Paati vs UNCLE (The Underground Nightly Cooperative League of Elders) by Meera Ganapathi – A Review

Paati vs UNCLE (The Underground Nightly Cooperative League of Elders) by Meera Ganapathi – A Review

TITLE: Paati vs UNCLE (The Underground Nightly Cooperative League of Elders)

AUTHOR: Meera Ganapathi


PUBLISHER: Puffin Books(Penguin Random House India)

GENRE: Middle Grade

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SOURCE: Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All Inju wants is a quiet, boring holiday at the most boring house in Mumbai, but life at Parijat Retirement Colony is not the same any more.

A thief is on the loose, and Paati has decided to become an UNCLE! But when the uncles of UNCLE (The Underground Nightly Cooperative League of Elders) act not so cooperative, Inju takes charge.

Joining forces with a lady whose papads were stolen, the skinny building watchman and Paati, Inju forms PAATI (The People’s Association against Thieves International).

Can this motley crew of detectives crack the code?

Are you in the mood for a fun, fast-paced whodunnit mystery involving a sassy grandma and a bunch of sharing-good-morning-messages-on-WhatsApp-groups grandpas that will make you laugh your socks off? You’re looking at the right book! 

Inju is visiting his Paati(Tamil for grandmother) over the summer and wants a boring staycation at Parijat Retirement Colony but his plans get thwarted when robberies begin and he gets caught up in an investigation to nab the culprit. What follows is sleuthing loaded with oodles of action and some laugh-out-loud shenanigans! 

While the book is all fun and frolic, it makes young readers aware of the misogyny that’s rampant in the Indian society today. If there’s a book that screams SMASH THE PATRIARCHY but for younger readers, it’s this one! It also throws light on bullying in a way that’s not too harsh on young minds.

Meera Ganapathi’s witty and quirky writing style is bound to keep you hooked from cover to cover! It’s a cute little book with hilarious illustrations that you can gobble up in one sitting!

Keeping my fingers crossed that this book is the first one in a series as I can’t wait to solve more mysteries with Inju and Paati!

Thanks to Penguin Random House India for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 🥰

Have you read any Middle Grade mysteries with young detectives? Let me know in the comments below!

Listen to your Heart: The London Adventure by Ruskin Bond – A Review

Listen to your Heart: The London Adventure by Ruskin Bond – A Review

TITLE: Listen to your Heart: The London Adventure

AUTHOR: Ruskin Bond


PUBLISHER: Puffin Books(Penguin Random House India)

GENRE: Memoir

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

SOURCE: Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

‘I followed my heart instead of my head. It is something I have done all my life.’

Shortly before his eighteenth birthday, Ruskin embarks on a literary journey and reaches England after charting unknown waters. Greeted by the uncertainties of a new city, he muses over his loneliness, switches jobs, falls in love, befriends the ocean and relentlessly chases a big dream!

What follows next is the metamorphosis of a journal entry into a novel as we time-travel to the fascinating events that led to the making of his iconic book, The Room on the Roof.

Capturing memorable experiences from young Ruskin’s life, Listen to Your Heart is an inspiration for aspiring young writers, a meditation on embracing fears, seizing every opportunity but most importantly living one’s dreams.

Having read Ruskin Bond’s short stories and excerpts during my school days, I wanted to read his memoir and get a glimpse of his early days and how he became one of the best authors we have today! 

Listen to Your Heart is a short, heartfelt memoir by Ruskin Bond which is the fifth and final book in the series offering us an insight into Ruskin’s childhood and adolescence. 

Peppered with beautiful artwork on almost every other page, reading this book was an experience in itself! Ruskin describes his adolescent period in England during which he had to flit from one job to another, all while penning his first novel, The Room on the Roof. And let’s not forget the feelings of the heart, which is a whole other ball game altogether! 

Ruskin goes on to describe how the world of publishing is in no way a bed of roses and is brimming with obstacles at every stage, but come what may, never stop writing! Through his ordeal, he shows young budding authors how perseverance and sheer will ensure that you have your name on the cover of a book someday. A huge shout-out to the illustrator Mihir Joglekar for making the story come alive on the page!

If there’s one take-away from this book, it’s literally the title: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, things will fall into place one day!

Thanks to Penguin Random House India for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 🥰

Have you read books by Ruskin Bond before? If yes, let me know in the comments! If not, what are you waiting for?

