Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

Remember the movie What a Girl Wants- with pre-crazy Amanda Bynes? I love that movie, and have watched more than I should probably admit (but c'mon...Colin Firth, people!)

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, by Varsha Vajaj, is a lot like that...only better (I think Mumbai is much more interesting than London...and more colorful...with better food).

Abby Spencer has always wanted to meet her father.  After thirteen years, she finds out he's actually a huge Bollywood actor!  Next thing she knows, she's on a plane to Mumbai and has to experience a whole new culture.  She experiences major culture clash: incredibly rich juxtaposed with extreme poverty, tandoori chicken pizza, and the whole Bollywood genre.  On top of all this, she's getting to know her father and has to keep it a secret.  Will Abby figure out where she belongs?

I'll be honest; I was a bit jealous of Abby and her adventures.  She was adorable, too!  She got me with her love of violin, and how she imagines a string quartet providing a soundtrack to her life.  Throughout the book, key scenes are accompanied by those violins, a viola, and a cello.  She is also sassy and funny.  From "accidentally" throwing the basketball at the mean girl's head instead of the hoop, to "Hicbucroak"ing on the plane, she's a girl teens will relate to.

It is interesting to see her journey, both cultural and familial.  It brings to light the poverty in the area, and it's a heartbreaking moment when she realizes that what she thought were sandbags are actually people.  The fact that she takes steps (baby steps, but steps nonetheless) toward helping some of the less fortunate is inspiring.  Maybe those who read the book will be prompted to help others in their areas. The meaningful relationships she develops convey to the reader the importance of family, and those who are like family.  Abby meets her father, but with him come his mother (Abby's Grandma Tara) and Shiva, his, like, right-hand man and Abby's confidante.  There's also some romance with a boy named Shaan.

This was an enjoyable read.  Like I said, Abby is funny and relatable- there's romance, adventure, drama (her Dad's a big Bollywood actor!)  There's also self-discovery, and realizing when to leave the past in the past and start fresh now, looking forward to the future.

Highly recommended for those Tween/Teen girls, those who like food (seriously!?! Chicken tikka pizza!?! Pooris, Tandoori Chicken...my stomach just growled again).  Also recommended for those who like travel, or may come from a family with separated parents.  Good for both YA and middle-grade.

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood is published by Albert Whitman & Company.  Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release Date: 03.01.2014

No comments:

Post a Comment