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American Betiya: Book summary and reviews of American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

American Betiya

by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar X
American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar
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Book Summary

Fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson will identify with this luminous story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship.

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in--his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art--make him her mother's worst nightmare.

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver's troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself--and what's really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

Winner of SCBWI's Emerging Voices award, Anuradha D. Rajurkar takes an honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. Braiding together themes of sexuality, artistic expression, and appropriation, she gives voice to a girl claiming ownership of her identity, one shattered stereotype at a time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Rani and Oliver's passion is well written, and Rani's spirited and honest voice authentically leads readers through the challenges and thrills of an interracial and cross-cultural teen romance. This heartbreaking love story is a strong debut and an entertaining read. An interracial teen romance that unflinchingly tackles racism and patriarchy." - Kirkus Reviews

"This story is fast-paced and readers will initially root for this young love, but when Oliver starts stereotyping Rani, they will side with her as she pushes back...The conservative, oppressive parents trope is somewhat tiresome, but it's interesting to see how Rani juggles her heritage with trying to be a regular Illinois girl. A good purchase for high school collections." - School Library Journal

"Though some supporting characters rely heavily on cultural stereotypes, the majority of the cast, including Rani's feminist best friend Kate, are nuanced personalities, and Rajurkar's tight prose facilitates a gripping plot." - Publishers Weekly

"American Betiya thoughtfully examines cross-cultural boundaries, first love, the first steps of independence from family, and the power of art to transform and heal. I loved Rani's fierce, heartfelt, and beautifully told journey." - Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

"Laced with poetic and rich writing, American Betiya candidly captures the heartbreaking impetuousness of that all-consuming first love, the tightrope we walk as we seek to navigate cultural tensions, and, most importantly, the risks we must take to spread our wings and find ourselves." - Gae Polisner, author of The Memory of Things

"I was immediately captivated by Rani's unique voice, and her raw sincerity kept me hooked through every step of her journey. This book is overflowing with honesty, and stunningly beautiful." – Akemi Dawn Bowman, award-winning author of Starfish

This information about American Betiya was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Anuradha D. Rajurkar is a teacher by day and a YA writer by night, who holds two degrees from Northwestern University. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband and two sons. American Betiya is her first novel.

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