Ritu Weds Chandi by Ameya Narvankar – A Review(this picture book is a MUST-HAVE!)

Ritu Weds Chandi by Ameya Narvankar – A Review(this picture book is a MUST-HAVE!)

TITLE: Ritu Weds Chandni

AUTHOR: Ameya Narvankar


PUBLISHER: Puffin Books(Penguin Random House India)

GENRE: Picture Book, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SOURCE: Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can barely wait to dance at the baraat! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend, Chandni.

Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?

Centering Ayesha’s love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other, this warm-hearted story celebrates the power of young voices to stand up against prejudice and bigotry.

If I can sum up this entire review in one sentence, it would be this: I WANT EVERY SINGLE KID TO READ THIS GEM OF A PICTURE BOOK.

When I saw this book doing the rounds on Bookstagram, I was pretty intrigued. Being a queer man myself, I wanted to know what the hype was all about! And boy, did it not disappoint! 

Ayesha is excited for the wedding of her cousin, Ritu didi, who is marrying her girlfriend, Chandni didi in a lavish Indian ceremony(believe me when I tell you, the adorable illustrations of the wedding in this book gave me a mountain of hopes!) What happens at the wedding? Read the book to find out, and don’t forget to admire the GORGEOUS illustrations while you’re at it! 

The author, through this picture book, has highlighted a very important fact about same-sex couples: it’s totally normal in the eyes of children and is not construed as abnormal at all. It’s the influence of the homophobic society that warps these innocent minds.

If I could describe this book in one word, it’s ESSENTIAL. I hope every library and bookstore has copies on display so every child who happens to see the beautiful cover ends up picking it up and reading it from end to end in one sitting! And a huge shout-out to the author for some of the best art I’ve come across!

In a world where queerphobia persists to a great extent, books like these remind me how there are some amazing people who are doing their bit to show just how diverse and beautiful the LGBTQ+ community is. What better way to do that than instill the right thoughts in young minds, so that they grow up to be amazing humans! 

Thanks to Penguin Random House India for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 🥰

Have you read any picture books that you love? Let me know in the comments!

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai – Why This Book is the Perfect Match For You!

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai – Why This Book is the Perfect Match For You!

TITLE: A Match Made in Mehendi

AUTHOR: Nandini Bajpai


PUBLISHER: Hachette India

GENRE: YA Contemporary


SOURCE: Received a finished paperback copy with some goodies from the author!

For fans of Eleanor & Park and When Dimple Met Rishi, comes a lighthearted novel about tradition, high school social hierarchy, matchmaking, and swiping right (or left!).

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole — matchmakers — with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.” 

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course. 

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

“The root of family is love. The root of all love is friendship.”

This book was indeed a breath of fresh air! Do you happen to be in a stubborn reading slump that just doesn’t want to leave? Are you tired of dense fantasy reads and want to grab something light and breezy? Then this book is the perfect match for you! (Haha see what I did there? 👀😉)

Simi Sangha comes from a long line of “vicholes” or match-makers, but she has absolutely no interest in match-making whatsoever. Give her a set of paints, brushes, an easel and a canvas and she is good to go! When she accidentally ends up making a terrific match, her mom begins to assume she has the “gift” too. Reluctantly, with the help of her best buddy Noah and her tech-savvy brother Navdeep, she comes up with a match-making app to help people find their dates at her school! What follows is a fun-filled, frolicky tale of mehendi and crushes and hot boys and school wars and mouth-watering Indian food!

Simi’s idea of using colour-coded icons on the app was so cute I was super jealous I didn’t get to try out the app! I’m a sucker for great friendships in books and the camaraderie between Simi and Noah reminded me of some of my real-life friendships and I couldn’t help but smile!

Nandini Bajpai has managed to perfectly capture the Indian family dynamics in this book. Indian parents’ obsession with their kids taking up engineering, medicine or law was so dang relatable! This book also shows how Indian parents can sometimes involve themselves way too much in their children’s lives but again, we know that only comes from a place of concern. This can all be very doting and annoying at the same time and I’m still in the process of figuring out which one it is haha!

Simi is a stellar artist and wants to create a masterpiece around mehendi! Yes, you heard it right! Every time Simi drew temporary henna tattoos for her friends, I was going, “OHMYGOSH I NEED ONE OF THESE TOO!” I am pretty sure I’m going to try it out one day and y’all will be the first to see!

