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Coconut Unlimited

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  220 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
'Coconut Unlimited' follows the adventures of three hapless, hip-hop obsessed Asian boys in an all-white private school. It is the debut novel from London-based writer and performance poet Nikesh Shukla. Shortlisted for Costa First Novel Award 2010.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Quartet Books (UK)
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Renita D'Silva
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting and original. Loved it.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nikesh Shukla’s debut novel, Coconut Unlimited reads like a friendly reminisce with an old friend. Following the lives of three Asian boys at a private school in Harrow in the 90’s, Shukla’s portrayal of awkward adolescence, balancing social and cultural divides, and just the cringe worthy moments of being a teenager read like a snapshot of British Asian childhood. Born and raised in Harrow myself, the story is familiar, hilarious and very true to life. And that’s not just because of the localit ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nikesh Shukla’s first novel is the story of Amit; he and his friends Anand and Nishant are the only Asian boys at their private school in early 1990s Harrow. They find themselves struggling to be accepted anywhere: their ethnicity marks them out as different at school, and their schooling marks them out as different amongst the other Asian kids in town. The boys find refuge in a shared love of rap, and decide to start their own hip-hop band, which they name Coconut Unlimited (after Amit’s sister ...more
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am a married, white female, more into Indie rather than Hip Hop in my youth, so according to the law of averages/preconceptions, I shouldn’t have enjoyed Coconut Unlimited at all but, contrary as ever, it ended up as one of my favourite reads in November. This is one of the joys of receiving a wide variety of novels to review – many thanks to Quartet Books for sending this gem my way.

Our narrator, Amit, is a bit of a misfit, an Asian youth on whose narrow shoulders are placed the weighty expec
Vishal Shah
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
An Easy book to read, that shows the different periods of teenage life and going through the phases moving as a child to an adult. This book has been set in Harrow or known as little Gujrat. Where three teenagers being infused with American Rap culture/music, how they decide to form a band and start writing their material. The construction is basic and interesting themes are never really explored.
Heidi Coles
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If you're pushing 40 or 14 it has all the feel good memories of being a misunderstood teen. Definitely worth a read.
Books HQ
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The charm of this book comes from the author’s sympathetic treatment of the characters involved. As readers, we like then, we understand their embarrassment and their dreams. Their experience is so common, that awkward teenage stage when you’re trying to find your place and be seen as cool. For me personally, a thirty-something white girl, this took me back to my youth, when I had Beastie Boys posters next to Kylie posters. My friend and I formed a rap duo (called The Rap Girls) and listened to ...more
Maria Longley
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ma, 2013
This is the (fictional) memoir of Amit as a teenager in Harrow and atteding a private school as one of very few Asians. He and his friends get into hip hop and form a band: Coconut Unlimited. It's a coming of age story full of mishaps and comedy and I liked the feel-good ending. There were moments to cringe sympathetically alongside the perceived coolness and actual "pretty cool"ness of the characters, and sometimes that was a bit too much for me, but overall I enjoyed the read.
Georgia Smith
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Eh. I have the feeling this is more of a book written for friends and family than for the general market - the author reminiscing on the past for the sake of it being his past. I didn't really enjoy the writing style or the characters, the conclusion was vaguely disappointing and the overwhelming feeling was of awkward teenage humiliation. It felt like the type of story you could tell someone in five minutes for an easy laugh, but probably not substantial enough to build a book around.
Liz Wilson
Feb 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
I thought this book was going to be so much better than it was, but it was a real slog to get to the end. I see that it was trying to show a genuine portrayal of adolescence and cultural differences, but it lacked warmth for me and I did not really empathise with the characters. I appreciate that I was a teenage girl not boy growing up, but it all seemed a bit pointless and generic....didn't all teenage boys want to be rappers in the 90's?!? Disappointing.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
An easy read and a good offering for a debut novel. The question of it being fiction could be raised; the feeling of it being more autobiographical than fictional lies heavy throughout the book.
That does no harm to Coconut Unlimited though, as it's heartfelt, personal and full of the worries and humour that hark back to the schooldays of us all. A nice storyline with a nice outcome...readable but not necessarily memorable.
Adam Beddoe
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
An easy read - this book focuses on the difficult transition period of teenage life when you are moving from being a child to an adult. This is set against the backdrop of Britain becoming increasingly racially aware and more dominated by US culture. The construction is basic and interesting themes are never really explored.
Apr 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
I wasn't (and still am not) into hip hop, so I found this highly amusing.

I think it's a good debut novel in that it has a well-paced and thought-out plot, interesting characters, and doesn't try too hard.

(I have dealt with Nikesh Shukla in the past in his role at BookTrust and have been intending to read Coconut Unlimited for some time.)
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A book that brings back loneliness of being a teenager & not knowing who you're supposed to be. The aching need to both assert your individuality and, at the same time, to belong.
The characters and events just rang so true. And the music references brought back all kinds of memories: the good, the bad and the excruciatingly embarrassing.
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This book was fine. Not having much access to the subculture it celebrates, I felt a litte anthropological reading it, but that's fine. Perfectly pleasant, even if the amount of action, character development, etc. was perhaps more suited to a long shor story than a 200 page novel.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
A pleasant book, easy to read, didnt tax the brain too much.
A nice story of growing up in Harrow, obsessed by hiphop and standing out as one of the few asian kids in the school.

I think Shukla hit all the right notes on cringeworthy teen behaviour, and styles, and obsessions.

Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
This is an account of an Indian Gujju kid growing up in English suburb. Story revolves around his ambition to start a band called 'Coconut Unlimited' and trials and tribulations around it.

I could finish this book only by sheer willpower not so much because the book hooked me.
Nov 23, 2012 marked it as gave-up-on
Maybe another day.
Jocelyn Gooch
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Easy read , imaginitive concept and good at engaging us in the protagonists issues but I felt poorly written and at times sorry , boring.
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
We could have been contendaz! Surprisingly effective blending of Nick Hornby/coming of age with teenage gangster rappers, with a very moving conclusion.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2016
2.5 stars. Charming but lacklustre.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, looking forward to the next one already!
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is just a lovely, lovely debut novel. There are some absolutely wonderful set pieces in it. Really gentle, not very much happened, but I loved reading it.
Sara Rubinstein
rated it liked it
Jun 13, 2014
rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jul 02, 2017
rated it liked it
Sep 07, 2017
rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2014
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Great memories of growing up in Harrow
rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2014
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“I was proud to be brown in my own way. Well, I was at school; at school I was brown about the funky stuff that came with being vegetarian, like being really arrogant about it, declaring proudly to a room full of beefeaters when Mad Cow disease initially broke that it was 'Vishnu's way of telling y'all to stop eating and start worshipping'.” 3 likes
“Ravi, you big massive racist. Rap is the music of revolution. Rap is the reason we have rights.” 2 likes
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