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Review: Monsoon Summer

Monsoon Summer
by Mitali Perkins
Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-73123-X

Somebody, please make a movie out of Mitali Perkins's  multicultural jewel of a novel—it's so much fun. Just when Jasmine Carol Gardner, age 15, is falling in love with Steve Morales, her best friend since kindergarten, Jasmine's do-gooder mother drags the whole family off to India for a summer of philanthropy. Definitely not what Jasmine, who co-owns a Berkeley business venture with Steve, has in mind.

We get to see India through Jasmine's eyes, and she's a funny, sensitive teenager. "This whole country needs a Rewind button," Jasmine observes as the traffic whizzes by. Jasmine's mom, born in India, wants to repay a debt to the orphanage where she lived until she was adopted by a couple in Berkeley, but Jasmine's Anglo dad is more reluctant to get involved—just like Jasmine. But it's monsoon season, and funny things have been known to happen during that time.

Mitali Perkins handles a big cast of characters with the aplomb of a Bollywood director; still, she keeps her narrator, Jasmine, first and foremost. Perkins's central question, "Can people change?" is answered with humor, vivid descriptions, and a real knack for a good story. The author does not shy away from presenting problems, but readers looking for an alternative to the more graphic teen fare will be happy. I'd recommend Monsoon Summer to advanced preteen readers and grown-ups, too.

According to the book jacket, Mitali Perkins is "dedicated to creating and encouraging fiction for young people caught between cultures"; her web site is www.mitaliperkins.com.


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Thanks for the review, Susan! I really like Mitali's blog and will check out the book.

P.S. There's another Kelly commenting at Chicken Spaghetti :)

Thanks so much, Susan. My friend Pooja Makhijani told me your review had been posted and sent me the link. I'm in the middle of a challenging revision and really needed this boost of confidence.



Mitali, you're welcome! I loved "Monsoon Summer," and especially enjoyed Jasmine, who made me laugh out loud several times. I think your novel would make a wonderful movie.

I look forward to catching up with your other work.

Thanks for the review, Susan. I added this one to my "to read" list.

Hi Susan,

Thanks for the feedback on my review. When I went to delete Monsoon Summer from my "to read" list (because I had finally read it), I was reminded that the original recommendation for the book came from you. Thanks!! I really enjoyed it.

I'm glad to hear how much you liked it, Jen!

so was Jazz ever shy around steve since she crushed on him?

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