cover image While You Were Dreaming

While You Were Dreaming

Alisha Rai. Quill Tree, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06308-396-7

In this moving ode to comics culture, community care, and the joy of unexpected first love, a spirited nod to 1990s rom-com While You Were Sleeping, Indian American high schooler Sonia Patil has been keeping a low profile ever since her mother was deported for overstaying her medical visa. The fact that Sonia’s older sister Kareena’s status is undocumented puts added pressure on Sonia to avoid unwanted attention and stay under the radar to maintain their relative stability, especially since Kareena has been supporting them both following their mother’s deportation. Sonia’s superhero cosplaying provides an escape, but after she rescues her crush James Cooper, who is Black and Indian, from a tumble into a canal while she’s in costume, her heroic act goes viral. Suddenly, the world is on the hunt for Sonia’s alter ego, and her previously peaceful passion thrusts Sonia, Kareena, and the Cooper family into the social media spotlight. Sonia’s troubles and triumphs are richly drawn; through her struggles, Rai (Partners in Crime, for adults) intimately explores personal questions around body image, mental health, and toxic internet culture while interweaving thought-provoking interrogations of U.S. immigration and healthcare policies. Ages 13–up. (Mar.)