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That Thing about Bollywood

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Bollywood takes over in this contemporary, magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life.

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same w
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Nov 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sonali has a case of Bollywooditis. Her daily life has had a filmi magic makeover. She has a constant soundtrack and breaks into solo numbers at unexpected times with her companions becoming background dancers. What. Is. Happening? Why don't her family and friends remember what life was like before? Could her parents announcing their separation have anything to do with it? Most importantly, how can Sonali get her old life back? Could it be that squashing down her real feelings is the problem and ...more
Oct 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2021-releases
November 2, 1010: I missed the cover reveal but that's my loss because how cute and desi is this cover, oh my heart-

October 19, 2020: After giving away my heart to American As Paneer Pie , I'm here for everything Supriya Kelkar writes. But also, a girl who LOVES BOLLYWOOD? Involuntarily bursts into glamorous song and dance routines? UM, THAT'S TOO MUCH LIKE ME. So yeah, waiting for this book!!!!
Supriya Kelkar
Sep 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi friends, thank you for reading THAT THING ABOUT BOLLYWOOD!

I grew up in a town that didn't appreciate diversity and was regularly bullied about my Indian-American culture. To make matters worse, I never got to see myself in an American book, TV show, or movie. They weren't publishing books with South Asian American characters in them. And South Asian American actors weren't getting roles in TV shows or movies. 

But there was one place where I found a little of the representation I was looking f
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This book is exactly the kind of book I needed when I was in elementary and middle school! A wonderfully filmy book riddled with Bollywood references this book was thoroughly enjoyable. Kelkar blends American and Indian culture seamlessly and includes a cast of characters from many different backgrounds. This book also touches on the very taboo topic of divorce within the South Asian communities.

The Bollywood references would have been perfect when I was 11 years old but seeing as how that was
Sonali has learned early in life that when she has a feeling, it's best to shove it way, way down. But when her parents announce they're getting divorced, suddenly it gets a lot harder to do this. Sonali finds herself in an alternate reality where everything is like it is in a Bollywood movie, and every time she has a feeling, she starts singing and dancing about it, whether she wants to or not. To get back to her own reality, it seems like she needs to get those pesky emotions under control, bu ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
For readers who like real life events but in a fantastical story.

Divorce is such a hard thing for adults to go through. Can you imagine seeing your parents fight every day? Sonali and her little brother Ronak, are witnessing their parents fight every day over small things, like forgetting a water bottle. Sonali is told by her parents to keep their family matters between them. Sonali is hopeful that their family nights watching her grandfather's Bollywood collection would be enough to keep their
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rameela (Star)
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Initial thoughts: This was so cute and I loved that it discussed such an important topic.

This was such a wholesome and fun read! I really related to the main character, especially because she felt like she had to be emotionless in order to cope with being overwhelmed. I think this was funny and brilliant and heartfelt all at once and definitely did a great job incorporating a love of bollywood music while also spreading the message that it's absolutely okay to share your emotions and be open eve
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
This middle-grade book is a jumbo-sized metaphor to teach younger readers about the benefits of expressing their feelings instead of bottling them up.

Sonali has always loved her Bollywood movie nights with family, but she herself couldn't be further from the singing, dancing, overacting, emotional expression of the movies. Tension and fighting between her parents has wounded her so deeply over the years that she thinks the only way to cope is not to feel. Then her family starts to split up for r
Brandi Thompson
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
That Thing About Bollywood is a middle grade novel that features an Indian family, and learning how to embrace and express emotions, even when they're painful. Sonali is an 11 year old girl , whose parents have a long history of fighting, and decide to separate. Sonali is known by her friends and family for being almost 'robot' like, and hiding her true feelings. After she finds out that her parents will be separating, she develops 'Bollywood-itis', where it becomes normal to sing and dance your ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
That Thing About Bollywood has the most adorable concept, sort of like Crazy Ex Girlfriend but with entirely different themes. In this case, she's mostly singing about the disconnect with her bestie and her feelings about her parents separating. The themes are great for middle grade readers. However, I did feel this would work better in a visual medium, and the songs themselves were pretty terrible? But that may have been a joke about translated Bollywood lyrics? I'm not sure. ...more
Sep 09, 2020 marked it as to-read
This sounds delightful and kind of relatable, as a Bollywood obsessed girl whose parents are splitting up.
Aug 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021books
First sentence: You know how in Bollywood movies, people sing and dance on mountaintops when they're in love? I wonder if they do the same when they're splitting up?

Premise/plot: Sonali, our heroine, loves, loves, loves watching Bollywood--something she especially treasured doing with her grandfather (before he died). Every Sunday the family gathers together and watches vintage Bollywood--on VHS tape. But things at home are far from ideal. Her parents fight and argue all the time--over matters b
Ben Truong
That Thing about Bollywood is a middle grade contemporary with a touch of magical realism written by Supriya Kelkar. It centers on sixth grader Sonali, who learns a dramatic lesson about emotional honesty.

It features Oceanview Academy middle schooler Sonali, whose stoicism contrasts with her love of Bollywood films and its melodrama. Stuck in a Los Angeles home with constantly arguing parents and her sensitive nine-year-old brother Ronak, Gujarati American Sonali, tries to make sense of her worl
Stephanie Sterling
May 24, 2022 rated it liked it
Far too long but a great and worthwhile message.
What if every time you felt strong emotions--happy or sad--you burst into song and dance? With full orchestral accompaniment, back up singers and beautifully costumed dancers? Like a Bollywood movie! After years of hiding her true feelings and putting on a happy face, Sonali, an Indian American girl, growing up in Los Angeles, finds almost everything around her turned into a real life Bollywood movie. Her parents have fought with each other as long as she and her little brother can remember. Now ...more
Aug 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

I grew up with Bollywood just like Supriya Kelkar, so it was a lot of fun to spot all the references made in this book. This is a middle grade story about eleven-year-old Sonali dealing with her parents' separation and eventual divorce along with other things in her life falling apart.