While being lighthearted and joyful, this book also highlighted issues such an bullying, outing and plagiarism and also showed us how all of these are so very wrong, by teaching the perpetrators a lesson they’ll never forget! 😤

So if you’re in the mood for a quick, cute read full of high school shenanigans and annoying Indian aunties and uncles and a cute romance(or maybe two), what are you waiting for? Pick this one up right away!

Have you read any Desi rom-coms that made you giggle into the night? Let me know in the comments below!

Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Cinderella is Dead Next!

Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Cinderella is Dead Next!

  1. SMASH THE PATRIARCHY! – I mean, who doesn’t love a book where women overthrow the patriarchy and triumph? In the town of Lille, the story of Cinderella is a holy grail set in stone and all women of age are supposed to attend a ball to find a match. If they don’t find one, they are met with a terrible fate. Sophia has always been in love with her friend Erin and what happens when things go awry at the ball? Read the book to find out!
  2. QUEER BLACK HEROINE – I’m all for the upliftment of marginalized voices through books and we have a Black protagonist who also happens to be queer! While Sophia is flawed in many ways, she is a protagonist who doesn’t back down from a fight and will go to any extent to take the King down!
  3. SAPPHIC ROMANCE – Sophia and Constance form a great pair and if you’re a fan of the insta-love trope, this is the perfect one for you! This also happened to be my first book with a sapphic romance and not surprisingly, it was well done!
  4. FAST-PACED PLOT – Kalynn’s writing style is easy to read and doesn’t dwell on too many descriptions which will have you hurtling through the book in no time! However, there were a couple of subplots that weren’t really necessary and all they did was add to the page count and I wish they weren’t included in the story. There were some subplots that were opened but they just remained, well, opened? I, for one, am someone who prefers closure in books. I do get the fact that this is a standalone and there is a lot to address because there’s just the one book to wrap things up but wouldn’t it be easier to wrap things up when the things to be wrapped up are less in number? Just my thought hehe.
  5. YOU WILL NOT LOOK AT THE CINDERELLA FAIRYTALE THE SAME WAY EVER AGAIN. Kalynn has given us all an amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse into the original Cinderella story where things are not at all how they seem and the next time you read/watch Cinderella, you can’t help but think along these lines! Well, a fairytale retelling that makes you question the fairytale itself? GIVE ME MORE.

I plan on picking up This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron soon!

Thank you so much for the review copy, Bloomsbury India!

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world .

An electrifying twist on the classic fairytale that will inspire girls to break out of limiting stereotypes and follow their dreams!

What are you waiting for? Pick up this sapphic Cinderella retelling right away!

Here Are 6 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna!

Here Are 6 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna!

TW: Torture, extremely misogynistic society, rape, abuse, graphic violence

  1. SMASH THE PATRIARCHY! – A book full of fierce, near-immortal female warriors with special gifts trying to penetrate through the thick walls of the fortress called patriarchy, all while fighting fearlessly to save the kingdom from a mysterious threat? SIGN ME UP!
  2. SOLID WORLD-BUILDING – Namina seamlessly constructs the world of Otera and explains to the reader about the dynamics of the society without making it info-dumpy or boring at any point. This sets the perfect stage for the upcoming books in the trilogy and I can’t wait to see where Namina takes the story!
  3. AHH, THAT ONE PLOT TWIST THAT MAKES YOU QUESTION EVERYTHING – I, for one, am I sucker for plot twists! The plot twist in this book is a MAJOR curveball and it made my jaw hit the floor! It made me GASP. NO KIDDING. If you’re someone who loves plot twists, trust me, you’re in for one hell of a ride!
  4. ADDRESSES A MYRIAD OF SERIOUS ISSUES – Along with a gripping plot line and close-to-perfect world building, this book addresses a wide range of serious issues: misogyny, racism, oppression, PTSD, to name a few. And believe me when I say this, NAMINA DOES NOT SUGARCOAT. This book is brutal, cruel, gory and doesn’t shy away from presenting the problematic elements of society in its raw, naked sense.
  5. FIERCE FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS – The protagonist, Deka, while enduring all the hardships society throws at her, makes some long-lasting, heart-warming friendships along the way. The friendship between Britta and Deka added a hint of warmth to an otherwise dense story. An oasis in a desert, if you ask me.
  6. #OWNVOICES – The author, who hails from Sierra Leone, a nation in West Africa, draws on her own experiences of surviving in a misogynistic society and enduring oppression and incorporates the same in the society portrayed in the book. Misogyny is undoubtedly rampant in today’s world and if a BIPOC author pens an #ownvoices story about bad-ass women warriors trying to change the society for the greater good, I BOW DOWN TO HER IN RESPECT AND I WILL READ EVERY BOOK SHE WRITES.

