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American Betiya

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  846 ratings  ·  295 reviews
Fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson will identify with this powerful story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries, and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship.

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in--his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art--make him he
Audiobook, 368 pages
Published March 9th 2021 by Knopf
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  846 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking , unique, such a thrilling pleasure to read this beauty! I love to get lost in those books centered around multicultural interests and thankfully ownvoices give us a great chance to meet with powerful, creative indie authors who introduce us different approaches opening into vivid, original lives, traditions, cultures.

Please don’t hesitate to add this book on your very special tbr but not just add, please schedule a special reading time and dive into it blind!

I truly enjoy Rani K
Liza Wiemer
Put American Betiya on your TBR list!!

I am so incredibly thrilled that this magnificent, unforgettable #ownvoices novel will be published in 2021. What a journey it's been for Anuradha! She has put her heart, soul, tears, and joy into creating American Betiya, which won the SCBWI YA Emerging Voices Award. With a setting in Evanston, IL and India, readers will get a personal view into Rani's close-knit Indian family and Oliver, the boyfriend who desperately wants to fit into it.

This is a novel
A romance that unequivocally focuses on the protagonist, a first generation Indian-American teenager who finds herself balancing on a line that separates her traditional values and modern virtues. With an upbringing that has always brought restrictions around boys and an undivided attention in school, Rani feels caught between her conventional family and the exciting world around her.

When Oliver, a boy immensely passionate about art meets Rani, she immediately falls for him. But an artsy white
I thought this would be a cute contemporary novel but I didn't end up liking it as much as I had hoped. I did like Rani, her family, and her best friend, Kate. The cultural differences and sex positivity were portrayed well. It also sheds light on racism, sexism, and taboos.

The love interest Oliver was such a bad character. He had a ton of red flags, fetishes Rani constantly, and completely naive. He becomes highly manipulative. gas lights, belittles, and also, extremely weird. I know that it w
Lauren Fox
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and completely heartfelt. Rani is a funny, lovable, searching protagonist. This book is a gem.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

TW: racism, gaslighting, mention of suicide

This book truly shook me to my core. I wasn't really expecting much going into it, but by the end I just felt so seen and understood as an Indian women. I genuinely think this book was something high school me needed and I think that's why it holds so much value for me now when I read it because it has all the messages and themes a younger version of myself crucially needed to hear to value and appreciate herself and her culture. I loved the juxta
Jessica | JustReadingJess
American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar is an enlightening story about an Indian teenager secretly dating a white boy and trying to fit in. This is a great story of individuality and fitting in. Rani is a high schooler focused on her secret boyfriend which causes her to stray away from her family and friends. She is put in uncomfortable situations and has to figure out how to deal with them. When Oliver starts calling her an Indian princess and making questionable decisions Rani has to decide wh ...more
Jan 07, 2021 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 00-reviewed
DNF at 52%

American Betiya follows Rani, an Indian-American teen who meets a white boy named Oliver and begins dating him in secret. However, as the two continue to spend more and more time together, Oliver starts fetishizing Rani and her culture, and it’s clear that he is abusing and taking advantage of her. It was so enraging to read about this, and I found myself very angry during many points of the story. (Thankfully, other reviewers have mentioned that the book does not end with Rani stayin
where i truly hoped i'd leave this book with tears accompanying my cheeks, i instead ended up sitting there with exactly one thing going through my head: hmmmmm.


the message gets a 10/10 from me. it's just that the execution didn't work out in my opinion, since i barely connected with the main character. not because of what she's going through, but because of what she's going through isn't developed well enough. it had so much potential but the pacing and lack of actual depth ruined it a bit
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Anuradha for FINALLY giving me a YA book I can relate to and that I definitely needed when I was a teenager. I knew I would be able to relate to a lot of the issues the main character, Rani Kelkar, faces because we both have experienced growing up as a Desi-American teenager. I mean the struggle of strict parents but wanting to follow your heart is a tale as old as time. Also, the crushing pressure to be the model of success and do better than your parents is certainly a theme a lot of ...more
Christina Clancy
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Rajurkar's novel, a vivid portrayal of the challenges of growing up between cultures and traditions, the torturous emotions of first love, and the extremely relatable teenage angst we all experience. Rujurkar's writing is pitch perfect, and anchored in sensory details that immerse you in Evanston and high school. The novel is a combination of silk saris and rubber-soled combat boots: the perfect balance of sensitivity and edgy toughness. Young rea ...more
content/trigger warnings: alcoholism, child abandonment/absent father, drugs, suicide attempt, suicide, death of a friend, pregnancy, racism, misogyny, addiction, abusive parents, death of a grandparent, grief, guilt, gaslighting, manipulation, infidelity, fetishization

i finished this a few hours ago and honestly i'm ... disappointed? i wish i had enjoyed it more. i don't know if i would've enjoyed it more had i known about some of the triggering content prior to reading it, or if my lack of enj
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2021
Is it crazy that I want to scream every time I think about this book? It is possible I’m being a wee bit dramatic but American Betiya managed to do that thing where my heart painfully constricts at the thought of Rani and her tumultuous journey to achieving self-fulfillment and owning her identity. Ahh this book gives me all the bittersweet feelings!!!

To put it simply, this story centers around a relationship between Rani and her "bad boy" artist boyfriend Oliver that starts off good and brings
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have already been recommending this book to everyone I know. It is easy to fall in love with the lead, Rani, and understand that quintessential coming-of-age tension where you are attempting to extricate your own desires from that of your parents. Coupled with a first romance, living within two cultures, the complexities of teen friendship... this book pretty much has it all. I appreciated that my initial thoughts about where this story would take me were quickly shifted and I very much enjoye ...more
Svapna Sabnis
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. I loved it! The characters spoke to me. I loved the Rani, an Indian American girl negotiating two cultures and forbidden love. She is spunky and smart. Her boyfriend, her family and best friend are beautifully portrayed.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AMERICAN BETIYA pulled me in from the very first pages. The writing so beautiful and assured, the prose pitch-perfect, and the world so crisply and intimately built.

