Thank you to HarperCollins for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Summary: Rahul is struggling because he wants to find something that he is great at but he falls short in everything that he tries. But in trying all of these things so many more issues are showing up that he doesn’t know how to deal with, such as his OCD, his sexuality, bullying, and racism. Much of the bullying that Rahul is facing at school is due to his perceived sexuality by one student, and because Rahul is Indian. Throughout the story, Rahul learns to embrace who he is despite what others may say and come to terms with all of the differences. Will Rahul be able to find something that he is great at? Will he overcome the bullying he faces at school? What will Rahul learn about himself through this whole process?
Thoughts: I loved the way that this story dealt with so many topics without it being overwhelming for the age group that it was intended for. I loved how each of the topics was addressed by Rahul’s friends and family and how intertwined his race was with these discussions. I really liked the characters that were included and how they each made Rahul’s differences stand out more than he liked. I thought that was a great way to show the reality of situations like Rahul’s for people his age.
I thought it was so great to read about how Rahul’s Indian background informed his thinking and the things that he did. This is the first book that I’ve read in which the main character is Indian and it was great that this was an #ownvoices book because it read really authentically. I enjoyed the relationship that Rahul had with his family, especially his grandfather, Bhai, and really appreciated that the relationships he had with his family’s friends were included.
While the book was written for ages 8-12 I think that up to ages 14 would enjoy this book as well as educators who would read with their classes. I think it is also a book that adults who read middle grade would enjoy because of the topics that it covers, it really opens up those discussions with younger audiences.
You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.