What I Meant...
Lamba makes an impressive debut with this contemporary novel introducing Sangeet, a 15-year-old Indian American girl who at times feels like the whole world is against her. The trouble begins when Chachi, Sangeet’s widowed aunt from India, moves in with the family. When some items—food, money and some personal belongings—disappear from the house, it’s obvious to Sangeet that Chachi is the thief, but Sangeet’s parents blame their daughter. To make things worse, Sangeet’s best friend, Gina, is inexplicably angry with her. Then there’s the matter of Jason, Sangeet’s crush, who acts like he’s interested in her but stands her up after they plan to meet at the skating rink. The harder Sangeet works to prove her integrity and innocence, the less she is trusted. However frustrating her situation, misunderstandings do pave the way to some very funny moments. (At one point, Sangeet’s parents are mistakenly convinced that she has an eating disorder, because snacks are missing from the cabinet, and Sangeet is forced to visit a therapist—who happens to be the father of one of her close friends.) Given the book’s lighthearted tone, there will be little doubt that the wrongs Sangeet suffers will be righted, but dark undertones regarding the emotional instability of both Chachi and Gina could have been developed more fully. Ultimately, readers will find much to like in Lamba’s heroine, who ultimately survives a set of trials worthy of Job with grace and humor. Ages 10-up. (July)
Release date: 07/01/2007