- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (January 12, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553535048
- ISBN-13: 978-0553535044
A poignant and delightful story involving class, race, social customs, and a unique friendship that questions them all.
Though they’re divided by class, language, appearance—you name it—Chloe and Lakshmi have a lot in common. Both girls are new to Class Five at Premium Academy in New Delhi, India, and neither seems to fit in. But they soon discover how extraordinary an ordinary friendship can be and how celebrating our individuality can change the world.
Kate Darnton is a writer and book editor from Boston. She lived with her family in New Delhi for five years. They now live in Amsterdam.
This book appealed to me because the setting takes place in New Delhi, India. Chloe’s family has relocated from Boston and she has been enrolled in a private school called Premium Academy. She feels out of sorts, and is reluctant to make friends. She’s a bit of a rebel or “firecracker” and often finds herself in uncomfortable situations.
The author lived in New Delhi for five years so her descriptions of of the city were delightful. This is how she describes the time before the monsoon rains come:
Delhi heat is heavy and wet and there is no escaping it. It’s all around you, every day, pushing against your skin, into your lungs. It’s like living in a greenhouse with no walls.
Having experienced this myself I could really relate to what Chloe was feeling at the time. She’s morose, lonely and envious of the pretty Indian girls with their long, black, silky hair. Learning Hindi isn’t easy for her, not like her sister Anna, her complete opposite in character. Chloe tries to fit in with the most popular girl in school (whose father is extremely wealthy) and with time succeeds.
Then along comes Lakshmi, a new girl in school who doesn’t seem to have any friends. Lakshmi is different from the other girls and as their friendship grows, Chloe discovers in Lakshmi a resilience of character and loyalty that she doesn’t find with the other girls in school.
Although this story revolves around the two girls, the plot twists and turns and evolves into other issues that affect the daily life of people in the city. This was such a good book, I couldn’t put it down. It should be placed in all middle grade school libraries. I would love to see a sequel to this story!
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.