Additional perks!

  1. GORGEOUS cover with a bad-ass melanin goddess!
  2. Gripping storyline!
  3. Queer side characters!
  4. Almost an all-black, all-women cast!
  5. A pet who doubles as a super-powerful mythical creature and is fiercely loyal!

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTELLER! The must-read new bold and immersive West African-inspired fantasy series, as featured on Cosmo, Bustle, Book Riot and Refinery 29.

In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice, perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death.

She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…

If you’re in the mood for a gripping fantasy, pick this one up! Hit me up in the comments once you’re done and let’s discuss!

7 Reasons (I could come up with 20 but this is not an essay) Why You Should Read A Pho Love Story by Loan Le Right Away! 🍲

7 Reasons (I could come up with 20 but this is not an essay) Why You Should Read A Pho Love Story by Loan Le Right Away! 🍲

🍜CUTE, FLUFFY ROMANCE – Who doesn’t love an adorable romance that makes you blush and giggle and smile and blush some more? Bao and Linh are one of my favorite YA couples and I loved the slow-burn chemistry! Ahhh, the pain! Loan definitely loves teasing her readers hehe.

🍜 ROMEO AND JULIET VIBE – What happens when two high-schoolers from rival restaurant families (read sworn enemies) fall in love? A MASSIVE SHOWDOWN! You could say, Romeo and Juliet but make it Asian, add dollops of food imagery, a couple tablespoons family drama and sprinkle some humour for garnish!

🍜 MOUTH-WATERING FOOD REFERENCES THAT WILL MAKE YOU CRAVE VIETNAMESE CUISINE – Is it even a story about restaurant children falling in love WITHOUT food descriptions? Loan succeeds at making you salivate a million times while reading this book and I was constantly looking up pictures on Google Images and ended up with atleast 50 screenshots by the time I was done! 😂

🍜 LAYERED PLOT – A plot where things are not what they seem, and something is always looming in the background but doesn’t meet the eye. A hint of mystery. A pinch of suspense. A massive reveal towards the end!

🍜 FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS – it’s awesome if you have it all figured out but it’s also completely okay if you’re still figuring out what your forte is. But never give up. Persevere. You WILL shine. Not being philosophical here but the book conveys this message in a seamlessly way!

🍜 #OWNVOICES – THIS BOOK IS SO VIETNAMESE AT HEART. From the Vietnamese war, Vietnamese cuisine to Vietnamese family dynamics and a whole lot of Vietnamese conversations that had me using Google Translate like never before (I am so glad Loan used truckloads of Vietnamese in the book, made it all the more authentic), this right here is the magic of #ownvoices authors: giving readers an insight into a particular culture that makes us want to learn and discover more! 🇻🇳

🍜 MAJOR SOAP OPERA VIBES – Can somebody please turn this into a soap opera? 😂 I’m a sucker for family drama and this book dumped oodles and oodles of family drama on me! I was playing out the scenes in my head with background music and trust me, you should try it too!

Additional perks!
🍜 Super-cute pastel pink cover! (I know I’m not the only cover lover out there 😉)
🍜 Fun side characters!
🍜 An almost Asian cast!

All’s fair in love, war and noodles! This delicious debut is perfect for fans of teen romcoms like When Dimple Met Rishi and Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Linh and Bao like each other. A lot. The only problem? Their families own rival pho restaurants and hate each other’s guts, so they have to keep their relationship a secret. 

But they can only steal kisses in dark alleys and the art room at school for so long. Can their love transcend an age-old feud and heal the rift between these two families? Or have these high school sweethearts bitten off more than they can chew?

