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Freedman, Paula J.: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah.

5Q * 4P * M * J (A)

Freedman, Paula J. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah. Amulet/Abrams, 2013. 256p. $16.95. 978-14197-0806-0.

Jewish-Indian-American Tara Feinstein loves every part of her heritage, and with the school robotics club and her bat mitzvah in her immediate future, seventh grade promises to be a great year. Then, the drama begins. Between Hebrew school with snooty Sheila and playing Bollywood film stars with her best friend Rebecca, Tara suddenly feels like she must choose sides and friends. Tara's Indian-Jewish mother does not want her to wear a sari to her bat mitzvah; Rebecca starts hanging out with Sheila; and Tara's friend Ben-o is jealous of the most annoying guy in their class. When Tara accidentally burns a hole in her nani's sari and asks her rabbi tough questions about her bat mitzvah parashah, she sees that, with some attention and compromise, she can enjoy the best that everyone brings to her world.

Tara is an independent main character for whom tween and teen girls will root. She is not interested in dating and yet boys like her, which may frustrate those who can--or cannot--relate to that part of the middle school experience. While some readers may find the emphasis on religions and cultural backgrounds too quiet a topic to enjoy, fans of Lauren Myracle's Flower Power series will connect with this contemporary story of changing friendships and self-identity. This novel is a great addition to collections that need more contemporary realistic stories and/or culturally diverse casts of characters.--Deena Viviani.

During the fall preceding her bat mitzvah, Jewish-Indian-American Tara Feinstein's usually delicious mix of cultures suddenly feels confusing. Tara wonders if she can honor both her Indian and Jewish heritage. This charming debut has a friendly vibe that will keep readers turning the pages. Young teens who enjoy multicultural realistic fiction will find themselves adoring this novel. 4Q, 4P.--Maia Raynor, Teen Reviewer.

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Author:Viviani, Deena; Raynor, Maia
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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