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The Night Diary

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,539 ratings  ·  583 reviews
It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dan
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Kokila
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Amy Nicole Kelley Brady is credited for the jacket illustration and design. It really is beautiful!

Community Reviews

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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,539 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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There are two reasons that I can think of right now of why Historical Fiction novels are as valuable as History courses, if not more.

Because unless you’re a university student who takes very specific History courses with the subjects that you really want to learn about, chances are your high school History professors will focus on European and American History. That’s from my Canadian perspective, anyways.

The other reason is that while History courses usually cover a topic and make you learn all
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home, sh
Rashika (is tired)

(Updating my review with the letter I wrote to my great-grandma as part of the blog tour)

Dear Great-Grandma,

I am not the best at writing letters that are also going to be on display but you know, I am trying. I recently read The Night Diary, which is currently the only book I am calling a favorite of this year and I’ve read 86 books so far. Reading it has made me incredibly pensive because the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that I was reading your and gr
I want to hold this book to my heart and never let go.

What an absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking work of art. Her writing is transcendent- I felt the wind, the dust, smelled the spices, felt the pencil in Nisha's hand! And the story: so vital. So poignant. Millions of people were (and no doubt still are) affected by this, and I am ashamed to say I had never heard of it until a few months ago.

And Nisha, our sweet narrator . . . I love this precious girl! She made me sad, and happy, and hungr
Beautiful and heartbreaking. A treasure.
Rida Imran
Aug 10, 2018 marked it as to-read
The cover is beautiful. Being from Pakistan while I've heard a lot of partition stories, I've never read any..
Tam_ the_ med_bookie
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so damn good!
My heart got cut open; my tears could not stop till the last page.
And I couldn't leave out a word. Yes, it is that good.
The writing style is mesmerizing, simple and full of emotions.
The story has been fictionalized as is mentioned by the author at the end of the book based on the real life events that happened during the time of partition in 1947.
It is so beautifully written that I became aware of my own life so many times while reading the lines feeling so grateful abo
Adiba Jaigirdar
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I was super excited about this book but it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be. The format didn't really work for me. The epistolary format just made everything feel a bit distant. There were some really great things about the book as well though - I really liked the concept and most of the characters, and there were some really, really moving and well-written scenes.

Full review coming soon!
Chelsea slytherink
I picked up The Night Diary because my friend Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks loved it and I recently had a wonderful experience reading Amal Unbound, another diverse middle grade novel. While I wouldn’t say that middle grade is my favourite genre, I do like to read it from time to time.

The Night Diary did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook, which happened to be narrated by the same narrator of Amal Unbound! I absolutely love their voice and would listen to every book they’ve worked
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about The Night Diary during an Owlcrate video a few months ago and seeing as I'm Indian and this book is set during the period when India gained their independence I knew this was an absolute must read for me!

This book follows a twelve year old girl called Nisha who together with her family are forced to leave their home following the partition of India. When the family end up on the Pakistan side they decide to attempt to travel by foot and train to the new India.

Suze Lavender
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, you guys. Wow. What a treasure. An award contender for sure. I'll be thinking about Nisha for a long time.
Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received an ARC of The Night Diary from the UK distributor. I’d actually been interested in this book for quite some time. It’s set at the time of the partition between India and Pakistan, and written for a middle grade audience.

It’s #ownvoices for Indian representation.


