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Shine Coconut Moon

June 20, 2009

Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
published by Margaret K. McElderry March 10, 2009

“There is a man wearing a turban ringing our doorbell.” This opens Shine Coconut Moon, as seventeen-year-old Samar opens the door to an uncle she has never met and gets her first glimpse of her Indian American roots.

Samar, who’s called Sam, is the smart, independent heroine of this coming of age story. Her mom broke ties with her traditional Sikh family long ago, and Sam has never known her father. Sam hangs out with her best friend Molly’s large Irish-American family and longs for that kind of sense of family and belonging.

After 9/11, the lives of all Americans have changed forever. Discussions of the terrorist attack on the U.S. dominate Sam’s high school classes. Yet her everyday life continues, shopping and chatting with Molly and spending time with her boyfriend, Mike.

When Uncle Sandeep appears at the door, wanting to reconnect with his estranged sister and niece, Sam has a chance to meet the family she’s never known. And life gets more complicated in many ways. As a foreigner who wears a turban, Sandeep is mistaken for a Muslim and becomes the victim of prejudice against followers of Islam. This ripples into every part of Sam’s life, changing all her relationships and opening her eyes to things she’s never thought of before.

I loved this character and I couldn’t put down the book. It was suspenseful, and at the same time, it was thoughtful and real. I felt the ebb and flow of Sam’s emotions and her blossoming maturity, and I was fascinated by her journey into discovering her cultural and religious roots. I recommend this book to everyone, especially teens. It is unique, yet familiar in its exploration of a girl’s journey to becoming a woman, and it offers a thoughtful glimpse at contemporary history. I found it to be thoroughly unforgettable.


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 1:40 pm

    I’m so glad to see that you enjoyed this book. I also loved it. It explored so many issues in such a great way.

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