96 Words for Love
A modern retelling of a classic Indian legend, 96 Words for Love is a coming-of-age story.Ever since her acceptance to UCLA, 17-year-old Raya Liston has been quietly freaking out. She feels simultaneously lost and trapped by a future already mapped out for her.Then her beloved grandmother dies, and Raya jumps at the chance to spend her last free summer at the ashram in India where her grandmother met and fell in love with her grandfather. Raya hopes to find her center and her true path. But she didn't expect to fall in love... with a country of beautiful contradictions, her fiercely loyal cousin, a local girl with a passion for reading, and a boy who teaches her that in Sanskrit, there are 96 different ways to say the word "love."A modern retelling of the classic Indian legend of Shakuntala and Dushyanta.

96 Words for Love Details

Title96 Words for Love
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 15th, 2019
Publisherjimmy patterson
ISBN-139780316477789
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Retellings, Romance

96 Words for Love Review

  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    I won a free copy on Goodreads thanks to FirstReads in exchange for an honest review.Spoilers ahead. Get lost if you actually want to like this book. I don't want to ruin it for you.This book was pretty hollow. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't necessarily bad or hurtful or a waste of time... per se. It just wasn't much of anything. It wasn't deep enough to earn the heartfelt blurbs on the front and back covers from a bunch of different celebrities who knew the famous fashion designer turned author. I won a free copy on Goodreads thanks to FirstReads in exchange for an honest review.Spoilers ahead. Get lost if you actually want to like this book. I don't want to ruin it for you.This book was pretty hollow. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't necessarily bad or hurtful or a waste of time... per se. It just wasn't much of anything. It wasn't deep enough to earn the heartfelt blurbs on the front and back covers from a bunch of different celebrities who knew the famous fashion designer turned author. It definitely feels like Rachel Roy used her celebrity to get her daughter's book published, is all I'm saying.Before I get into my nitpicking, I just want to say that the actual writing style was pretty decent. There was never a point while I was reading where I wanted to put the book down or toss it at my wall in frustration. The writing has a TON of potential. It just isn't quite there yet.This book needs more editing almost as much as I need a better social life. Keep in mind that my copy was an ARC, therefore the problems I found in the book may have been taken out before publication.But anywhoozle, I had some ISSUES. 1. Minor logic issues - Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's impossible to have a 13.5 hour time difference. Pretty sure time zones are hours apart, not half hours. Also, at one point it was stated that the main character last visited India 5 years ago. However, after that, they keep saying that the last time she was there she introduced her cousin to the Jonas Brothers in 2010. If this book was written in 2018 and published in 2019, than "5 years ago" should have been 2013 or 2014. No Jonas Brothers required. Which brings me to my next problem.2. WAY TOO MANY JONAS BROTHER JOKES - That weren't even funny the first time. I shit you not, Nick Jonas is mentioned in this book more than 10 times, possibly upwards of 20. It was pretty irritating and it made me feel like I should have just read a book about Nick Jonas, since he was clearly supposed to be the most interesting thing about this book. Obviously, the author had a bit of a Jo Bro obsession back in the day. I feel ya girl. Me too. But I was more of a Joe Jonas girl myself.3. Characters flatter than my ass - Pretty much all of the characters, especially the side characters were some of the most one dimensional ones I've ever seen. Not much depth to any of them. For instance, one character was a bit of a bigot, and that's all she was. The Guru was like a sage, with less personality than white bread, whose only purpose was to give (very obvious) advice. The MC's best friend was a sexually aggressive lesbian, and that's all she was. I could go on but I won't since I'm boring myself. 4. Jokes cornier than my teeth - I like my contemporary YA reads peppered with a little humor. I have to give this book a WELL, YOU TRIED sticker because there were obvious attempts at jokes made throughout the book. I just didn't find the jokes very funny. There was one pun I thought was cute though, so I'll share it with the rest of the class."HEDGEHOGS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SHARE THE HEDGE."That was it kids. The best line of the book. Does that tell you what you need to know about it?5. Setting was an afterthought - I think that the choice of setting could have led to some absolutely astounding atmosphere. A beautiful Indian temple. Those words alone could inspire a million stunning images in my brain. However, my brain had to do all the imagining because there was almost no descriptive imagery in this book. Which is a real shame because I've never been to India, probably never will, and this book could have taken me there.6. Is this Groundhog's Day or... - For the majority of the book, the same things happened day after day once she got to the temple. I get it. She has a routine but YAWN. How to be the main character