I love the writing style. It’s written in the form of letters that Nisha addresses to her late mother. This gave the reading experience a very organic feeli
Told from the point of view of a 11-year old Nisha and her diary entries, which are addressed to her dead mother, this is a really interesting way to relate a little of the confusion, frustration, fear and sadness experiences of India’s Partition in 1947. People were suddenly told to leave their homes and towns and travel many kilometres away to start their lives over again, amidst an atmosphere of unexpected anger amongst people who had lived together for years. While there had always been tens ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
This was just ok. The diary format didn’t work for me - maybe if shorter entries written to her mother had been interspersed with the story I would have enjoyed it more. The outstanding thing about this book was the setting and time period.
Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: A Physical copy was provided via Penguin India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

Its the year of Partition & Independence – the greed and the selfish needs of the powerful leaders have displaced millions of common men, women and children who instead of celebrating the freedom from oppression had to leave not only the place they were born but also
Interesting book but very slow. It was nice listening to it and the narrator was good but I wasn't in a hurry to pick it up once I put it down.
Ms. Yingling
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

On the eve of the Partitioning of India in 1947, Nisha is struggling to understand the implications of the end of British rule on her half-Hindu, half-Muslim family, and writes diary entries to the mother who passed away when she and her twin brother Amil were born in order to process events. Her father, a Hindu doctor, feels that the family must leave their town, which has ended up as an area designated to be Muslim. Long time family cook Kazi is Muslim (as was Nisha's
Clare Lund
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Filled with gorgeous language and vivid imagery, The Night Diary tells the story of one family after India gained its independence from the British Commonwealth in 1947 and was divided into two countries. Nisha's father is Hindu and her late mother was Muslim, leaving Nisha feeling torn when conflict between the two religions intensifies: "Where do Amil and I fit in to all of this hate? Can you hate half a person?" The home she has always known is now part of newly formed Pakistan, which Nisha a ...more
Abby Johnson
Loved this historical novel about a young girl and her family forced to leave their home after the partition of India creates the country of Pakistan. It reminded me a lot of Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl in the style of writing and I would hand it to kids who are interested in historical fiction or stories of refugees like The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
Sherry Guice
This is an amazing story!!! Told in letters to her mother (who is dead) as a diary, the reader is taken through the history of the division of India into India and Pakistan. Great characters, suspense and adventure interwoven into a story of a family caught in the midst of horrendous cultural/political strife--Hindus against Muslims.
I cried so much...Definitely Ruta Sepetys for middle grade!
Sohinee Reads & Reviews (Bookarlo)
Read The Original Review Posted on Sohinee Reads & Reviews


I have read quite a few books on the 1947 partition, have heard stories of partition from my grandparents and I was always left to ponder upon how many lives were affected during this partitioning…too many would be an understatement too. For those who don’t know about the Partition of India, it was when the British Indian Empire was split into two countri
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dear Veera,

It is less than a week from the award of the Newbery Medal for the most outstanding middle-grade novel of the year. And I cannot help but hope that your brilliant, groundbreaking diary wins at least an honor--if not the top award itself. You opened my eyes to the human impact of India's independence on its people. Your writing is strong but delicate, like a perfectly constructed spider's web. Your characters display such raw emotion and depth. Regardless of what the committee decides,
I certainly better understand the upheaval Partition caused. Nisha's story gives a face to how large-scale intolerance scalds a wide radius with its hot hate.
Reviewed in Horn Book, July/August 2018.
Caitlin Christensen
5 stars
Shauna Yusko
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 for writing and adult appeal. Good characters and historical setting.
3 for tween/teen interest.
Several books that would pair with it.
Sedley Abercrombie
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't give many books five stars but this one is well deserved. Utterly lost in this book and now I need to know more about India and Pakistan in 1947. Definitely suffering from a book hangover.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

This is an intensely emotional story about family, bravery, and migration. Not only are characters touching, but the format of the book is stunning. Nisha is writing letters to her mother who is no longer with their family. Because of this, there is a hopefulness, a vulnerability, and a fierce love that shine through her words. We see this tumultuous and dangerous time in hist
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Veera Hiranandani is the author of THE NIGHT DIARY, THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL, and the chapter book series, PHOEBE G. GREEN. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College and spent six years as a book editor. She now teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York with her family. She is working on her next novel.

“When you divide people, they take sides.” 3 likes
“It feels scary to talk, because once the words are out, you can’t put them back in. But if you write words and they don’t come out the way you want them to, you can erase them and start over.” 3 likes
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