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Neela: Victory Song (Girls of Many Lands) Paperback – September 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Series: Girls of Many Lands
  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: American Girl; 1St Edition edition (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584855215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584855217
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Neela, 12, lives in India, where 200 years of British rule has turned sour. When she befriends an underground freedom fighter, Samar, her interest in India's struggle begins to consume her every thought. Her father has joined Mohandas Gandhi's peaceful "civil disobedience" movement, and she becomes determined to help him and Samar fight for her country's freedom. Meanwhile, her mother has brought her news of an offer of marriage, a lucky catch as the boy is from a wealthy and cultured family. Refusing to rush into an engagement, she steals away from home, disguised as a boy, and heads for Calcutta. Neela has several adventures and close calls, but she finds both men and is instrumental in getting them safely home. A strong female protagonist and historical subject matter are limited by a predictable plot. A hinted-at romance between Samar and Neela never emerges and the drama of the country's political tension is watered-down by far-fetched heroics. For a title that focuses on the mystical and exotic flavor of India, lead readers to Suzanne Fisher Staples's Shiva's Fire (Farrar, 2000).
Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Divakaruni is best known for her poetry and short stories for adults, including her acclaimed fiction collection Arranged Marriages (1995). Her first offering for young readers, part of the Girls of Many Lands series, is a fast, nail-biting adventure set during India's fight for independence. Twelve-year-old Neela is exhilarated when her sister's wedding is interrupted by a band of rough freedom fighters asking for money and food. Neela is swept up by the patriotic excitement, and later, against her mother's protests, she helps to harbor Samar, a wounded fighter. When her father never returns from a protest march, Neela travels alone to Calcutta to find him, and with the help of Samar and his wealthy cousin, hatches a brazen rescue plan. Passages explaining the necessary historical and cultural background are admirably clear but not always well blended into the narrative, and some of the characters and the story's overt messages lack subtlety. But Divakaruni turns a rare subject in children's literature into a well-paced, gripping story that captures universal emotions as well as the complexity of Neela's choices and her anger as she begins to see the facts of colonialism. The precise, vibrant details of time and place (Divakaruni was raised in Calcutta) will put readers next to Neela on the terrifying train rides, the hot, crowded streets and, finally, in the arms of her parents. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's acclaimed novels for adults include the bestselling The Mistress of Spices, soon to be a motion picture. Her previous book for young readers, The Conch Bearer, was a Booklist Editors' Choice, Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and is a 2005 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee. She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and lives with her husband and two sons in Sugarland, Texas.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Goodfellow on April 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent! Neela, who is adventurous and brave (something very important in a good heroine), takes a dangerous trip to try to save her father with the aid of an intriguing freedom fighter during the era of protest over British rule. Every girl I have recommended this title to loved it, and I can't see why anyone would think this book is just "about a girl who doesn't want to get married" (like my fellow reviewer). I recommend it without reserve. It is an exciting story, that will interest the reader in Indian culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lali on June 17, 2004
Format: School & Library Binding
Neela is a twelve-year-old girl, she is brave, smart and intelligent. She lives in India with her mother, father, and her sister who is getting married. Neela is worried about India's freedom. Her father left to go fight for Mother India's freedom. Now Neela is stuck with her mother who is trying to find a husband for her, but Neela has other things on her mind than marriage. Three weeks go by, and now Neela is very worried about her father, who was supposed to come back two weeks ago.
Is her father still alive? Will he come back soon? Find out!
*Lali*
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2004
Format: School & Library Binding
Neela is truly an inspiration to me in this book. I loved how she went to extreme lengths to rescue her father. I am also indian and feel for my parents the way she did for hers. I learned about one of the most important times in India's history in this book and it made me realize how lucky I am to live in America where there is freedom. I am also thankful to be a girl in this day and age where girls can do anything they please. I really felt bad for Neela's lack of opportunities but despite that she still got through all her obstacles. This is truly a great book!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Neela Victory Song Pleasant Company, ©2002,pp.193,$7.95
Chitra Banerjee Divaongkaruni 1-58485-521-5
This book is about a girl that hears about India's fight for freedom and how the girl deals with almost losing her father because he wanted to help India fight for freedom. The girl runs away from home so she can try to help her father. This is a historical fiction.
I liked this book because it has you in suspense the entire time. I could not put the book down it was so good. On a scale from one to ten I would give this book a ten because it is exciting and fun. With every turn of the page I got more excited. This book is full of action. I would say if you like action and suspense this is the book for you!
Brittany L, Grade 6
Bales Intermediate, Friendswood, Texas
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen K. Hart VINE VOICE on January 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book contains quite a bit of information about the politics of India at a very tumultuous time; the information is presented in a way to make it extremely accessible to young women, which is an impressive feat. It seems to me like a lot of the Pleasant Company's main characters are somewhat rebellious, which makes them more attractive to a modern audience but also probably makes them less realistic. However, supporting characters, like Neela's sister in this book, let us view what more traditional young women would be doing as the action (in this case, Neela risking everything familiar to save her family and help her country) took place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Neela is a young ,12 year old girl who lives in India.While her older sister is getting married,the struggle for India's independence from England rages all around her world.When a band of men who support the revolution barge into the wedding asking for support,money,and food,Neela and her father are inspirered.But when her father gets captured at a peace rally,it's up to Neela to rescue him.This a great book about a brave young girl,the love she shows for her father,and India in the year of 1939. I truly recommend this book and all the other books in the Girls Of Many Lands series
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on February 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
The year is 1939. Twelve-year-old Neela Sen wants nothing more than to please her mother after her fifteen-year-old sister, Usha, is married and moves away, but from the night of the wedding, the only thing she appears to be able to do is disappoint. Neela wants to obey her parents, but it is hard for her to think about settling down and getting married, when the only thing she wants to do is climb trees, play with her cow, Budhi, and learn everything she possibly can. And getting married will compromise all of that for her. However, when Freedom Fighters arrive at Usha's wedding, demanding that everyone donate a piece of jewelry, and hand over some money to support the cause to free India from Britain's rule, Neela begins to look further into the problems facing her beloved country. The problems that will certainly affect her in the future, even if they are not directly affecting her now. But then Neela realizes that she is being affected by India's fight for independence. For, soon after Usha's wedding, her father reveals that he will be going to Calcutta to march, and learn more about the problems affecting the world around them. Neela knows that her father will be fine, as he is a strong, kind man. But when he doesn't return home after one week, when he is expected, she begins to worry. She just knows that something horrible has happened to him, and decides to do the unthinkable...run away from home, leaving her mother to fend for herself, to search Calcutta for her beloved family member.Read more ›
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