When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba's brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions.
Asha knows this is temporary--just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet's beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha's promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior. What follows is a firestorm of rebuke--and secrets revealed! Asha's only solace is her rooftop hideaway, where she pours her heart out in her diary, and where she begins a clandestine friendship with Jay Sen, the boy next door. Asha can hardly believe that she, and not Reet, is the object of Jay's attention. Then news arrives about Baba . . . and Asha must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
"In the mid-1970s, when her engineer father loses his job and leaves India to look for employment in America, 16-year old Asha; her 17-year old sister, Reet; and their mother move in with their uncle's family in Calcutta..... Well-developed characters, funny dialogue, and the authentic depiction of spunky Asha's longing for romance and female self-determination, set in a culture that restrains women's choices, make this book an attractive pick for teenage girls. In the end, a surprising sacrifice by Asha demonstrates her emotional maturity and her love for her sister. An author's note explains the turbulent times during Indira Gandhi's regime that influence the narrative." -- School Library Journal
|13 and up
|Jan 13, 2009
|Delacorte Books for Young Readers