After Dad loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni has to move from private to public middle school, and it is not easy for her to fit in, especially because Dad is Hindi and Mom is Jewish American. Sonia sometimes feels “too dark to be white, too light to be black.” Why is Kate, the star of the cool white crowd, so nice to Sonia, even taking her shopping and getting her on the cheerleading team? Should Sonia sit with Alisha and the black crowd in the lunchroom? There is also conflict at home: Mom hates cheerleading, shopping, reality TV, and junk food; Sonia hates Mom’s tofu-heavy cooking. To her shame, Sonia denies her Jewish roots. Then Dad gets depressed and things become much worse. Told in Sonia’s wry present-tense voice, the mixed-race-family identity conflicts, as well as the universal contemporary drama of trying to act cool––and decent—will easily pull readers through this debut novel. Grades 4-6. --Hazel Rochman
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2011:
"In Hiranandani’s debut novel, Sonia’s struggles are painfully realistic, as she wrestles with how to identify herself, how to cope with her family’s problems, and how to fit in without losing herself. True to life, her problems do not wrap up neatly, but Sonia’s growth is deeply rewarding in this thoughtful and beautifully wrought novel."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Four decades separate Sonia Nadhamuni and Judy Blume’s Margaret Simon, but these feisty, funny offspring of Jewish interfaith marriages are sisters under the skin. Like Blume, Hiranandani resists simplistic, tidy solutions. Each excels in charting the fluctuating discomfort zones of adolescent identity with affectionate humor."