Red, White, and Whole — Review

Thought for the Day:

“You always think, ‘Oh, if only I had a little chalet in the mountains! How great that would be and I’d do all this writing’ Except, no, I wouldn’t. I’d do the same amount of writing I do now and the rest of the time I’d go stir crazy. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment you’ll never write a thing because it will never arrive. I have no routine. I have no foolproof anything. There’s nothing foolproof.”
~ Margaret Atwood ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Want to bring your characters to life? Of course, you do. Barbara Linn Probst has a great post HERE at Writer’s in the Storm that will bring that life to your characters.

Ryan G. Van Cleave wrote an excellent article for Writer Magazine HERE that will give you 4 Ways to Instantly Tighten Your Fiction.

We all know our characters have to have problems and face danger, or we won’t have much of a story. HERE Janice Hardy at Fiction University has a great post with 4 Ways to Create Emotional Peril in Your Characters.

Wimbledon has been AMAZING this week, and we have another week to go. I am particularly enjoying watching Coco Gauff. She is only 17, and has such confidence and calm on the court! I think she could well be a super star for years to come. The meds have finally started to kick in, and I am having some relief from my back pain. It’s nice to be on the mend. As promised last week, I have the rest of Winston Churchill’s paraprosdokians for you this week. Enjoy!

  1. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  2. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  3. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  4. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  5. There’s a fine line between cuddling and…holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  6. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  7. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  8. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  9. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  10. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  11. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  12. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.

I have been fortunate enough to win some books recently on blogs I visit regularly. I met Darlene Beck-Jacobson at a writer’s retreat I went to a few years ago, and now I follow her blog. She often has reviews and interviews and giveaways on her blog, which you can see HERE, and it is all about middle-grade and picture books. Check it out. I was fortunate enough to win a copy of RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE by Rajani LaRocca on Darlene’s blog, and that is a book I want to tell you about today.

Reha is 13 years old and struggling to fit in. Her parents sacrifice a lot to be sure she is in the best school they can afford, but it also means she is the only Indian American person there. Her parents came to America when they married, and Reha is their only child. She is expected to get straight A’s in school and stay true to her Indian culture. Her parents do expect a lot from her, but they really love her and she knows that. Sometimes it makes her crazy, but it is also a comfort. On weekends, the family spends a lot of time with other Indian friends and family. It is almost like Reha lives in two worlds. At school, she is shy and quiet and doesn’t have a lot of friends, but she does have Rachel, who is also quiet and studious and a very good friend to Reha. And then there is Pete. He is her partner in English class, so she has to talk to him. And, as time goes on, she realizes she like likes him. Rachel convinces Reha she should go to the school dance. Reha wants to, but she knows her parents will probably not approve, and, horror of horrors, if she is allowed to go, she is sure her mother will want to make a dress for her. Reha wants to dress like the other kids, and a homemade dress by her mother isn’t going to cut it. When Reha finally asks her parents, her father is fine with it, but her mother is dead set against it. It becomes a real struggle between them, causing a rift that Reha thinks might not heal. But when Amma gets sick, Reha finds a new perspective. She also finds some real friends.

Rajani LaRocca

Rajani LaRocca has written a stunning book in lovely, lyrical verse, and while it can be a fairly quick read, you might want to slow down and savor the beauty of it. It is clearly a book that is very personal to the author. The characters are well-rounded and believable. The story is powerful and compelling, and we see real growth in the character of Reha. Keep some tissues handy. This is a book that will give readers a glimpse into the Indian-American experience, and yet will be relatable as well as eye-opening to all middle-grade readers. It deserves to be widely read, and those beyond middle-grade will enjoy it as well.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

20 thoughts on “Red, White, and Whole — Review”

  1. I loved Rajani’s book (as well as her other MG novels), too! She’s a great writer who doesn’t skirt topical issues that her audience will find relatable. I also recommend MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a great book for children of immigrants from anywhere to read — they all deal with the “two worlds” experience. My nieces and nephews whose parents were from India grew up in a two-world environment. It can be challenging, but also gives them wonderful skills for moving in a large world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this when I read it. I know what it is like to deal with two worlds, though mine experience isn’t as interesting as Reha’s is. And thanks for recommending Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog, I’m definitely going to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like an excellent story! I’ve heard tons of praise for this book (and LaRocca’s other books), but I appreciate getting to see a thorough review of it and what it is about. The quote you’ve posted is very wise, and I love the meme as well! And the paraprosdokians are great as well—I love 15, 18, and 21! I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying Wimbledon and that your back is feeling better. Thanks so much for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am always drawn to stories about Indian families, because our son is from India. This one sounds like a real joy to read and addresses so many cultural issues. Such a tender time for a 13-year-old, especially when you live in two worlds at the same time. I really enjoyed your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoy stories with family drama especially from a different culture. The characters in this one are strong and the plot shines. I have this high on my list to read. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.
    Great links and I gained a little something out of each one. Glad your back is better!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a lot of homemade clothes, but so did my friends, so I guess I didn’t think too much about it. I guess I’m lucky that way. It’s a great book. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s