#DesiRepDiscussions – Why Is Desi Rep Important? 

Desi Rep Discussions

Hey guys!

Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.

Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.

The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.

I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

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Why Is Desi Rep Important?

– Mith

Earlier this year, I had this idea for a contemporary young adult novel. I wanted there to be a ball. I wanted the main character, unnamed back then, to live with two stepsisters she had a strained relationship with and a stepmother that the three of them like not seeing. I wanted her to have a best friend that was the most important person in her life. I wanted there to be a romance… with a guy she initially hated. (Okay, well, more like strongly disliked. This main character can’t bring herself to hate anyone.)

I wanted it to be reminiscent of A Cinderella Story—a movie that is a classic, please don’t fight me on this.

So I called it #CinderellaStory for a while. A few days ago, I decided to call it something else: The Opposite of Love.

I’m bad at titles. Like, seriously bad. Same goes with names—we’d all grimace at the old names I’d called my characters. (Hoo boy, they were so bad.) But this was the first project that I’ve come up with a title for. A project that had the main character’s name, the best friend’s, stepsisters’, love interest’s… I even managed to plot some of it out! Pages of events, late nights with thoughts flitting through my head—

This project had a lot of firsts.

But one that particularly stands out would be that… the main character is Bengali. Like me. And her name is Jayna.

For the longest time, I thought that characters had to be a certain… something. A lot of books I read, back in 2011 and 2012, had main characters that were all white. There was never a main brown skinned girl, not one who got to tell her own story. It made me think that my stories had to be like that too.

Which, really. It’s ridiculous. All of that? Ridiculous.

So, yes. #CinderellaStory—The Opposite of Love—is about a high school student, a Bengali girl yearning to fall in love and doing that with the last person she expects. It’s about a girl who adores her best friend more than anything in the world; about a girl who’s unapologetically every bit of her, who loves everything that makes hermy main character, Jayna Das.

And it’s going to be a lot of work. A lot of writing, rewriting, revising, editing, all that jazz. But you know what? It’s the first project I’m super excited about. It’s the first project I want to get done.

This project is pretty much for that younger mewho thought writing about Jayna would be taboo somehow. To anyone else who thought that, too, once upon a time. There is no default, no set of rules you have to follow. Your story is something that’s not just wanted—it’s something that’s needed, too.

 

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The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli – Book Review

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

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Girl on the Verge, Pintip Dunn – Blog Tour

Girl on the Verge
Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

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EXCERPT

“Hey. Look at me, please.” I nudge her shoulder, and she lifts her tear-stained face. “I messed up tonight. But it won’t happen again. No boy is going to come between us. I promised.”

She widens her eyes. “You still plan to keep your word?”

“Of course. I don’t make promises just for the hell of it, you know.”

A smile ghosts across her lips, but I can tell she’s still hurt. My heart contracts even more. “I’m here for you, Shelly. How can I prove that?”

“Well, there is one thing. . . .” She glances over her shoulder, although no one else is here. “Never mind. You’re going to think it’s silly. Forget I said anything.”

“I won’t. We’re friends, right? You can tell me anything, and I won’t think you’re silly.”

She takes a deep breath.

“Okay. Fine.” The words tumble out. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a kid. Problem was, I never had anyone to do it with.”

“What is it?”

“I want us to be blood sisters.”

A chill creeps up my spine.

Blood sisters? As in, my blood mixed with hers? This is unsanitary at best, deadly at worst.

“You hate the idea, don’t you?” she moans. “Forget it. I knew it was silly. . . .”

“No, no. You just surprised me, that’s all.” My mind spins, as I try to think of how to respond. “I don’t have anything against the idea, in theory. But you know all that stuff we’ve heard, about AIDS and other diseases and infections. Maybe I’m just being silly. . . .”

“Hey, it’s a valid concern. And I could tell you I’m clean, but you can never be too sure, right?” She wrinkles her forehead. “I’ve got it! We can do our own modified version. We’ll drop our blood onto a clean surface and let the liquid mix there. That way, we’ve performed the ceremony, but we’re still protecting ourselves. What do you think?”

“Um . . .” NO! my mind screams. Every cell in my body rebels against the thought. Mixing our blood is just gross. And weird.

There’s nothing in me that wants any part of this. I rack my brain, searching for a reason, any reason at all that won’t offend her.

“Look, I know we only met a couple weeks ago,” Shelly says in a small voice, “but I feel this connection with you. Like we were always meant to be friends. This ceremony represents that. You’re my sister, through and through.”

I take a deep breath. This idea she’s suggesting is more than a little creepy. But Shelly’s been through such a rough time lately. It’s not going to kill me to drop a little blood on a cutting board. If it makes her happy, I should just say yes. It’s not that big a deal . . . even if it makes all the hair stand up on my neck.

“Okay, fine,” I say, before I can change my mind. “Let’s do it.

Author Bio:

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at http://www.pintipdunn.com

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When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon – Book Review

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28458598A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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