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Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story
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Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Jaya Mehta detests wealth, secrets, and privilege, though he has them all. His family is Indian, originally from Gujarat. Rasa Santos, like many in Hawaii, is of mixed ethnicity. All she has are siblings, three of them, plus a mother who controls men like a black widow spider and leaves her children whenever she wants to. Neither Jaya nor Rasa have ever ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Cinco Puntos Press
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  237 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
So…I have a lot of emotions about this book. This is a unique, diverse love story, and it’s unlike any I’ve read before.

tw: rape, eating disorders, alcoholism, abuse, attempted suicide

Jaya and Rasa follows the stories of the two title characters: the difficulties they face, and the love that blossoms between them despite their circumstances. Jaya is a trans boy of Indian descent, born into a wealthy but dysfunctional family. Rasa is the daughter of a prostitute, and struggles to care for her thr
mindful.librarian ☀️
Powerful, raw and completely unfiltered mature YA that deals with incredibly complex topics

Thanks to Cinco Punto Press for providing me with an advance copy for review - all opinions are my own.

This is a BOOK. You know, the kind of book that gets under your skin and makes you wonder.....did I really want to read about all of that? You trafficking, rape, drugs, child abandonment? Oh, and parental unacceptance of a teen's gender identity and bulimia? And racial and cultural identi
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much, Edelweiss, Cinco Puntos Press and Consortium Books for the advance copy

This was a wonderful book.

The story is basically the equivalent of a punch in the gut that never stops; it's basically a general state of pain. To be fair, there are plenty of happy times, there are times where you smile and even laugh: there are very cute moments that will have you "aaaaw-ing" with little effort. But the pain is still there, because you just can't help thinking that, even though some happ
rachel keeler
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book so much and cannot wait to pass it on to the teens in my library. I know they are going to love Jaya and Rasa as much as I did. I would recommend it for all teen collections. This book includes diverse characters, struggles of being a first-generation American, love/sex (and the difference), destructive parents, sex trafficking, gender identity, sexual identity, homelessness.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-releases
3.5 stars
*Please read an extensive trigger warning list in the end of the review*

I used to have asthma when I was a kid, it got better when I grew up. However, I had an episode couple of years ago. I was in other city and I was visiting my friend. She had a cat and a dog. I though my allergy-triggered asthma would be ok. It had been years since anything happened. I thought I was okay. About several hours after arriving to her place, I started having troubles breathing. It was the most terrifying
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-lesbian
This was a four star read for me until the ending. Obviously, this is dealing with traumatic, horrific life experiences, but they're told in a simple writing style which kept me hooked. I can't speak to any of the representation, since I'm cis and white. I do think it's especially worth warning about the ending, though, which ruined Jaya for me and Jaya and Rasa's relationship:

[trigger warning for suicide, guns]

(view spoiler)
This book clearly had a lot of potential, but the writing felt forced and there was so much drama that it quickly started feeling like the author had a list of horrible things that should happen and was trying to tick off as many as possible. I sincerely question the labelling of this book as young adult, because of the amount of mature and possibly triggering content.
This book is basically 'how much traumatic shit can happen to one person before they get the cops involved' Answer it's a lot. This was very mature, well written, heartbreaking but important read it. RTC (after i return from exam hell)
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, aoc, arcs, reviewed
TW: rape, pedophilia, child prostitution, abuse, bulimia, suicide

I really wanted to love this book, so it's unfortunate that there was too much in it that I just didn't like.

It had a very promising premise. The interweaving stories of a young, Indian trans boy, and a working class Hawaiian girl from a troubled family. The blurb suggests that this book follows the love story between this unlikely pair. Which... if I'm honest, the book doesn't really. Of course, the love story is there. But it do
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Oh, man. Where do I start?


I wanted to like this book, I really did. I'm always happy to find new YA with trans male protagonists, but I went into this with a grain of salt since (from what I can tell) the author is cis. And my gut reaction was pretty fair, since there were numerous times where reading this book as a trans reader felt deeply uncomfortable and downright dysphoric for me. The problem is that the things that upset me (introducing Jaya, a trans guy,
Ashleigh Rose
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner

This is a book that will save lives. This is a book that some kids and adults are going to need and I desperately hope this book gets in their hands.

Jaya and Rasa is, by no stretch of the imagination, an easy book to read. It is a harrowing experience. This is a story of people who society has pushed out of sight for its own convenience and I am thankful Sonia Patel took on putting this story back into the light. To those who may ask whether or not all the issues are rea
This is a heavy one like Such a Pretty Girl and Dime, focusing on sexual abuse and prostitution with a second vivid character, a richer trans character whose family is so dysfunctional that Jaya's sexuality is "just another thing" and generally covered up for the "beauty" of what their family needs to look like on the outside (on the inside, Jaya's father is an adulterer and mother becomes suicidal).

Rasa's mother is a disillusioned mess who believes she is some kind of goddess that can control
5 stars and many tears

TW: Sexual abuse, child abuse, eating disorder, suicide thoughts, suicide attempts, drug abuse, homophobia, transphobia

Positive things

I NEVER read a book that is this underrated. It is a miracle that I found it! The book is written in a heartfelt way that it will destroy and rip your heart apart. I also do not recommend reading it, when you are not mentally stable.

