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Not What I Hoped For: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

Hello!

As a librarian I’m always on the look out for multicultural and diverse YA fiction as a general rule, but especially since my school is an International Baccalaureate school. I had high hopes for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman, but in the end I was left disappointed.

During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than herMy Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J Freedman Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

Overall, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah was entertaining and sweet, but the writing was just average, which is where I was disappointed.

As a main character Tara is both sympathetic and extremely annoying at the same time. There is a lot going on in Tara’s life and while she’s balancing everything she’s having some serious questions of faith. I love how Freedman portrays this push and pull between cultures through the religious/faith side of things, because one’s spiritual faith is, I think, often overlooked in YA and MG fiction, which bothers me sometimes because I believe preteen and teen readers are often searching and trying to make sense of their spiritual surroundings. In this I believe that teen readers will appreciate and even see themselves in Tara.

And although many may also see themselves in Tara’s failings as well, I just feel that Freedman handled these weaknesses (ie: the things I found very annoying) irresponsibly. Tara had big anger issues and is willing to physically fight over nothing more than a glance from her “enemies”, and while I am incredibly aware that this is a common struggle for many teens, I hated the way Freedman wrote it and just kind of left it there. Tara didn’t ponder her actions and no one seemed to question it. I don’t mean to say that I expected some sort of moral lesson to wrap up Tara’s flaws, it was all just poorly written, in my opinion.

In the end although it was not as good a read as I had been hoping, I did purchase My Basmati Bat Mitzvah for my library because I think that most of Tara’s struggles and voice are real enough for readers to connect with and the subject matter is incredibly relevant for today’s world.

Author: Paula J. Freedman

Publisher: Amulet Books (October 1, 2013 )

Format: Hardcover

Length: 256 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:

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Reading Queue: June

The Reading QueueHi guys!

It’s about that time! Summer is getting so close I can almost taste it!

In my opinion, the absolute best thing about summer is not having to get up and go to work, which leads to spending tons of time with my husband, friends, and books!

So, what is this Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly event hosted by me and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for each month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you!  Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did in May

This past month I finished six books from my May Queue, but also read six that weren’t on my original plan. That brings me to twelve books read for the month of May, which I’m pretty proud of!

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J Freedman Caminar by Skila Brown

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

Caminar by Skila Brown

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie Friedman The Crossover by Kwame Alexander The Last Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie B. Friedman

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

In the Hands of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) by Tamora Pierce

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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My June Reading Queue

I always have high hopes for my summer vacation reading plans! Educators put their heart and soul into their students for ten months out of the year, so we need these lazy days of sleeping in, spending time with our family and friends and just allowing time for ourselves to rest and recoup. For me, resting and recuperating means reading! Here are all the books I plan to start my summer break with!

The One by Kiera Cass Prisoner B3087 by Alan Gratz The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

The One by Kiera Cass

Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Paperboy  by Vince Vawter A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Belles by Jen Calonita Nantucket Red by Leila Howard The Key and the Flame by Claire Caterer

Belles by Jen Calonita

Nantucket Red by Leila Howard

The Key and the Flame by Claire Caterer

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What books are on your Reading Queue for June? We’d love it if you’d link your TBR or Reading Queue up with ours!

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Reading Queue: May

The Reading QueueHola!  Happy May!

It still amazes me how fast this school year is going! We’re already only a few weeks away from the start of summer break! The weather has become absolutely gorgeous and both my porch and a good book are calling out to me!

What is the Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

What I Read in April

I’ve been reading a ton of middle grade books recently and my total number of books read in April was 8! I know I didn’t stick tight to my April Reading Queue but I did read a lot, even if they weren’t the titles I originally planned.

The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff Icons by Margaret Stohl

The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper Searching for Sarah Rector by Tonya Bolden Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden (nonfiction)

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Alanna by Tamora Pierce The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

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My May Reading Queue

Seriously, I just want to cancel everything I’m supposed to do this month so I can sit on my porch and read! Here are the ones I hope to finish this month!

TheBoyOnTheWoodenBox My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J Freedman The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord The Last Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson The Boy Problem by Kami Kinard

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

The Boy Problem by Kami Kinard

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie Friedman PrisonerB3087 by Alan Gratz Caminar by Skila Brown

Caminar by Skila Brown

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie Friedman

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass (My precious!!!)

Okay! I’m off to get reading! Have you read any of the books on my Reading Queue?  Please feel free to link up and join us this month! I’d love to check out your Reading Queue too!