Shalini has grown up in Bangalore, India living in a house with 37 relatives. She’s been betrothed since the age of 3 to Vikram, her dad’s BFF’s son. In Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani, Shalini’s dad accepts a job offer in LA and uproots the whole family. Shalini is homesick and lonely and misses Vikram. BUT THEN she meets Toby who makes her tingle. Who will she choose?
FIRST OFF, yay for a contemporary young adult book featuring a non-white protagonist. More of those, please publishers! Shalini is easy to relate to, in her loneliness and new girl status. I think many teenage girls have been through the same thing and will be able to empathize with Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani. Shalini’s voice is very straightforward. Lovetorn is told in first person. There is no clunky purple prose to be found.
However, I thought Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani was an average read. Lovetorn is not Sarah Dessen caliber despite the back cover comparison. Lovetorn barely scratched the surface of the issues it raises. And very important issues are covered – bullying, racism, Shalini’s mother’s depression, arranged marriage. I would have liked it if those themes were explored more deeply instead of superficially.
Yet, I think Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani does have an audience with the young end of the YA spectrum as there are no explicit scenes and barely any swear words. The chapters are short and Lovetorn is under 250 pages. Daswani’s pacin is brisk, barely lingering on unnecessary details.
I definitely wanted to see who Shalini would choose and the decision is legitimately tough – between the boy she’s known all her life and are arranged to marry or the new boy who is a classical musician and sets your world on fire. That is a tough decision, yo. Lovetorn will resonate with readers who are into love triangles and have ever felt like the new kid at school.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.
This book counts for the PoC Reading Challenge.