Raya Liston: Wake up. Pray. Peel potatoes and judge people. Teach a kid how to read with all the enthusiasm of a deceased lima bean. Kiss a guy with less swag than your mom. Eat dinner. Sleep. Repeat. That's it. You're good to go.7. Holy Hell - This book has a motherfucking awful lot of fucking swearing for a book set in a goddamn Holy place. Shit. Not to mention that one time when they have sex in a sacred garden right in front of a Holy statue that her grandma used to pray to. Classy as fuck.8. If I could gaze into the future - you might think this book would be a breeze. (sorry. all the disney channel references in this book got me rememberin' the good old days.) What I'm trying to say here is that this book is WOW SO PREDICTABLE. I'm not even going to worry about this being a spoiler because if you couldn't see what I'm about to say coming, than you're probably too blind to read this review anyway, let alone an entire book, bless your soul. It was so obvious that she would want to become a teacher. It was so obvious that whatever his name was would be the love interest. It was so obvious that the man her grandma was talking about in her letters was the grandpa. Everything was so obvious, I was wondering if I was reading this book or if I was just making it up myself as I went along. 9. The author is madly in love with the main character - and thinks you should be too. Here we have another case of the too perfect MC (that is probably just the author inserting herself into the story but I don't know her personally so don't @me, okay). I swear to bajeezus everyone in this book was acting like everyone else sucked but Raya was God's golden cookie. If one more person kisses this main character's ass I swear to gOd i'M gOnNA riOT.10. Main premise? - Pfft. Forget about that. Let's just put that there to look pretty on the blurb. So the set up in this book was that after Raya's grandma dies, she and her cousin want to go on some magical quest to look for some mysterious items that the grandma told them on her death bed to look for. ...O....kay... That could have been iNteReStiNG. I guess. Maybe. That's not what actually happens though. So no worries. The authors must have just put that in there as a red herring or something. It's all good. Once they get to the temple, I swear this brat spends no time with her cousin actually doing what they went there to do. 10. Subsection b) Main premise pt 2. - That epic retelling of an Indian love story? I'm still waiting on that. The actual story that they were referring to was easily 10.8 thousand times more interesting than this loosely based retelling. The resemblance to the two stories was thinner than Eugenia Cooney.11. All that love interests need are good looks, right? - Cuz that's all this guy's got going for him anyway. He was honestly just a bag of meat. They should have just set the girl up with a set of pouty lips on a stick. She would have been just as happy and probably better off. And don't get me started on the chemistry, or lack thereof. These two went from lust to FAKE LOVE faster than I go from dinner to dessert. They were about as cute a couple as an eggplant and a goldfish and had even less in common. To say that this love affair was shallow would be almost as big an understatement as saying that this review is disgustingly long-winded.12. All that Indians need in order to be Indian are brown skin, right? - Cuz that's about as Indian as the Indian characters got in this book. They. All. Acted. American. American slang? Yeah, that screams authentic Indian culture. Speaking 99.99% of your lines in English? Correct. Another common Indian habit. Where the bloody tooting stroopwaffle is all the culture? 911. I would like to report a crime. I have been robbed of what could have been a fantastic cultural experience. I'm white enough as it is. I don't need this book making me feel any whiter, thank you.76. Uneven pacing - The first 100 pages are set at a pretty good pace. It gave you time to get to know the character and the situations in a fair amount of time. Just enough detail but not enough to bog you down or slow down the story. Then the middle chunk sped up a bit, not so bad, but still too fast for you to get attached to any side characters or get invested deeply enough into the plot. The last part was laughably rushed. Someone was facing a deadline or just stopped caring by that point. Just saying.143. My biggest qualm - I'm going to get a little serious for a second to wrap up this monster of a review. My final issue is the almost cavalier way that the issue of sex trafficking was handled in this book. At one point, a little girl goes missing and it is suspected that she was taken by human traffickers. This came after a pathetically melodramatic reveal of one of the flat side characters admitting that she had been trafficked herself. The MC's reaction to that was so weak. Almost zero emotions were conveyed in the writing. It was like: "OMG, that's horrible. Wanna go get a chai latte?" Bitch, were you even listening? This is bad. Very bad. A little girl is missing and while you do show that you care enough to kinda sorta go looking for her, you all sure give up WAY TOO EASILY. I've looked for a missing pencil longer than these characters spent looking for a missing human being, I swear to GOOPLA! This issue was handled way too trivially and it deserved better and more serious treatment.If you've made it this far with my review, CONGRATS! You deserve a cookie! Now go out there and read something good, you beautiful creature, you.
