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Maya Runningby Anjali Banerjee
Synopses & Reviews
Maya Mukherjee doesn't fit in. She was born in India and her parents moved to Canada when she was a baby. Now it's the 1970s, and she's a middle schooler in Manitoba, land of moose and snow. She wants to run on the tundra beneath the Northern Lights, make igloos or snow-angels, see John Travolta, and ride elephants through the Bengal jungle the way her great-grandfather did. Then her gorgeous cousin Pinky comes from India for a visit, bringing a statue of the god Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles. Maya asks Ganesh to remove all obstacles to her dreams. Like most wishes, it backfires in hilarious and painful ways. Maya must journey across continents to restore the truth and find out who she is.
"Thirteen-year-old Maya is caught between the white, racist world of 1970s Manitoba and her Indian family and traditions. 'I am Nowhere Girl in my Nowhere Land' she says, echoing the Beatles song. Nevertheless, she does have friends, dreams of being a writer and even captures the attentions of local bad boy Jamie. But when her cousin Pinky arrives, stunning in her saris and even more so in borrowed Levis, she steals everyone's admiration, including Jamie's. Maya pleads to a statue of the Indian God, Ganesh, who helps her by 'remov[ing] obstacles,... removing illusions' and plunging her into a world where she becomes the beauty and the center of everyone's affections. This jarring move into the fantasy realm doesn't really work, but it does pick up the pace; Maya journeys to India where readers become privy to the very different sights, sounds and smells of trains, homes and bazaars. In a fairly predictable ending, Maya realizes her self-centeredness and, as Ganesh predicts, 'sees the truth' of her life: that she can embrace the uniqueness of her double identity and carve out her own path as an aspiring writer. An often touching debut novel that should appeal to readers who have ever felt torn between two cultures. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Likeable characters, broad humor, and a mild love story guarantee appeal to middle schoolers." VOYA
"[A] wonderful story that could be about any young person trying to figure out who he or she is; and how an adolescent can emerge from a nurturing family, part of that family, but also an individual." KLIATT
"[H]old on for the ride and...enjoy Maya's humorous voice and her familiar situation of being different." Kikrus Reviews
"Banerjee does a fine job of describing Maya's life and the people who inhabit it....It's the universal longings for love and acceptance, particularized in Maya's experiences, that makes the better story." Booklist
"Details of the cultures and everyday life of both India and Canada are integrated seamlessly and readers will see themselves in the realistic characters." School Library Journal
Born in India, Maya Mukherje, is growing up in 1970s Canada. When her cousin comes from India for a visit, bringing a statue of the god Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles, Maya asks Ganesh to remove all obstacles to her dreams. Like most wishes, it backfires in hilarious and painful ways.
About the Author
Anjali Banerjee lives in Port Orchard, WA.
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