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Review: Monsoon Summer (Mitali Perkins)

Title: Monsoon Summer
Author: Mitali Perkins
Genre: YA 
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 out of 5
Challenges: PoC, Shelves
FTC Disclosure: I bought this ebook for my iPad
Summary (I wrote this one): In Fifteen-year old Jazz Gardner leaves California for a life-changing summer in an Indian orphanage. She leaves behind her business and her best friend, Steve, whom she secretly likes. Will he find someone else while she is gone? Will Jazz find something else for herself while in India

Review: I love Mitali Perkins' books. Before this one I've read Bamboo People (one of my 2010 favorites) and The Secret Keeper so I was really looking forward to reading this one. While Bamboo People is still my favorite of hers, I did like this.

I have read mixed reviews of this book but to me, it hit the spot: relationships, travel, nice characters, and a good family. I really liked that Jasmine and her family got along, but not in a fake sugary way. They support one another, respect each other, and actually say what they are feeling and thinking. It's a nice break from all the YA books with non-existent or dysfunctional families. I also liked that Jasmine's family is so giving, to each other and to the wider world. They believe in volunteer work, giving of themselves, and helping those who have less than they do.

The relationship between Steve and Jasmine is also good and realistic. They have been best friends since they were little kids and have started a business together. They spend all their time together, but haven't gotten up the guts to take it any further even though Jasmine is definitely interested. It's refreshing to read a book with a male-female friendship that is so solid. I had that throughout school and really cherished my male friends (many of whom are still in my life 25 years later).

The third aspect that I enjoyed was Jasmine's coming into her own. It took a trip half way around the world for her to come into her own, but that's what travel can do for someone. You end up out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and try new things. We become less hesitant when we're away from home because we don't worry as much about what people will think of us.

I wish there had been a bit more sights and smells, more description of what Jasmine was seeing as she experienced India. But maybe that's because I am an adult. I don't know how teens feel about a lot description in books. I also think the book could have been a bit more deep and detail rich, but I definitely liked it and recommend it.
Geography Connection:

(photo credit for right photo)

Click to see my updated Google Map. India, one of my favorite locations for books. Here are some other books set in India or by Indian authors that I have read in 2011:


Athira said...

That saree picture just sent me back on memory lane! This book still sounds good even with those minor issues. I will have to read Secret Keeper some day (the only Mitali Perkins I have right now).

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--The further I get from the book the more I like it. I liked the saree photo too, the colors and patterns are so wonderful