The topic of divorce was excellent, especially because to this day, it's such a taboo thing in the Indian community and there's a lot of shame associated with it. I loved that this matter was brought to
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: a-r-c-s_i_own
I had a lot of hope for the premise of learning to not suppress your emotions through song and dance, but it didn’t really turn out. It was very repetitive. It just kept repeating the same scenario where the bollywood magic happens because the MC suppressed her emotions. But she doesn't figure that important information out till the very end even though it's been happening for the whole book! The best thing about this was the indian culture. The book never made an effort to explain anything to a ...more
Sep 23, 2021 rated it did not like it
You can't judge a book by its cover, but the cover truly made this book utterly disappointing. Sonali was an incredibly irritating character, and I had to put the book down multiple times to just stare into space. It took more than a 100 pages to get into the plot, 100 pages more to see a tiny glimpse of world building (another person doing a "solo" and being happier than Sonali is supposed to be on the cover; what do solos imply for actual musicians/artists if it seems anyone can do it and prof ...more
Tonja Drecker
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have a soft spot for Bollywood and was thrilled to get my hands on this ARC, hoping that it would hold all the magic and fun of the productions. This book not only does that but so much more.

There's one big rule in Sonali's family—never give outsiders a reason to gossip and embarrass the family. In other words, keep your mouth shut about personal issues. This works fine, normally, but with her parents' increasing fights and sudden pause from each other, Sonali's walls are needing extra fortifi
Sonali's parents fight. All. The. Time. So much that, in 1st grade, she decided to make a presentation about why her parents shouldn't fight and display it during an extended family dinner. Naturally, it didn't go over so well, and ever since then, she's learned to bury her emotions deep within where no one can get at them. She gets called a robot sometimes, but its fine, because she won't get hurt or show weakness by showing emotion.

Until her parents decide to seperate. It's really a trial-run
Laura Gardner
Jul 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
💃🏻 What a fun twist on an important topic! 💃🏻
Sonali is an Indian American girl whose family is coming apart. Her parents fight all the time, but Sonali is keeping it a secret from all her friends. Now she is refusing to face her emotions about her parents’ separation, which is causing problems in her relationship with her best friend, Zara.
Then something weird happens -- her life turns into one long Bollywood movie! She wakes up one day to discover that she has a personal soundtrack that
* Thank you to Edelweiss+ for a digital review copy. All opinions are my own.

The story is different in a variety of ways, but hone it down to its essence and it is about learning how to deal with your emotions. We see a great deal about Social Emotional Learning, and in this story, Sonali is struggling with her parent's divorce, changes in friendships, and the general realities of being in middle school. Part of the problem is that Sonali's father has taught her that it is not good to show feeli
Kate Waggoner
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-read
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and #NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of That Thing about Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar. This middle grade novel will be published May 18, 2021. All opinions are my own.

Sonali has always had a hard time sharing her feelings. Ever since she can remember, her father has drilled into her that their family business is their business and no one else's. Because of this, she bottles up her feelings and tells everyone she i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trisha Ray
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
That Thing About Bollywood is a South Asian middle grade book that follows eleven-year-old Sonali stuggling to express her feelings about her parents' separation. Sonali's dad has always tried to keep the family's hardships a secret. When Sonali makes a presentation in the first grade on why her parents should stop fighting, her father is more concerned that she gave the presentation in front of family friends than what her presentation was about. After that experience, Sonali decides to bottle ...more
Molly Who
Apr 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss for the eARC
There were many things to love about this book. The diversity, the characters, the inner workings of Bollywood - it was also a great book that talked about the importance of expressing yourself and channeling your emotions so they don't become destructive.
Our main character Sonali is eleven and dealing with more changes than she ever has before, on top of her parent's divorce she is also thrown into a world filled with Filmi magic. There were many times throug
A heavy-handed message book: you must talk about your feelings -- bottling them up is no good. By the end, that message horse was dead, well and truly beaten. Also employed here is the "I didn't tell my friend the big deal thing, which is creating a huge series of ongoing misunderstandings that would all be solved if I just opened my mouth," which is a plot point I increasingly despise, especially since more authors are figuring out how to tell good stories without it.

This makes it sound like I
Dec 30, 2021 rated it liked it
📚 That Thing About Bollywood✨📖 𝐛𝐲 Supriya Kelkar📚

#CelebratingIndianAuthors and #tbrpilereadathon hosted by @theoldbookbarn

🔖 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Magical Realism| Juvenile Fiction
🔖 Synopsis: Bollywood takes over in this contemporary, magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life.
You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance fro
Apr 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I wouldn’t mind experiencing a bit of Bollywooditis.

Sonali’s life is imploding. She might be losing her best friend to a popular girl in her class, her parents’ marriage is on the rocks, and to top it all off, she suddenly starts to hear music, or “soundtracks” and bursts into song in public, much like in the beloved Bollywood films she is obsessed with.

I adored American as Paneer Pie, so I was very excited to read Kelkar’s latest, That Thing About Bollywood. It seemed perfect for me, as a chi
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