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Jazz in Love Kindle Edition
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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Jasbir Dhatt, also known as Jazz, is a lot like I was back then, except maybe she's smarter. She's always been the good girl, with good friends and good reputation, at least until her parents decided that it's time for her to go through a guided dating program after her mother hears she hugged a boy. Before Jazz knows it, her mom presents a set of pictures of boys she could pick from to date, but Jazz doesn't want to. She wants to fall in love the normal way -- preferably with the new hottie in school, Tyler R. Jazz's choices clash with her culture and her family, making her life spin totally out of control, leaving her wondering if she could still have what she wants without losing everything that she had grown up with.
Jazz in Love is refreshing. It's contemporary YA with color, and lots of it. I loved how easy it is to relate to Jazz even if we're different in terms of culture and religion. Even so, Jazz still had the same concerns as every teenager does. This is what really made this novel stand out for me. I haven't really read many novels that feature Persons of Color so I'm not an expert, but being Asian (Filipino), the cultural references isn't really new to me, despite not really sharing the same culture with Jazz. I guess it's because I read a lot of Filipino fiction, and I know that our culture is already different from Western ones, so reading this felt just like reading an ordinary contemporary YA book. What I really liked, though, is how Jazz in Love opened my eyes to Jazz's world without the oppression from another race that makes her and her friends a minority. Jazz has found her place where she lives, and sometimes I even forget that she's Indian because she isn't out of place. This just goes to show that you don't need to put in violence or oppression to make a point about other cultures in novels set in Western countries. See -- even seemingly fluffy sounding novels can tackle serious topics! :)
I think the best part of this is Jazz. Because she is Jazz and never for a moment in the novel that I thought of her as someone else. Her voice rang clear and true all throughout. She made bad decisions, she got into trouble, she "fell in love", but she was always herself. It was hard to see her get in trouble because I know that she had the best intentions for other people, despite some of her selfish intentions, but still, you have to love a girl who just wanted to find out how it feels to fall in love without having someone choose who to love for you. Jazz's overall situation resonates with a lot of teens -- the search for identity outside of what your parents ideals of you, outside of your culture, and the search for that kind of love that makes your insides quiver then realizing that maybe that isn't what you wanted in the end. She put it quite well herself:
"Was I too busy looking for the giant, all consuming love I'd read about; the one that woke sleeping beauties out of eternal sleep and whisked lovely maidens away from their wicked stepmothers, transforming them into princesses in glittering ball gowns? A love that sent my heart racing, made my tongue go numb that made an FSL -- Future Star and Leader -- student like me do stupid things despite knowing better?...What if Love wasn't all that? What if it was quieter, like a whisper on a breeze that you had to listen real hard for? Or smaller, like a cardamom seed that's soothing and pungent and explosive all at once?"
Truth be told, I don't think I'd have the same realization at her age. Heh. And true to the real world, the novel didn't offer an easy way out or a clean ending, and those are the endings I like best. :) As a whole, though, Jazz in Love is a very good read not just about love but identity and growing up. If you're like me who's a lot like Jazz when you were younger, then you'll probably enjoy this too. :)
The cultural pressures Jazz felt were portrayed very realistically. I’m fairly conservative and found myself able to relate to both Jazz and her parents. I understood Jazz’s desire to follow her heart and fit in. I could also see her parent’s logic behind their ultra strict views and desire to remain true to their heritage. There was no middle ground to meet on for Jazz or her parents which lead to conflict. I think this would be a good book for ultra strict parents to read to try to understand the feelings and pressures of living with strict rules.
I enjoyed the supporting characters in this book nearly as much as the main ones.
As seems to be the case with nearly every YA book I’ve read recently there was some language. Also a character who comes out which I freely admit is not my favorite subject to read about. This book works as a stand alone but could very easily have a sequel.
Content: Some language
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Book Tour via The Teen Book Scene
Jazz, or Jasbir, is one of those characters that is so easy to relate to. Growing up in a very strict Punjabi family means Jazz isn't allowed to hug a boy in public, much less actually be attracted to one. Her future husband, because that's what she should be looking for, needs to meet all the requirements that her mom sets forth in the "Guided Dating Plan". After all, Jazz needs to have the structured life that her family sets forth. Right? Not according to Jazz. With heaping helping of wise-cracking and lots of sneaking around, Jazz is determined to live her own life. When Jazz sets her sights on the very UNsuitable hottie, I think that was my favorite part! Watching her grow and change was fabulous.
There are a lot of underlying messages in this story. Of course on the surface we watch Jazz as she learns to deal with (and bend) her parents very strict rules. She tackles figuring out what parts of what they say she should follow, and which parts she needs to forge her own opinion on. However there is also commentary on friendship here, as well as that battle that all adolescents fight: what is love? Jazz goes through what every teen girl or boy has at some point. An endless crush that seems like the real thing, but is it?
Honestly I loved every single part of Jazz In Love! I wish I could share more, but I failed to write my review right after I read the book and that book is on a tour. Yes my friends, I'm going off of pure memory right here. I can tell you that watching Jazz navigate her love life, her home life, and just the pitfalls of being a teenager was so much fun! I found myself completely in love with all the characters and their lives. This is one of those books that is so much fun to read that you'll breeze right through it! Quick, refreshingly sweet and amazing. Enjoy!