After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia’s mixed heritage makes her classmates ask questions—questions Sonia doesn’t always know how to answer—as she navigates between a group of popular girls who want her to try out for the cheerleading squad and other students who aren’t part of the “in” crowd.
At the same time that Sonia is trying to make new friends, she’s dealing with what it means to have an out-of-work parent—it’s hard for her family to adjust to their changed circumstances. And then, one day, Sonia’s father goes missing. Now Sonia wonders if she ever really knew him. As she begins to look for answers, she must decide what really matters and who her true friends are—and whether her two halves, no matter how different, can make her a whole.
I didn’t know that this book was a middle grade book until I was reading and it mentioned that Sonia (the main character) was finishing up her fifth grade school year. So she’s finishing up her last year of elementary school and she finds out that her father lost his job and they’re going to be cutting back, financially. That means that Sonia and her younger sister will not be attending their private school next semester, but attending the public school instead.
This isn’t one of those contemporary YA books where there’s a love interest and the story is focused on their blossoming crushes on each other. This book is about the changes in a young girl’s life and how she decides to adapt to this new life of hers. I thought the author did a pretty fabulous job of keeping the story at the age group of the main character. The conflicts in this story are centered around Sonia and they’re written in a way that speaks to middle grade aged kids and I really appreciated her efforts in keeping the story authentic.
My heart went out to Sonia and her family because when her father sinks into a depression, you can see the effects this takes on the entire family. I came to love Sonia as if she was my very own daughter through out this book and my heart hurt for everything she dealt with in this book. From her father losing his job to the new school to the mean girls, all of it made me want to tuck Sonia close and protect her from everything. Her confusion was felt by me and watching everything go down brought me a lot closer to Sonia’s character than I remember being to any of the other characters that I’ve read in the last few months.
I appreciated this story because seeing Sonia deal with the different changes in her life was interesting. I’ve never had to deal with the things that Sonia did, not in the same way anyway and it was just really interesting to see it all go down in this book because for those few hours, I wasn’t in my world but in Sonia’s and I felt what it was like to be in her shoes and there were times when it was frustrating and times when I wanted to smack a monkey but through it all, I enjoyed getting to know Sonia.
I recommend this book to fans of contemporary YA books that deal with issues because this isn’t one of those fun and fluffy stories. It deals with real life issues and it puts you right smack dab in the middle of it all and I enjoyed the story as a whole.
..and that’s your scoop!
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