by Jennifer Bradbury

Summary

School Library Journal:

Gr 8 Up— As India stands on the brink of partition, three young people’s lives become increasingly entangled with the upheaval and violence that surround them: Margaret, a British cartographer’s daughter; Tariq, a Muslim teenager employed in Margaret’s household who dreams of studying at Oxford; and Anupreet, a young Sikh girl also employed by Margaret’s family. Although initially resistant to living in India, Margaret is soon enraptured with the culture. Tariq captures the interest of both Margaret and Anupreet, even though a relationship with him would be disastrous for either girl. He is pressed to join his family in what will become Pakistan, and although Margaret’s father discourages him, he is convinced that an Oxford education would be the best for his future. There are multiple narrators, but each character’s story is defined and intertwines with the others’ seamlessly. Historical background of postcolonial India is neatly inserted within the narrative, and market and street scenes teem with everyday life. The awkwardness the protagonists feel about interacting with one another is honestly and realistically drawn. Characters are fully fleshed out and are sympathetic in their struggles to find themselves within the new India. Back matter includes a glossary and an author’s note detailing Bradbury’s personal connection to India and a brief overview of the partition. As clashes continue between and within India and Pakistan, this title fills an important niche in YA historical fiction.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA –Jennifer Schultz (Reviewed July 1, 2013) (School Library Journal, vol 59, issue 7, p88)

Awards:

  • YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2014

Topics

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Education, Friendship, Partition of India, Teen