February 12, 2013

Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni



Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 2013
Categories: Family Life, Coming of Age, India

Description:
Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy has enjoyed a sheltered childhood with her adoring grandparents. But she is troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found in her mother's book of poetry. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile family.

But shortly after their engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi's past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi undertakes a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will, ultimately, thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

My Thoughts:
I love stories about India. I love coming of age stories. I love rich and luscious tales that take you somewhere you wouldn't otherwise go. This book contained all of that and more.

Korobi's life is seemingly headed in a happy, though predictable, direction. A family secret comes to light that throws her onto a different path. Her desire to learn more about her parents sends her on a journey of self-discovery that compelled me to keep reading.

The subplots and minor characters in Oleander Girl were captivating. There is Rajat's mother who is desperately trying to hang on to a way of life that might be finished. Korobi's grandmother is ashamed of her role in keeping secrets from Korobi. Asif, a driver, finds himself in a position to help and/or harm the relationships around him. Sonia, a girl from Rajat's past is as dangerous as she is beautiful.

I highly recommend this book. Highly.


33 comments:

  1. Chitra Divakaruni is one of my favorite authors! I'll be sure to pick this one up.

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    1. I'll absolutely be looking for more of her work. This book is simply gorgeous :)

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  2. Sounds like a family secret to uncover. Multi ethnic stories are always interesting to read.

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    1. I agree Harvee. I always love reading about other cultures!

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  3. I read one of her books a few years back. The name escapes me, but it was excellent. I'll be looking forward to this one now.

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    1. I really have to read her other books. I have a feeling I've found a new (to me) author to love :)

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  4. This sounds awesome, there are so many themes I enjoy - coming of age, Indian stories etc. Added to the wishlist!

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    1. Yes yes and yes! If you like those themes you will adore this book :) I almost guarantee it!

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  5. I added it to my wishlist, it sounds fantastic.

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    1. It comes out next month, watch for it :) I think you'll like it!

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  6. This is the first I've heard of this book but I am totally interested in it. I haven't read many books based in India but I think I would like it. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. It's a fascinating culture, I think you'll like it too! :) This book comes out in March, I hope you'll find time to read it!

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  7. Reading books about India and China and other cultures that are so different is always so fascinating to me!

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    1. This one would be a great book for you then!

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  8. I still haven't found a book that I like set in India, so thanks for the recommendation, I will try sooner or later with this one!
    I don't know why, but I always find myself reading about magic and evil ghosts in the books about India I choose :(

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    1. This one is a good one Isi. Another fantastic book is Behind the Beautiful Forevers :)

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  9. I'm so bad about reading books set outside of the US, but I love books where the subplots are just as well-written as the main story line.
    I'm off to see if my library will be getting this one!

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    1. I have a good feeling that you'll like this one Lindsey :)

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  10. This sounds great! And I've heard nothing but good things about this author.

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    1. I hope you find time for this one, it's a gem :)

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  11. I will have to check this out - I would love to visit India one day. If I can make a suggestion, middle grade book wise, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan is a fantastic kids book.

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    1. I'd love to visit India too. It sounds like a place of such contradictions!

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  12. I find myself reading a lot about China, which I love... But I want to visit another country, um, bookishly. This sounds like a great start into my journey through India. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Traveling through books is the way to go! I hope you do read this one, it's a delight!

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  13. Oh, lovely review! Another one to add to my list....

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    1. Thank you Laurel :) It's a lovely book too!

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  14. Yay! My family is from India but I was born and brought up in America. I LOVE reading about India, it's my way to reconnect to my heritage when traveling there is not yet an option for my family and I. I have put this on my to-read list as well.

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    1. Oh! I find that so fascinating! I love reading about India. I don't know exactly why but I'm so interested in the culture, etc. I do hope you get to this book, it's a gem :)

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  15. I just got this and I can't wait to read it. I've always been fascinated about India and I think I will enjoy reading this a lot. Glad you liked it!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, I definitely did! I'm glad that the paperback release is garnering more attention for this book.

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  16. I loved this book as well. I'm with you on stories about India, set in India. Good stuff!

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    1. It's been a while since I've read something set in India now. I need to find another! :D

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    2. Dear Jennifer,going by your comments...wanting to read about Indian culture & love for this particular author(Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni) you will immensely enjoy the works of same author- "Sister of my heart" ..After reading this would you get a feel one gets after quickly finishing a favorite dessert. And with it's sequel "The Vine of Desire" you will explore an entire new avenue of thought process.

      Enjoy Reading :)

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