|Red, white, and whole|
Author: LaRocca, Rajani
Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she's the only Indian American student, and home, with her family's traditions and holidays. But Reha's parents don't understand why she's conflicted--they only notice when Reha doesn't meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor, is determined to make her Amma well again.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 510574
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/20)
School Library Journal (00/02/21)
Booklist (+) (01/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/02/21)
The Hornbook (00/05/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2021 *Starred Review* Navigating eighth grade, Reha finds herself pulled between two worlds: 1983 America, where she is growing up, and India, where her parents did. As she struggles with the choice between being like her friends at school or being the way her parents—especially her Amma, or mother—want her to be, her world is shattered when Amma is diagnosed with leukemia. Classmates, friends, and family all come to the support of her and her father, bringing the two sides of her identity together. And as Amma battles her illness, Reha gains strength from her loved ones, discovering what it really means to be a hero. LaRocca’s (Midsummer’s Mayhem, 2019) historical novel in verse takes the reader through Reha’s past and present, flowing as seamlessly as many of the songs often referred to within the poems. Reha’s reaction to the devastation wrought by her mother’s illness is realistic and heartbreaking. Readers who have experienced loss—as well as those who have not—will understand Reha’s feelings and find comfort as she comes to see the beauty of her mother, which she understands will always be a part of her. Reha comes to view her life in terms of the “before and after” her mother’s illness, and readers, too, will be changed by her story. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 5 Up—Indian American middle schooler Reha navigates growth and loss in this 1980s coming-of-age novel in verse. Thirteen-year-old Reha deals with ordinary concerns; she tries to stay true to her Indian culture while growing up with in the United States, and she grapples with a crush on a classmate. When her mother suddenly gets sick with leukemia, Reha's ordinary everyday concerns fade away and are replaced with the belief that if she is as virtuous as possible, she will save her mother's life. As the story goes on, Reha deals with her grief and builds a strong support network of friends and family to help her face her mother's illness. References to musicians such as Pat Benatar, the Beach Boys, and Cyndi Lauper firmly set this story in the 1980s, but the story otherwise feels modern. Reha's story is slow to start but quickly ramps up. Readers will be invested in her relationships with her parents and friends and will enjoy the evocative verse and emotional stakes. VERDICT A recommended purchase, perfect for fans of Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga and Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton.—Kelsey Socha, Westfield Athenaeum, Westfield, MA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.