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|Mission Mumbai : a novel of sacred cows, snakes, and stolen toilets|
Author: Narsimhan, Mahtab
Dylan, an aspiring photographer, is spending a month in Mumbai with his friend Rohit Lal and his family, but knowing nothing of Indian culture, he cannot seem to do anything right (do not hit cows!)--and the situation is made worse by the tensions within the Lal family over whether Rohit should be raised in India, which Mr. Lal's wealthy sister is pushing for.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 182765
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 67452
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/16)
School Library Journal (-) (01/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 Gr 3–5—When budding photographer Dylan Thomas joins his best friend and fellow fantasy enthusiast Rohit Lal on a family vacation to India, he thinks he's in for an epic adventure. He is looking forward to the food, the photo ops, and the chance to escape his parents' bitter fighting. But Rohit feels differently. He misses the comfort of his adopted home of New York City and resents being dragged back to hot and uncomfortable Mumbai. Things go from bad to worse as Dylan becomes entangled in one disaster after another, as he attacks a sacred cow, dives into the sewage-littered Arabian Sea, and is sucked into the current of furious monsoon flood waters. Meanwhile, Rohit's villainous Aunt Boa is plotting to force Rohit to live with her in India…forever. And as a final insult, Dylan and Rohit's once-solid friendship is hanging by a rapidly fraying thread. At its best, this novel paints an uncompromising picture of the harsh realities of poverty and Western privilege and provides readers with a striking illustration of India's customs and cuisine. Both Dylan and Rohit are believable characters, and their mounting conflict will make sense to readers. But the book also falls victim to underdeveloped plot points and distracting clichés. Dylan's lonely home life and contentious relationship with his domineering father feels flat and uninteresting when compared to what's happening in India. Author Narsimhan's many allusions to fantasy novels may initially draw in her intended middle grade audience, but overly frequent similes try too hard ("Ro was as relentless as Voldemort and his constant attempts to kill Harry.") and quickly become annoying. VERDICT An uneven tale of the clash between East and West, this title may appeal to librarians in search of more realistic middle grade fiction about an underrepresented topic and those willing to see beyond its flaws.—Laura Lintz, Henrietta Public Library, Rochester, NY - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2016 Dylan jumps at the chance to spend three weeks in India with his best friend, Rohit. He can attend an Indian wedding, indulge his passion for food and photography, and escape his fighting parents. He hopes to take an award-winning photo and prove to his dad that photography is not a frivolous hobby. India’s cacophony of sights and smells enchants Dylan, but the boys’ perfect “Sam and Frodo” friendship unravels in the oppressive heat. Rohit is sensitive about the financial gap between their families, while Dylan envies Rohit’s relationship with his mother and worries about his own parents at home. When an overbearing, wealthy aunt threatens financial blackmail to keep Rohit in India, tensions explode. The author excels at capturing life in India, but the boys’ relationship never fully resonates. Humor generated by cultural differences carries the book until the end, when the plot accelerates dramatically. Readers may forgive the overabundance of fantasy references and the clunky friendship in exchange for dramatic escapes, a monsoon, and Bollywood-level wedding drama. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.