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  • rachel
    January 1, 1970
    🍂 Rep: Raya (mc) is biracial, indian-black american, and hindu; Kiran (li) is indian; Pilot (sc) is black american and gay; Anandi (sc) is indian; Lexa (sc) is sapphic/queer.🌻 Trigger warnings for racism, forced public outing, addiction recovery, grief/loss, death of a loved one, poverty themes, and (view spoiler)[missing child, sex trafficking, and kidnapping (hide spoiler)]. Mentions arranged marriage and suicide. ✨ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • 🍂 Rep: Raya (mc) is biracial, indian-black american, and hindu; Kiran (li) is indian; Pilot (sc) is black american and gay; Anandi (sc) is indian; Lexa (sc) is sapphic/queer.🌻 Trigger warnings for racism, forced public outing, addiction recovery, grief/loss, death of a loved one, poverty themes, and (view spoiler)[missing child, sex trafficking, and kidnapping (hide spoiler)]. Mentions arranged marriage and suicide. ✨ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    This is an incredibly readable book. There were parts I loved (learning about Indian culture; the ashram setting; Raya and Anandi trying to find what their grandmother left for them) and it made up for the parts I didn't (instalove; a ton of slang that makes the book feel dated even though it just came out). Also, if you're not good with swearing, you should know that there's a lot of it in this book. I'm not particularly delicate, but if you are, definitely proceed with caution.The pacing also This is an incredibly readable book. There were parts I loved (learning about Indian culture; the ashram setting; Raya and Anandi trying to find what their grandmother left for them) and it made up for the parts I didn't (instalove; a ton of slang that makes the book feel dated even though it just came out). Also, if you're not good with swearing, you should know that there's a lot of it in this book. I'm not particularly delicate, but if you are, definitely proceed with caution.The pacing also seemed a little off. It's a little slow in the beginning (not ridiculously slow or to the point where I was ever tempted to stop reading) but then it seemed to go into hyperdrive and it almost felt like I had skipped some chapters.I think a lot of that is because it's a first novel. The raw materials are definitely there, and I hope they write a second book. I think they'll end up doing really good things.
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  • Shannara Petty
    January 1, 1970
    This was one of those rare books that I wanted to reread as soon as I finished it. I absolutely love Raya and her journey to find out who she was reminded me of when I was a teen facing the future. This story drew me in from the beginning and I was eager to read about Raya’s trip to the ashram to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother. I also loved the way her relationship with Kiran unfolded and grew. This book was funny, heartwarming, and also faced some serious issues that most people nev This was one of those rare books that I wanted to reread as soon as I finished it. I absolutely love Raya and her journey to find out who she was reminded me of when I was a teen facing the future. This story drew me in from the beginning and I was eager to read about Raya’s trip to the ashram to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother. I also loved the way her relationship with Kiran unfolded and grew. This book was funny, heartwarming, and also faced some serious issues that most people never have to think about. This was very well written and was the first of the James Patterson presents imprint that I have read. Needless to say, I’ll be diving into more of them after having read this one. I recommend this to young adult book lovers over the age of 14 or 15 due to some vague sexual content.