Rajukar deftly explores the immediacy, the pain, and joy of first love so beautifully, while balancing it against the demands of family, tradition, and the need of a teen to rebel, When HS senior, Rani falls in love with Oliver, a talented, if a bit dangerous artist, she begins to cross boundaries she never thought she would. The onl
Brianna Bourne
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is EXQUISITE. Seriously one of the most gorgeously written, deeply emotional and nuanced books I've ever read.

The main character, Rani, felt so real to me. She jumps off the page, and I wanted to be friends with her! Her romance with Oliver starts out with such fireworks and fizz - Rajurkar perfectly captured the chemistry and heat of falling in love for the first time, which is one of my favorite things to read in books. I was completely drawn into Rani’s life and her struggle to hide
Rajani LaRocca
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This YA novel is gorgeously written and perfectly captures the feeling of teenage infatuation and first love — the glances, the thoughts, the intensity. But Rani, the young heroine of the story, has even more to contend with, since she needs to keep her relationship a secret from her Indian immigrant parents. This story confronts racism and misogyny as through her struggles, Rani learns more about her family, her friends, and herself.
Shreya ◠◡◠
Why you should read it?

• The Desi Contemporary Book we were craving for ✅

• The Seamless Weaving of Words ✅
The book is not short, but it didn't took me too long to finish it, you may ask me why? The writing was seamless, it just flowed and kept me going.

• The Traditions and Customs described so well ✅
The description of festivals and cultures was done so well it couldn't be better. I really liked how there was points and notes about the starting of that festival and it's importance.

• The Friends
Ananya Devarajan
Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

I'll cut straight to the chase—Anuradha Rajurkar's AMERICAN BETITYA is the young adult contemporary novel I needed growing up as an Indian-American teenager.

It was effortless to relate to Rani Kelkar's journey amidst love and heartbreak to Indian culture and the racism that often follows, sometimes from the most unexpected places. Her coming-of-age is characterized by the st
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book already won a prize before being published (the National SCBWI Emerging Voices Award) and it's easy to see why -- it's so beautifully written and exceptionally wise. Though it's about teenage characters and written for a teenage readership, the truth is that adults will get a lot out of this book, too, and possibly more. The narrator, Rani, is impossible not to root for as she navigates the high-stakes final months of high school. She's smart, compassionate, a good friend, and working ...more
Mridula Gupta
When I read the synopsis, I laughed out loud because a guy with tattoos is every desi mom's biggest nightmare (at least in my home😂).
Rajurkar's 'American Betiya' is all about Rani, who falls in love with Oliver, entranced by his charming personality and anxious about lying to her parents. In this cross-cultural romance, family drama, identity crisis, and sense of loss of one's position in this nonsensical world play a major role.

Rajurkar's writing is easy and at times, tedious. More than the wri
Jon O
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book beautifully explores the excitement and pain of a cross-cultural relationship that breaks cultural taboos, a teen romance carried out beyond the view of parents and others who may disapprove. The author’s ear for dialogue is pitch-perfect, and her understanding of high-school interactions, and academic and social hierarchies, make this a book that young people -- even old ones -- will recognize themselves in. Plus, it’s just a great story!
A very high 4 Stars!

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Racism, Gaslighting, Toxic Relationship, Manipulation, Fetishization, Microaggressions, Drug Use, Alcoholism

Wow. This book was absolutely incredible. Within the first few chapters I felt the richness of the culture being wrote about and Rani's family life which we also got glimpses to in India and I thoroughly loved every aspect. I found parts to be so insightful with discussions of religion, holidays, dating and honestly how hard some of these thin
The book follows Rani, an Asian American girl trying to find herself in the midst of two contradictory cultures she has been raised in. With a passion for art, she owns the chance to have her photographs displayed at an art gallery and her entire family comes to support her. There, she meets Oliver, a tattooed art-loving boy who intrigues her.

Despite all the risks, Rani decides to try and get to know him better and it seems to be everything she wants as he listens to her and makes her feel seen.
Kajree Gautom
It is very rarely that one gets to see a true desi term in a contemporary book title. When the cover revealed happened for American Betiya last year, I was sold. The theme sounded so good, the cover was stunning and the title was an immediate catch.

American Betiya follows Rani and Oliver’s tumultuous romance as she grapples with identity, culture and what it means to love.

The book starts with Rani in an art exhibition where she first sees Oliver. From the first page, first line itself, we reade
Samantha (WLABB)
Rani had always been the model daughter. She was studious and spent her spare time reading articles pertaining to her future as a medical doctor. She was active in her community, often volunteering with the younger children. But when Oliver showed an interest in Rani, she embarked on a secret relationship with him that had her struggling between her love for him and her love for her family.

This book had me feeling ALL the emotions. I felt the euphoria of first love, the guilt of betraying loved
May 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my GOD this was so GOOD

Content warnings: death of a family member, racism, microaggressions, gaslighting, fetishization, death by suicide (specifically hanging), transphobia, drug use, addiction, emotional manipulation
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Anuradha D. Rajurkar is the award-winning author of AMERICAN BETIYA, a 2022 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection published by Knopf/Penguin Random House. This debut is about a teen artist's forbidden interracial love, her close-knit immigrant family, and her boyfriend's desperate desire to fit into her South Asian culture--even if it means betrayal.

Holding two degrees from Northwestern Un

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