Seventeen-year-old Jersey girl Samar has never given much thought to her Indian heritage.
Her single mother insists that being American is what counts and has been estranged from her own traditional Sikh family since Sam was a toddler. Then 9/11 happens and suddenly Sam is hyperaware of her brown skin. Soon after, her mother’s brother shows up, seeking a family reconciliation and causing Sam to question everything she has ever been told (or not told) about her background. As her knowledge of her personal history grows, Sam realizes that she no longer wants to be a “coconut” (brown on the outside, white on the inside). She begins reaching out to Indian classmates and researching Sikhism online, acts that end up redefining her existing relationships with her best friend and boyfriend, both white.
This straightforward and ultimately reassuring novel reads like an older Sikh version of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and will fill a niche in any school or public library looking to beef up their YA multicultural fiction offerings. (Fiction. 13 & up)