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Rani Patel in Full Effect

by Sonia Patel

Published by Cinco Puntos Press, 2016
314 pages
ISBN: pbk. 978-1-941026-502

14 and older

Set in the early 1990s, 16-year-old Rani is living in Hawaii with her immigrant Gujarati Indian parents. Raniís mother quietly obeys her husband but is deeply unhappy in a marriage in which he is cold and unfaithful. If Raniís mother is overworked and unloved by Raniís father, Rani is his princess. Then Rani catches her father kissing a young woman not much older than she is. Her anger is fierce and her home life begins to unravel. At the same time, sheís invited to join a secret rap group by her high school friend, Pono, and discovers an underground rap community on her island. Rani has a crush on Pono, but sheís also attracted to Mark, the groupís founder. Rap is the way Rani expresses her anger and pain, including pain about her fatherís sexual abuse. Sheís never told anyone about it until Mark becomes her boyfriend. At first he is gentle and supportive. But heís also a 31-year-old man and recovering drug abuser who eventually starts to abuse Rani. Still, she canít bring herself to leave him, a dynamic tied to the lasting psychological effect of the abuse at her fatherís hands. Raniís raps are fierce, and feminist, but speaking the truth about and to the people whoíve hurt her takes the support of others, and belief in her own self-worth. This gritty, triumphant novel includes an excellent authorís note about the dynamics of abuse. (Age 14 and older)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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