cover image Rani Patel in Full Effect

Rani Patel in Full Effect

Sonia Patel. Cinco Puntos (Consortium, dist.), $11.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 97

Rani Patel, a Gujarati Indian teenager working in her family’s restaurant and convenience store on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i, has been sexually abused by her father, something the 16-year-old has kept secret from her overworked and withdrawn mother. With her father’s new girlfriend in the picture, Rani struggles with her identity, shaving her head and flirting with the much older Mark, despite warnings from her friend Omar and crush Pono. Invited to perform for an underground rap group, Rani finds validation through her alter ego, MC Sutra, as she becomes the first female rapper on the island. Meanwhile, she and her mother search for the strength to reject the harmful men in their lives and form a stronger bond between themselves. Patel sets her powerful debut novel in 1991, filling it with bygone rap references and an electric verbal blend of Gujarati, slang, Hawaiian pidgin, and the rhymes Rani crafts. Patel compassionately portrays Rani’s entangled emotions, lack of self-confidence, and burgeoning sense of empowerment as she moves forward from trauma. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)