cover image 30 Things I Love About Myself

30 Things I Love About Myself

Radhika Sanghani. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-33504-8

Sanghani’s sweet if unremarkable latest (after Not That Easy) opens with Nina Mistry at rock bottom, or so she thinks. It’s her 30th birthday, and she’s been arrested in her hometown of Leicester, England, after falling in with a group of demonstrators protesting the treatment of refugees while on her way to grab a bite to eat. In her cell, she contemplates how she’s “failing at a lot of big life things.” But the universe (by way of a helpful detective) provides her with the book How to Love Yourself (and Fix Your Shitty Life in the Process), which Nina takes from the jail and uses as a guide for her “spiritual journey.” Over the next year, she upends her relationships with her clinically depressed brother and overbearing mother, the latter of whom constantly reminds her she’s a disappointment to the Indian community. She explores astrology, meditation, and tantric sex, and there’s even a naked reciting of Maya Angelou’s work. Things go sideways when her article “Yoga isn’t for white people” (retitled by an editor) goes viral, bringing on attacks from trolls and accusations of racism. While some of the dialogue is flat and the arc is a bit predictable, the characters are charming and heartfelt. It’s modest but effective. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Ltd. (Jan.)