The author lives in Hawaii so I am pretty much sure this book is to a part #ownvoices. She is a psychiatrist an
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tatiana Lira
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Rogers
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Jaya and Rasa was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be more of Jaya and Rasa together, but the majority of the book tells the stories of their lives before they even meet. They are important stories that deserve to be told- it's just not what I was expecting.I enjoyed the writing and the characters, but as I write this review a couple weeks later I already don't recall how it ended or many details. Keep in mind that I am a 38 year old cis white woman, and although I love LGBTQ fictio ...more
Lisa Day
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was pretty fantastic. Each chapter switched between the characters of Jaya, a 17-year-old transgender youth, and Rasa, a young woman of mixed ethnicity who turns to prostitution in order to care for her younger siblings when her mother abandons them. The characters were wonderful - kind, generous and loyal - and each tried to live life as best they could under the situations they found themselves in, which were heartbreaking and disgusting.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A challenging honest book. A story of the complexity of life and finding your own way when the adults in your life are horrible examples. This book is for mature young adults (and covers possibly triggering concepts) but which is relatable for many young adults.
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romance lovers
This young adult novel was gritty, dark, unfiltered, and incredibly intense. I loved it. I cherished the sweet moments in between the dark moments. The characters were brought to life and I was not only in love with them but the landscape as well.

Jaya is an Indian rich kid growing up in Hawaii. His father is a real estate man who cheats on his wife, cares about nothing else but his money. Jaya is also trans, with a family who insists that he be a true Indian woman and marry a man who will make
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.

I finished this one in one sitting. It addresses so many issues and will start so many conversations between readers. Child sex trafficking, rape, eating disorders, alcoholism, attempted suicide this is a MATURE YA. Jaya comes from a traditional Gujarati family but has to hide his true self from his parents. As a transgender boy, Patel does a great job handling pronouns, the inner turmoil Jaya feels
3.25 Stars

I think this book is lovely and definitely worth purchasing. From the heart breaking yet gorgeous stories of both these teenagers to the abundant discussion raised through this novel. Jaya and Rasa is one to read. I love Sonia Patel after reading this book, because her soul is vibrant and evident through her work. I loved both these characters, the exploration of their upbringings was really eye opening for me, and enjoyable to read because it made me feel so much. There was this beau
I've never read a book quite like this one with its unlikely romantic relationship and deeply flawed characters. Honestly, it's a wonder that either of the two protagonists have managed to survived to this point. Seventeen-year-old Jaya Mehta is the child of a privileged Indian family from Gujarat, is transgender and hates the female role that biology has placed on him. He finds comfort in music and dreaming of a different life where he can be himself. Rasa Santos is the eldest of four children, ...more
Sara Mantia
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy Guacamole talk about devouring a book and feeling so unbelievably heart broken that it was over. I did not want this to end but at the same time I found myself begging for some sort of closure to this crazy heartbreaking roller coaster of a plot. It is written with so much emotion that it is almost raw and shocking when you read the words that are on the page but it also has so much heart. This book is so great because it deals with so many major important issues but it's also in this beaut ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of the book - all opinions are my own.

Wow. This book was intense. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was pretty difficult to read. It’s one of those books that really draws you in and makes you take a good hard look at what’s going on in the lives of people around you. Patel didn’t sugarcoat the struggles of her characters, which, unfortunately, are the struggles of many teens around the world. As difficult and horrible as those
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Wow, this was an intense read. And there was a lot going on here. A lot. And while I am appreciative of Patel tackling several tough topics, I felt like the ending was rushed and unsatisfactory, and some of the loose ends drove me nuts. Not to spoil anything, but what happened to Rasa's siblings? Especially her younger brother. I also felt like I got to know Rasa much better than Jaya, and I would have liked to feel more of a connection to Jaya.

Things I liked? I did love the range of diverse ch
Mary Thomas
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars for Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story. This powerful mature YA was an incredible un-put-down-able read!


Rasa is struggling to survive and provide for her siblings in the place of her mother, who is a neglectful sex worker. With her mother’s increasing absences, Rasa realizes she must also turn tricks to provide for the family, and eventually falls under the control of a ruthless pimp. Jaya’s parents are extremely wealthy and is well provided for, although his parents both have struggles
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: august-tbr
At times this book was heavy, and at other times lighthearted. There were moments of music bonding juxtaposed with moments of abuse. (TW: abuse, homophobia, suicide attempts, eating disorders, drugs) Patel deals with some complex issues and those don't even include immigration, sexuality, or family. There is diverse rep here and #ownvoices for Jaya's culture, not to mention a transgender character, and a multi-racial character of Rasa. But at the heart of this book is a love story - just like th ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the Kid Lit Exchange network for the review copy of Thai book. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this raw matte YA story about two characters who meet and fall in love against all odds. Set against the lush backdrop of Hawaii, Jaya’s wealthy, traditional family refuses to see him for who he is. Biologically a female, Jaya’s parents want him to grow his hair, act like a woman, and find a suitable husband. Rasa, however, is from the other end of the spectrum. Her mother, a prost
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe it was because of my high expectations that I felt completely let down by this book. It was not a love story. The most true love shown was between Jaya and his guitar. Jaya's story was uneventful until he finally met Rasa, which took forever by the way.

Rasa's story was sad and hard to read because there are plenty of girls stuck in horrible situations like her. I didn't take her feelings for Jaya as Love but more of a way to escape from her daily nightmare. He was different and refreshing
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Goodreads Librari...: (ISBN13: 9781941026878) 2 11 Mar 15, 2018 07:43AM  

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Sonia Patel is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, trained at Stanford University and the University of Hawaii. She lives and practices in Hawaii. Her YA debut, Rani Patel In Full Effect, was a finalist for the Morris Award, received four starred reviews from trade magazines, and was listed on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2016.

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