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  • Jessena Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5
  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    This is petty, but what the hay? Raya dissed on Almond Joy and LOVES Coldplay. For that, she is my enemy. Nah, but genuinely:Maybe I could've tolerated this book more if I hadn't just read another book ( The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali) that is set in India and features family relations and a "forbidden" love. The book prior was superb. This was not. This was a book I only finished due to obligation. I'm not saying it's the worst book ever. I think some people could like it. For instance: Pe This is petty, but what the hay? Raya dissed on Almond Joy and LOVES Coldplay. For that, she is my enemy. Nah, but genuinely:Maybe I could've tolerated this book more if I hadn't just read another book ( The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali) that is set in India and features family relations and a "forbidden" love. The book prior was superb. This was not. This was a book I only finished due to obligation. I'm not saying it's the worst book ever. I think some people could like it. For instance: People that don't normally read, people who are merely looking to check off a Diversity Bingo square for a book that takes place outside of America; with absolutely no want or care to learn about another land and culture. So, ya know, there's that I guess. I just found this to be extremely disappointing and lackluster. There is absolutely nothing special about this.This story had so much potential. I thought I'd absolutely love this, I had it on my TBR shelf for months! What was given was not what had been promised.-A book that seemed to promise depth and heart, was superficial and hollow.-A book that promised culture and rich landscapes had next to none. If it weren't for the fact that Raya constantly mentioned being in India,I would have figured we were still in California. The extent of describing her surroundings? A billboard in Sanskrit,women in sari's, statues of Hindu gods, terrifying roads, one street vendor, and Ghandi's cremation place. Throughout the entire book, that's all we get. I think that is positively ridiculous. I may be pushing it, but I'd border on saying it's unforgivable--- to just overlook the scenery, to ignore the culture.-Also! Everyone in India --- in this remote village, speaks perfect English. All the time. No one speaks Hindi or any other language, apparently. This bothers me a lot. A LOT. In other books that take place where English is not the first language, we normally get everything in English, but with certain words that are specific to their native language thrown in as a bare minimum, I don't see why they didn't do that here. In my mind, that is literally the bare freaking minimum you can do.-This book is inspired by a famous Indian legend called Shakuntala and Dushyanta. I'm not familiar with this tale, though it is roughly summarized in the book. It's a story that has been passed on for centuries, it serves a place in their culture. This book does not live up to the monument that that story must be to have survived all these years. I feel that whatever it is that made that tale so unique, so timeless --- it's only been commercialized to and for a(n) Western/ American audience. What remains of the legend in here is what I would describe as a muddy paint-by-numbers replication by someone with poor eyesight and misplaced reading glasses. -The characters are flat. One dimensional. Every single one of them. Each had one trademark and that was all they were aloud to be. A pretty boy, an offensive Brit, a Nick Jonas obsessed cousin (seriously, I think Nick Jonas sponsored this or something), a wise and mysterious woman. And then Raya. Raya is clueless. Not because she doesn't know what she wants to pursue as a career, but in every other aspect imaginable. This book relies solely on her being an idiot. Seriously, she makes a big deal out of everything, turns the most obvious things into stupid "mysteries" and when she "solves" them, I, as a reader, made this face: -Honestly, I made that face a lot. Because clever, Raya is not. I feel like the authors were desperate to fill space and so they just threw everything and hoped something would land. Pacing? We don't know her. "What can we do to meet our page quota?" Mystery? A love complication? Family drama? A disappearance? Surely something has to stick! Uh...-Non-problems are made into HUGE problems and HUGE problems are treated as non-problems. I can't go into specifics, but it's ridiculous. Disgusting, even!-There were many a attempt at jokes throughout. Somehow, none of those stuck either. And I thought (trying to be kind and all ((I promise I'm generally nice!))) "Perhaps the hilarity of these moments are ""You had to have been there"" moments." (Yes, I'm the person that starts sentences with the word "perhaps".) But... THAT'S EVEN WORSE, if that is the case! It's the authors job to make you feel a part of that moment, as though you were really there. To fail at that is just... well, it ain't great.Also, let us talk about the Jonas Brothers for just a minute. I understand it's 2019 but Dash and Roy started this. Okay, so Raya is 17/18. Presumably the year this takes place during is 2018. She said she was obsessed with the Jo-Bros back when they were big when she was still in middle school, there were mentions of her sharing their first ever album with her cousin when she was 12. Now, I am 18. I was a Jonas fan, I think we all were, secretly. I was a Jonas Brothers fan when they first hit the scene in 2006. 