From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-As India stands on the brink of partition, three young people's lives become increasingly entangled with the upheaval and violence that surround them: Margaret, a British cartographer's daughter; Tariq, a Muslim teenager employed in Margaret's household who dreams of studying at Oxford; and Anupreet, a young Sikh girl also employed by Margaret's family. Although initially resistant to living in India, Margaret is soon enraptured with the culture. Tariq captures the interest of both Margaret and Anupreet, even though a relationship with him would be disastrous for either girl. He is pressed to join his family in what will become Pakistan, and although Margaret's father discourages him, he is convinced that an Oxford education would be the best for his future. There are multiple narrators, but each character's story is defined and intertwines with the others' seamlessly. Historical background of postcolonial India is neatly inserted within the narrative, and market and street scenes teem with everyday life. The awkwardness the protagonists feel about interacting with one another is honestly and realistically drawn. Characters are fully fleshed out and are sympathetic in their struggles to find themselves within the new India. Back matter includes a glossary and an author's note detailing Bradbury's personal connection to India and a brief overview of the partition. As clashes continue between and within India and Pakistan, this title fills an important niche in YA historical fiction.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Set in India in 1947 on the eve of the partition that will create the country of Pakistan, this novel charts the interconnected lives of three teenagers. British Margaret is the daughter of a cartographer who is drawing up the boundaries of the new country; Tariq is a Muslim who is employed as the cartographer’s secretary; and Anupreet, a Sikh, works as a maid for Margaret’s family. Tariq is determined to become a student at Oxford. Anupreet is simply trying to survive in a dangerous time, when Muslims and Sikhs are in an undeclared war with each other. And Margaret, who has left behind a small-scale scandal in England, is beginning to adopt Indian ways, much to her mother’s horror. Bradbury’s story, told from the alternating points of view of the three teens, does an excellent job of creating a setting that is at once vivid and dangerous. The ending is both abrupt and improbable, but the three characters invite sympathy and will hold readers’ attention to the last page. An excellent book for classroom use. Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart