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Shine, Coconut Moon


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"Before Uncle Sandeep walked back into my life, I'd never cared that I was a Sikh.... But that was before 9/11." Raised in suburban New Jersey, 17-year-old Samar has few connections to her Indian heritage. Her mother, having felt oppressed by her conservative Sikh parents, cut ties with them years earlier ("My mom spent a whole lot of time... smudging the hard lines that made us different from everyone around us"). Samar's uncle, eager to reconnect in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, helps the teenager learn about her background, taking her to a Sikh temple and reintroducing her estranged grandparents into her life. A number of acts of violence, including an incident in which some classmates throw bottles at her uncle's car while they are driving, further spur Samar's awakening, causing her to reconsider what it means to be Indian in America. Debut novelist Meminger raises complex questions of identity, but avoids moralizing or spelling out answers for readers, who will likely be hooked as Samar takes a second look at her relationships with her boyfriend, friends and family, while seeking a better understanding of herself. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Gr 6-10-Samar, an Indian-American teen, blends in easily with her classmates and has never known her extended family or their culture or Sikh religion. That changes when her long-lost Uncle Sandeep shows up, in a turban, on her doorstep four days after the 9/11 attacks to reach out to the family, and an Indian classmate refers to her as a "coconut"-brown on the outside, white on the inside. Samar soon realizes that she has been missing a vital part of herself and she seeks to discover it. Along the way, her path to self-discovery is riddled with pain, racism, healing, love, and reconciliation. Meminger's debut book is a beautiful and sensitive portrait of a young woman's journey from self-absorbed naivete to selfless, unified awareness.-Terri Clark, Smokey Hill Library, Centennial, CO Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"An important book for young people about coming to terms with identity, prejudice, and family in a post-9/11 world. A touching portrait of a strong-willed daughter and her rebellious mother." -- Marina Budhos, author of Ask Me No Questions and Tell Us We're Home
"Everyone -- teens and adults alike -- should read this wise, warm story of family, friendship, tolerance, and finding out who you really are." -- Anjali Banerjee, author of Maya Running and Looking for Bapu
"Neesha Meminger writes with honesty, a big heart, and bold humor. I laughed, cried, learned, and related." -- Tanuja Desai Hidier, author of Born Confused
"I want to give this novel to every teen on the hunt for the unvarnished truth about her own story." -- Mitali Perkins, author of Secret Keeper

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