Monsoon Summer Book Review
Jasmine Garder has a summer to remember in Mitali Perkins new novel, Monsoon Summer.
Author: Mitali Perkins
When you're a 15 year-old girl, life can be complicated and confusing, and for Jasmine (Jazz) Gardner, things are about to get even more hectic! After a year of taking Hindi lessons, practicing shot put and maintaining good grades, she has to pack up and leave the country. What she really wants to do is spend her summer running the postcard business she shares with her best friend (and secret crush), Steve. Read on to find out about Jazz's adventure!
When her parents decide to uproot the family from their Berkeley, California home and spend the summer in India, Jasmine is less than impressed. Her social activist mother wants to return to the orphanage that took care of her until she was adopted by an American couple. Her father, a computer programmer, and her bug-collecting, 10 year-old brother Eric are more than happy to go along for the ride.
Life in India
Upon arrival, Jazz feels out of place with her lighter coloring and bigger build and decides to attend school instead helping out at the orphanage. She becomes friends with three well-off Indian girls who are fascinated by American life and insist on taking her dancing (which she hates). Meanwhile, Eric becomes the orphanage soccer coach, their dad teaches the nuns how to use computers and her mom sets up a clinic for young women.
When orphan Danita, also 15, begins cooking for the Gardners to earn money, Jazz is guarded. However, as they spend more time together, their friendship grows. Jazz realizes that she should spend her days at the orphanage, helping Danita develop a business plan for her collection of handmade clothing and accessories. In return, Danita teaches Jazz Kathak, an Indian dance. When Danita is offered a marriage proposal from an older man who promises to take care of her and her sisters, Jazz puts her heart into the business so that Danita won't have to marry him. Will her business be a success, or will she accept the proposal?
The Bottom Line
This is a touching story which deals with issues important to young girls such as self esteem and the quest for identity. It also deals with more general themes like culture, honesty, conquering one's fears, and selflessness. As an added bonus, there's a bit of love story that blossoms between Jazz and her BFF Steve!
Monsoon Summer Rating: