That Thing About Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

That Thing about Bollywood | Book by Supriya Kelkar | Official Publisher  Page | Simon & Schuster

Summary:  When Sonali’s parents announce that they are separating, Sonali acts like everything is fine.  Years ago, she tried to find a way to help her parents stop fighting, and the message she got was to never share problems or feelings outside of the immediate family.  The morning after her parents’ announcement, Sonali wakes up to find that her life has taken on some aspects of a Bollywood movie.  Huge posters of her are hanging in her bedroom and a soundtrack plays wherever she goes.  When she unexpectedly–and uncontrollably–breaks into a song and dance at a field trip, Sonali knows she has to fix the problem–fast.  Clearly there is magic at work, but try as she might, Sonali can’t figure out how to break the spell.  Everything in her life seems to be falling apart, and slowly, Sonali realizes that the answer lies in showing her true feelings–if she can find the courage to do so.  352 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  The story takes the serious themes of dealing with divorce and the importance of expressing your emotions and adds a fun twist of Bollywood magic.  Having never seen a Bollywood film, I had to take a break partway through the book to head over to YouTube and see what the singing and dancing was all about. Other aspects of Indian culture will surely resonate with Indian-American readers, and there’s a bit of Indian and Pakistani history worked into the story as well.

Cons:  It seemed like it took Sonali a painfully long time to realize that she needed to express her feelings in order to get the magic to end.

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