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Dimple is thrilled and surprised when her parents agree to let her go to Insomnia Con, a summer coding and web developing program at SFSU. It will beDimple is thrilled and surprised when her parents agree to let her go to Insomnia Con, a summer coding and web developing program at SFSU. It will be an amazing boost to her career prospects and the prize involves working with her idol, web developer Jenny Lindt to develop a real app. Of course she doesn't know that there is a catch. Her parents are hoping to set her up with Rishi Patel, the son of their friends. Rishi thinks that Dimple knows about him and their parents' hope for an arranged marriage between the two of them down the road. So he shows up at camp and introduces himself by saying "Hello, future wife!" which of course doesn't go very well. Dimple is beyond annoyed with her family. She'd hoped they'd support her education and career goals instead of just wanting her to get married. After all, she just graduated from high school!
Rishi has a completely different view of things. He is a dutiful son who wants to please his parents (the polar opposite of his rebellious younger brother) so he agrees to go to Insomnia Con, thinking that Dimple also agreed to their being set up. Unfortunately that is not the case but Rishi is determined to stay on at Insomnia Con and help Dimple win the contest. He may be a dreamer with a different view of arranged marriage (his own parents' arranged marriage story was very romantic which influences his views), but Rishi is a decent guy. As he and Dimple are forced to spend time together as project teammates, they start to become friends and perhaps something more.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. It isn't the first book about arranged marriage I've read but this one took a different turn which I liked a lot. Dimple and Rishi are really young still and I really liked Dimple and definitely related to her view of things. She and Rishi do make a good couple but I liked that their relationship developed more organically.
Having grown up in a family that tried to push me several times into arranged marriages, I could appreciate Dimple's frustration (although my parents value education more and waited a few years longer than Dimple's did). Thankfully Dimple's parents aren't portrayed as ogres.They do love their daughter even if they were misguided and they support her career aspirations (though her mom is still pretty old fashioned about it).
Aside from the romance, the book also involves friendship, nerd culture and family relationships. Both Rishi and Dimple have to figure out how to bridge the gap between their parents' dreams and expectations for them and their own dreams and plans. Dimple is really smart and she knows what she wants to do with her life but she wants her parents to believe in her too. Rishi has to decide if he wants to go into the family business or follow a more impractical career path but do something he truly loves.
Overall I thought this was a fun and enjoyable book. At times I was reminded of the movie Bend it Like Beckham. I would have loved this book as a teen (I grew up during a time when people like me weren't represented in teen literature at all). Even though it is a book about two Indian teens I think it has some themes that would appeal to teens universally. It is challenging to break away from your parents' dreams for you to follow your own and figure out what you want in life. ...more
This creative retelling of Beauty and the Beast incorporates other folktales like that of the firebird and the setting is an alternate fantasy versionThis creative retelling of Beauty and the Beast incorporates other folktales like that of the firebird and the setting is an alternate fantasy version of Russia. It features a heroine that is skilled in hunting and prefers spending time outdoors rather than life at court. Yeva doesn't fit in at court though she has captured the eye of Solmir, a future baron. Her oldest sister is engaged but her middle sister is in love with Solmir herself though she knows her injured foot will likely not lead to any suitors offering for her hand. Their father had given up the life of a hunter that he loved for the sake of their mother and instead he became a successful merchant. Unfortunately disaster happens when their caravans are attacked and they lose everything. While her father heads back to the woods to make money by trapping and hunting, Yeva looks after her sisters but when he fails to return one day, she decides to go after him.
The Beast is interested in Yeva because he sees her gifts in hunting as his ticket to freedom. He takes her prisoner and forces her to practice her hunting skills. She hates him and secretly plans to kill him when given the chance. Gradually she realizes that he is under an enchantment and cannot tell her why he needs her skills or what he needs her to hunt. All Yeva cares about is getting back to her family but as she explores the castle she starts to see that there is more to her situation and more to the Beast than she previously thought.
The romance is very gradual because of some major obstacles and the fact that Yeva understandably hates the Beast for much of the book. He is initially more beast than man but as they spend time together he starts to become more humanized. There are no enchanted singing tea pots, etc. like in the Disney version though the Beast has some magical abilities from the curse.
The different take on a familiar fairy tale is interesting. The romance was not very heavy which is good. Yeva doesn't immediately fall in love with the Beast which makes complete sense under the circumstances. I liked Yeva and her strength and determination to survive and get back to her sisters. She is devoted to them and they are devoted to her as well. I also liked how both Yeva and the Beast had to learn some important lessons about themselves. In the Disney version, Belle is pretty much perfect as is and it is only the Beast that needs to make changes in his life. There are some other differences I appreciated as well. Overall I enjoyed this retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I think fans of fairy tales retold would like it too....more
I am a fan of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (though I've also watched the later films) and I've enjoyed some of the other YA3.5 to 4 stars
I am a fan of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (though I've also watched the later films) and I've enjoyed some of the other YA pirate fiction I've read so I was eager to give this a try and it didn't disappoint.
Alosa is the daughter of the self proclaimed "pirate king" but she is a pirate in her own right with her own ship and a nearly all-female crew of trusted friends. When her dad gives her the task of infiltrating a rival pirate's ship to get a piece of a treasure map, she lets herself get caught so she can find the map. She figures it will be an easy task though she has to hide her real skills from her captors. What she wasn't planning on is Riden, the first mate and loyal younger brother of the captain, who suspects she is up to something.
