Jenna's Reviews > Vanished

Vanished by Sheela Chari
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Jun 11, 2011

really liked it

Vanished, by Sheela Chari is a fabulous mystery that grabs you from the first page. The story follows a sixth grade student Neela as she searches for her missing instrument, a veena. Neela had no idea that the instrument that she inherited from her grandmother was cursed. She also had no idea that brining her instrument to school one day would set in motion a chain of events where she would lose her instrument, investigate mysteries, make new friends,and travel half way around the world all in an attempt to discover the truth behind an ancient curse.

Chari's mystery had me from the opening lines. From there I was hooked on solving this mystery with Neela. The author keeps the mystery moving with clues and red herrings all throughout the story, giving just enough information to encourage the reader to reason it out themselves. In addition to the smartly plotted art mystery though, is a rare kind of hero in children's literature. The smart girl who isn't necessarily the most popular or gorgeous. In fact, Neela is an Indian American girl, who sometimes feels like she is is torn between her two cultures. It was great to read a story that gave a window in to a modern Indian family dealing with issues that were not related to stereotypes. Instead it was a regular family, dealing with life's events. This is a culture that is growning in United States and it is great to see that begining to be reflected in children's literature. I liked getting to know Neela, and I'd love to know more about her story. This author's debut is a must read for mystery lovers, and kids who love school stories.
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