Synopses & Reviews
Basanta an Indian girl balanced on the edge of childhood and young adulthood narrates Zia’s second novel (after The Garden of My Imaan) with a vivacious voice. She lives in a hut in a small village with her parents and younger sister begrudgingly working alongside her mother at the “Big House” as a servant. A keen observer Basanta views the world as rich with imagery; her employer’s privileged daughter Little Bibi can be “fiery as a mango pickle” while a jamun tree “rained down fat berries that splattered the ground with purple.” After finding a lost ring belonging to Little Bibi Basanta decides to keep it for herself. Guilt gives her a “worried heart” and she slowly matures using her good fortune to help less fortunate friends who often go hungry. While the plot moves a bit too rapidly and feels overstuffed with characters Zia delicately explores themes of developing a sense of morality learning the value of hard work recognizing inequality and empathizing with others. The author smoothly incorporates Hindi words and phrases into Basanta’s narrative and also includes a glossary. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."