Alosa is intelligent and brave and a good leader. She is also perhaps a little too loyal to her father who doesn't sound like the greatest dad. Alosa is a confident and skilled pirate but she struggles with her heritage and she wants to prove herself to her dad. Riden is also a capable but unusually kind pirate (he doesn't enjoy killing) and more than a match for Alosa's antics. I liked the development of their relationship as the story progressed. The secondary characters are also interesting though I wanted to know more about Alosa's crew than the glimpses that we got. I think that will change in the second book.
Daughter of the Pirate King is a fun historical fantasy/adventure novel on the high seas. I think fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and pirate fiction would enjoy this. It is a page turner with humor, romance, a little bit of fantasy and some unexpected twists. I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel....more
Abby has had a difficult year in the wake of her parents' divorce. Her dad fell apart and the burden of taking care of him and the house fell to her.Abby has had a difficult year in the wake of her parents' divorce. Her dad fell apart and the burden of taking care of him and the house fell to her. It's also been tough because her best friend Riya moved to Germany and they got into a major fight. Now she is in Europe on a trip with Riya (paid for by Riya's wealthy grandmother) where they hopefully will mend their broken relationship. When Abby first sees Riya again she realizes how much Riya has changed. She dresses like a sophisticated European and Riya is also keeping a big secret from Abby that could destroy their friendship for good.
Riya comes across as flighty and irresponsible and a little spoiled at times. She does care a lot about Abby and wants to be a good friend but she definitely has some growing up to do. I think Abby is more mature in a way because of what she's been through with her family. Riya seems like a younger, boy crazy idealistic dreamer in comparison. Of course Abby also likes their small town and doesn't want things to change while Riya is growing away from that and wants to see and experience the world. For Abby, their small hometown represents stability and for Riya she feels it is holding her back. She doesn't want to have the same exact life that everyone else is living. I think this is something teens can easily relate to as they prepare to graduate and possibly leave home for college or career. It is a time when friendships change and people sometimes do grow apart because they want different things.
Abby and Riya are not alone on their trip as they are chaperoned by Riya's older cousin Neel who is in college. Neel is British and can be a stick in the mud in Riya's view but he and Abby get along really well (cue the romantic sparks). Abby is really into history and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, something she and Neel have in common. As someone who has loved history since I was a kid, I liked how Abby kind of geeked out on it. I love reading books about travel (especially set in Europe) so that appealed to me about this book and I enjoyed reading about the different places they visited.
While there is some romance the book really does focus on the friendship of Abby and Riya which I appreciated. The resolution of that part of the story felt realistic. I also liked how supportive Riya's parents and grandmother and Abby's dad are. It is nice to see positive portrayals of adults in teen fiction. I mostly enjoyed this novel, especially the travel aspect and the growth of the protagonists. It would be a great book to pack in your beach bag this summer....more
The Sun is Also a Star has been compared to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and while there are some similarities and they are both excellent booThe Sun is Also a Star has been compared to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and while there are some similarities and they are both excellent books, I think this book is not quite as dark as that one which dealt with abuse.
Natasha meets Daniel on the worst day of her life--her last day in America. Her family are undocumented immigrants and thanks to her dad's bad decisions, they are being deported. Natasha was just a child when she arrived in the U.S. To her it is home more than Jamaica and she is feeling fear and worry about going back to a place that feels like a stranger. She also has to give up her college dreams to study science and become a data scientist.
Daniel is on his way to an interview with a Yale alumnus to help him with the college application process. His future is laid out before him: Yale, medical school, becoming a doctor, marrying an appropriate Korean girl. His brother was on the path but screwed up by getting sent home from Harvard. Now his parents are putting the pressure on him instead. Daniel isn't sure what he wants to do with his life but he doesn't think it involves being a doctor. He loves writing poetry but his dad doesn't approve.
When Daniel first sees Natasha on the street, he is fascinated by this pretty girl who is so into her music. Natasha finds Daniel attractive but in spite of his friendliness and attempts at flirtation, she doesn't want to give him false hope since she is leaving. She is too busy trying to find a last minute miracle to stay. Daniel however is convinced they are meant to be.
The Sun is Also a Star is about falling in love but it is also about having dreams and what happens when those dreams may not become a reality. The book looks at heavy issues like illegal immigration and parental pressure to succeed. It may seem like Natasha and Daniel may not have anything in common but they do--they are both the product of immigrant parents and both families have dreams of making it in America. In Daniel's case, his parents expect him and his brother to have amazing lives and accomplish more than they were able to. Coming to America meant giving their kids a brighter future. For Natasha's parents, her mom dreams of a bigger home with actual bedrooms for her kids. Her father wants to make it as an actor, the reason he is in the States in the first place. While they love their children, the kids' dreams seem to be secondary to survival and in their dad's case, he doesn't seem to notice them much anymore in the face of his own disappointments.
The story is told through the viewpoints of Natasha and Daniel but in between chapters we also get the perspective of Natasha's dad, Charlie's mean older brother and various other characters. This helps to round out the characters and the narrative. Both science and poetry are woven throughout the story, matching the viewpoints of Natasha and Daniel.
When I finished this novel, I could see why it received so much praise. It is certainly worthy of it and to be honest, I liked it much more than Yoon's debut, Everything, Everything. It made me think and I cared about the characters and their situation. While Everything, Everything has been made into a movie I hope this one will be too. It is almost like Serendipity (the romantic comedy film) meets Eleanor & Park. If I had read this last year, it would have made my list of 2016 favorites but I am sure it will be making my list of favorites this year....more