What are you waiting for? Pick this one up right away, and yes, don’t forget to prepare yourself for some mouth-watering! 😉

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera – A Review

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera – A Review

TITLE: Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

AUTHOR: Kaela Rivera


PUBLISHER: HarperCollins

GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐️

SOURCE: Received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author in exchange for an honest review.

When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

“But maybe I’m strong enough to know it’s okay not to be strong enough to do it alone.”

Have you ever read a book that’s so good you can’t help but think about it for days? And you struggle to articulate your thoughts into a well-written review because there are so many thoughts swirling through your mind and you want to pen it all down but you’re at a loss for words? This was that book for me. I would give this book a thousand stars if I could.

Cece Rios is a 12-year-old from the town of Tierra del Sol. After a major mishap when Cece was younger, she is treated differently by the people of her town. But when Cece’s older sister Juana is kidnapped by the dark criatura El Sombreron, Cece realises that the only way to get Juana back is to venture into Devil’s Alley and the only way to do it is to resort to something extremely feared and dangerous: brujeria. Or witchcraft. The brujxs are people who control criaturas and that is a very very dangerous territory, let alone for a 12-year-old. So what happens when Cece joins hands with Coyote, an infamous criatura and embarks on a quest to get Juana back? Read the book to find out more! And trust me, you will instantly fall in love with this book!

This is a contemporary fantasy richly steeped in Mexican culture and mythology written with a perfection very few happen to achieve! Be prepared to meet a myriad of mythological beings such as El Sombreron, El Cucuy, La Chupacabra, La Llorona, Tzitzimitl and many more! One of the reasons I love #ownvoices books: when someone from the community writes about their community, not only does it attain a stellar level of accuracy, it also embodies their struggles, their culture, their cuisine and all the amazing things that make up their community, well, their community! #ownvoices books Stan forever!

There is not a SINGLE boring moment in this book. With crisp writing and fighting scenes that will keep you hooked, Kaela has made sure the reader will be glued to the book from cover to cover, be it a young reader or a slightly older one, like me!

Cece, as a protagonist, is one of the most fearless and brave characters I have come across in Middle Grade! She is the embodiment of fierce love for your family, loving them with all their flaws; sheer grit and determination and most importantly, the lengths you go to for the people you love. Having a strong female POC protagonist will show all young girls who pick this book up how they can achieve anything in life with sheer will power and motivation!

It’s not a surprise anymore that Middle Grade is my ultimate favorite genre out there! But WHY? FRIENDSHIPS. I am a sucker for strong and true friendships in books and Middle Grade delivers them in truckloads! The friendship between Cece and Coyote in this book is probably one of the best I’ve come across so far and there were so many cute friendship moments that had me in tears from time to time! Kaela, can I please call dibs on an ARC of Book 2? 🥺💕

Not only does this story offer you an action-paced, adventurous plot, it also highlights an issue which we face in real life. Society is super quick to judge someone without even getting to know them and places so many stereotypes that at one point, they become impossible to get rid of! The criaturas are feared and hated and considered abominations but they are such cute munchkins and fluff balls that will end up occupying every corner of your heart! 😭💖

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls is definitely on the list of my Top 10 Best Middle Grade Reads of All Time and if you still haven’t read this battle of good vs evil, you’re missing out on so so much! I have so many thoughts about this book but I don’t want my review to end up being an essay so I’m going to put a stop here. Please pick this one up and we can rant about it all day long!

!Muchísimas gracias por escribir este libro estupendo, Kaela!

Have you read any Middle Grade fantasy books? Let me know in the comments and we shall discuss!

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga – A Review (a hard-hitting Middle Grade read!)

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga – A Review (a hard-hitting Middle Grade read!)

TITLE: The Shape of Thunder

AUTHOR: Jasmine Warga


PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)

GENRE: Middle Grade


SOURCE: Received a copy from HarperCollins India in exchange for an honest review.

Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year. Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did. On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note.She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever—and stop him. In spite of herself, Cora wants to believe. And so the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may actually be the key to saving themselves. The Shape of Thunder is a deeply moving story, told with exceptional grace, about friendship and loss—and how believing in impossible things can help us heal.

I have seen a lot of people dismiss Middle Grade novels and I honestly wonder just how much they’re missing out on! Books like these repeatedly remind me why Middle Grade is my favorite genre and also how it’s one of the most powerful genres out there!

