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STARRY HENNA NIGHT by Mitali Banerjee Ruths


From the Party Diaries series, volume 2

by Mitali Banerjee Ruths ; illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel

Pub Date: April 4th, 2023
ISBN: 9781338799828
Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

A young entrepreneur faces her toughest challenge yet.

Fresh from the success of planning family friend Layla Aunty’s birthday party, Priya—elementary schooler and founder of Priya’s Parties—is excited (and nervous) to begin her next job: a henna party for Layla Aunty’s teenage niece, Tara. When Tara suggests a “galaxy desert” theme, Priya plans out a set of creative DIY decorations and desserts. Priya’s support system is essential to the party’s execution: Family friends Neda Aunty and Padma Aunty do the henna designs, Priya’s grandmother helps her bake the cake, and Priya’s best friend, Melissa, lends a hand with making decorations. But while the last party was for adults, this one is for a high schooler and one she doesn’t know well—a situation that fills Priya with self-doubt. Will she be able to pull off the perfect party, or will her new assignment be too hard to fulfill? The second volume in the Party Diaries series slightly widens Priya’s world, introducing new characters and conflicts, and delving more into Priya’s inner life. However, the plot is very similar to that of the previous book, with only the details changed. While the author’s subtle characterization shows potential, it remains to be seen whether the series will branch into new territory or remain formulaic. Priya, her family, and most of her family friends are of South Asian descent; Melissa presents White.

A predictable but promising second book in a new series.

(Chapter book. 7-10)