was really expecting this to be an awesome book, but it was very disappointing. The romance definitely got in the w ...more
Sep 04, 2010 Tahleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
15-year-old Jazz has just found out some big news. After receiving a grant, Jazz's mother will finally have the chance to pay back the orphanage in India where she spent her first years by building a clinic. The problem? Jazz, and the rest of her family, will have to join her, spending the entire summer in India and away from her best friend/secret crush Steve, not to mention the booming business they've created. She'll be halfway around the world from everything she knows in Berkeley, Californi ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Ari rated it really liked it
Something that's really starting to get on my nerves about girls in books is when they constantly complain about their bodies (which I get believe, I hate my body) but then there are AT LEAST 2-3 guys interested in them. In Jazz's case, she goes to a dance club and every guy wants to dance with her and I understand that before that she thought she was ugly but after that she should have felt way better about herself. And yet she continued to believe she was ugly, it especially pained me that she ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Lydia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-read
Perkins is an outstanding author, with an ability to introduce the Indian world to YA readers in a beautiful positive light. Jasmine "Jazz" is a bi-racial Indian-American whose mother is a shining star in the world of hands-on philanthropy. While her brother Eric, the bug expert, resembles their Indian born mother, Jazz resembles her tall blond father. At fifteen, Jazz and her best friend Steve have a prospering business in Berkeley, California; but Jazz realizes she is starting to feel differen ...more
Cindy Hudson
Aug 24, 2010 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing
When fifteen-year-old Jazz Gardner discovers she’s going to spend the summer in India with her family she is not happy about it at all. She has a thriving business in San Francisco with her best friend Steve, and she can’t imagine leaving either one for three months. She’s certain one of the other girls from school will make a move while she’s gone and claim Steve’s heart before she even tells him how much he means to her.

When she arrives in the town where her mother was born and adopted from th
Nov 20, 2007 Lucy rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
Jazz Gardener’s mom was raised in an orphanage in India until she was adopted by Americans. Now, she has gotten a grant to go back to India and help out the orphanage where she grew up, and she’s taking her family with her.

Jazz is less than thrilled. For one thing, she hasn’t inherited her mother’s do-gooder genes, and for the other, she is dreading leaving behind her best friend (and unrequited crush) Steve. She’s afraid to tell him how she really feels, and even more terrified that while she’s
Sarah Sammis
Oct 24, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
I met Mitali Perkins online via Twitter. One day she tweeted her frustration over getting her books into libraries. Curious, I went online to my library's catalog and saw that they had multiple copies of all but her newest book. They all sounded good so I asked her which book I should read first. She suggested Monsoon Summer.

Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins is about a family of four going to India for the summer (monsoon season). It's told from the first person point of view of fifteen year old
May 20, 2008 Amitha rated it really liked it
I'm not a huge YA chick lit fan, but I really enjoyed Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins. This novel is about a teenage girl from California named Jazz (short for Jasmine--she is half Indian) and her summer vacation at an orphanage in India. Jazz's mother was adopted at a very young age from the orphanage by American parents and wants to go back to find out more about her roots. Jazz is initially reluctant to travel to India because she has to leave behind her best-friend/crush Steve, but she even ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Roopsi rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable novel about a half-Indian American girl who goes to India for the first time. At first, I found the narrator a bit annoying but that quickly passed and she became more complex. Perkins does a great job of capturing the experience of being someone who grows up as a South Asian in the US and finds her first visit to the subcontinent completely overwhelming but important.
Shaeley Santiago
Jan 26, 2014 Shaeley Santiago rated it really liked it
This was a fun story to read! It is about a family from Berkeley, California, who goes to Pune, India for the summer. The mother was adopted from a Catholic orphanage there and has been awarded a grant to set up a maternal health clinic at that same orphanage. She takes along her American husband and two children.

Jasmine Carol Gardner, her teenage daughter, is the main character of the story. She's struggling with being away from her business partner and best friend, Steve, for the summer. She
Jun 01, 2015 Audrey rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book. Not even kidding- great for anyone, doesn't matter what age, what genres you like. I love love LOVE this book! There is some romance involved, but it's so unlike the rest of the teen fiction you'll find on the shelves! Of course this is all MY opinion, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone.
Dec 26, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction, india
Jazz Gardner is the oldest daughter from an American-adopted Indian-born mother and a white bread dad. Her mother is a social activist in Berkley and decides to head back to the orphanage in India where she was abandoned to open a health clinic and take the whole family for the summer. Jazz is wary of social activism (which was the only odd sticking point for me) do-goodness of her mother, and instead is a young entrepreneur. She is also in love.
Obviously things change while they are in India f
Oct 02, 2015 Natalie rated it liked it
I read this as part of a book club through my youngest son's middle school. I enjoyed it. I'm not sure it's a book that my 13 year old son would find interesting but I do think many girls his age and even a bit younger would be pulled into the story. I learned a few things about India and it's culture too!
Originally, I was going to give this book a 3 star rating, but I really liked the ending, and I feel that both the book and the main character developed nicely throughout. Jazz is a whiny teenager at the start, but by the end she has matured into a young lady, and it's nice to watch that progression.
Jun 01, 2014 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
Nice multicultural coming of age novel. The main character is biracial (white & Indian) and leaves the U.S. to spend the summer in India. As she learns about her mother's culture, she discovers who she is and learns to love herself and her body.
Feb 18, 2013 Dagmar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-school
Jasmine, or Jazz, is a teenager from Berkeley who is in love with her friend and business partner, Steve. She and Steve have been friends for years, and she's afraid to tell him how she feels. When her family goes to India for the summer so her mother can open a women's health clinic at the orphanage where she grew up, Jazz meets a girl named Danita and finds out that she has a bigger heart than she thought.

I was hesitant about this book at first, because I didn't lie the constantly self-depreca
Apr 30, 2015 Wilaphant rated it did not like it
This was not a very good book, i liked it a bit but it was kinda dumb. that is probably because i had to stretch it over a month for book clubs you may enjoy it.
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to the States when she was seven years old. She's written several books for young readers, including BAMBOO PEOPLE, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and SECRET KEEPER. She is also the editor of an anthology: OPEN MIC: RIFFS BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES. Mitali maintains a website ( and blog ( where she chats ...more
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