The Shape of Thunder is a poignant tale of two friends reeling in the aftermath of a school shooting where the brother of one killed the sister of the other. Once the thickest of friends, Cora and Quinn are no longer on talking terms after Quinn’s brother, Parker shot Cora’s sister Mabel. Quinn, in the hopes of mending their friendship, decides to build a time travel machine to set things right. What follows is a heartwarming tale of grief, heart, family and the sheer magic of HOPE. ✨

This is my first Jasmine Warga book and needless to say, I’ll be picking up every one of her books henceforth! Her writing style is smooth, fresh, unique and so full of warmth. It shows you how you can repair the past just by hoping for it to happen, however impossible it may seem.

Cora shut herself off from Quinn after the shooting and it touched me how she slowly began warming up to Quinn once again as they embark on an impossible quest to get Cora’s sister back. Cora wants to discover more about her Lebanese heritage and her innocent curiosity reminded me so much of the 6th grade me hehe. 🙈

One of my favorite characters in this tear-jerker of a tale definitely has to be Cora’s grandmother. She is a fierce, no-nonsense woman who has her own way of loving her granddaughter. This shows how love can have many forms and shapes and there is no set definition for love. She is a doting granny in her own right and she plays an active role in shaping Cora’s character growth in this story! Yay to more awesome grannies in books!

At one point, I loved how this was going along a sci-fi tangent and I ended up having high hopes for the ending. This would have been a solid 5-star read for me if not for the very normal ending. Somewhere along the way, I started to hope for the impossible along with Quinn and I would have LOVED it if the impossible had just become, well, POSSIBLE.

Nevertheless, this is one powerful Middle Grade novel that deals with hard-hitting topics such as grief, separation, loss of a loved one, shattered friendships and more in the most nuanced way possible.

Kudos to Jasmine for writing this beauty of a book! 💫

What are some of the most hard-hitting books you’ve read? Let me know in the comments!

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell – A Review

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell – A Review

TITLE: The Good Thieves

AUTHOR: Katherine Rundell


PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury

GENRE: Middle Grade Historical Fiction


SOURCE: Received a copy from Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review.

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack’s spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. 

She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel is a heist as never seen before – the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I am a huge fan of Middle Grade(well, it’s my favorite genre out there). A historical fiction Middle Grade novel set in 1920s New York City featuring children on a heist? I KNEW I had to get my hands on this one! Having heard a lot about Katherine Rundell’s books, I dove into this with a lot of expectations and it definitely colored me impressed! I’m pretty sure you can see me reading her other books in the future.

Vita Marlowe has just landed in New York City with her mum to look after her ailing grandfather. When she finds out that her grandfather was cheated out of his property by a rich businessman, she wants to steal it back! Well, if you’re stealing back something that’s already stolen, it means you’re a ‘good’ thief, right?

Vita cannot do this alone. She teams up with Silk, an orphaned pickpocket; Arkady, a Russian circus performer and Samuel, a trapeze artist as she embarks on a heist to teach that nasty monster a lesson he’ll never forget!

Rundell’s writing style is smooth, easygoing and so very readable. This one was indeed unputdownable and I ended up reading it from cover to cover in one sitting! Fast-paced, well-written action scenes and one formidable villain: this is the recipe for a perfect Middle Grade novel!

By featuring a disabled protagonist(Vita is a polio survivor living with chronic pain and a twisted leg), this novel goes on to show young readers how you can achieve anything on the planet if you put your heart and soul into it, and your disability will not stand in the way! Vita, as a disabled person, knows the extent of her abilities and is mature enough to understand when things are out of her reach as she deftly handles every situation she lands up in. Katherine, thank you so much for making disabled children felt seen and represented through Vita. 🥺💕

Not only does Vita teach us some great values, Silk, Arkady and Samuel each embody an attribute we should all inculcate in our lives! I love me a book that highlights its side characters and gives them closure too, and Katherine has executed this with sheer perfection!

Vita’s love for her grandfather, Jack and his love for Vita’s deceased grandmother show us the power of family and the extent we go to for the ones we love. A book that shows the power of family and friendship and seamlessly blends them together? Sign me up.

If you are looking for a fast-paced race against time that’s a battle of good vs evil and full of kind-hearted souls with a fierce conviction, you know which book to pick up next!

Have you read any historical fiction books? Let me know in the comments!