2007-08 is when they got real popular. If Raya was a fan of them from the very beginning of their career, or at the least, at the height of it (and as she is a music fan/ reviewer, all signs indicate she would've), then something isn't adding up to her being obsessed with them when she was 12 (presumably in either 2012/2013) as they practically dropped off in 2010/2011. They wouldn't have been huge when she was in middle school. Their first album came out long before she would've been 12.I don't know guys, it's 3:23AM and I am too invested in this thing that doesn't seem to add up. There is red yarn everywhere. I'm being strangled by it. S.O.S.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you kidlitexchange for this book! All opinions are my own. This book will be available 1.15.201996 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash is a realistic young-adult fiction story about Raya Liston's, a high school senior who has just been accepted into UCLA. Raya is struggling to figure out what she is going to do in college and as a career, a character detail that deeply resonated with me. Tragedy strikes when Raya's grandmother, Daadee, calls to say her final goodbyes before passing a Thank you kidlitexchange for this book! All opinions are my own. This book will be available 1.15.201996 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash is a realistic young-adult fiction story about Raya Liston's, a high school senior who has just been accepted into UCLA. Raya is struggling to figure out what she is going to do in college and as a career, a character detail that deeply resonated with me. Tragedy strikes when Raya's grandmother, Daadee, calls to say her final goodbyes before passing away around her family in India. Daadee's final wish is for Raya and her cousin, Anandi, to visit the ashram that meant so much to her and where she left some items for her granddaughters. While there, Raya meets a handsome young man, Kiran and she struggles to find her path for her future while unfolding a story about Daadee's past.While this story has so much going for it, I struggled with Raya's character and her personality. She was quick to judge others but couldn't see flaws within herself and how her own beliefs and treatment of others affected her perception of them. Raya talks down about her cousin's taste in music, which may not be music I like, but it struck a chord with me on how I've had friends be judgmental about music or my taste in books. This was perpetuated through out the story with how she thought about people she interacted with at the ashram. While I wanted to love this book, it just wasn't for me.With out giving spoilers, if certain story lines had unfolded earlier, such as the Hindu love story of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, social justice problems in India, and how those were interwoven within the plot, this story could be phenomenal and a wonderful tool for discussion on these issues. I disliked how these particular aspects of the story line just felt like plot devices pushing the story to the end. I do think many will be able to relate with Raya and her own personal struggle to figure out what her future is. This book does have occasional adult language and discussion of sex. I would say this book is for 16 and older.
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  • CleverBaggins
    January 1, 1970
    This would be an amazing book for certain teen girls. It was enjoyable to me and I like what it's doing and I have no real complaints. It's just one of those things where they're trying a little too hard to appeal to "current" teens. But- the characters and story itself was interesting enough that it was still fun to read.The setting is wonderfully described, the characters well developed and it's a great look into a part of the world that most people don't get to see. I'll definitely recommend This would be an amazing book for certain teen girls. It was enjoyable to me and I like what it's doing and I have no real complaints. It's just one of those things where they're trying a little too hard to appeal to "current" teens. But- the characters and story itself was interesting enough that it was still fun to read.The setting is wonderfully described, the characters well developed and it's a great look into a part of the world that most people don't get to see. I'll definitely recommend it and hope the authors write some more books together because I think they have a lot of potential.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    Y'all... all of the no. I mean, the biggest NO you could ever imagine.What in the fresh hell was this mess? Besides a full dumpster fire, that is.
  • Mandi Schneck
    January 1, 1970
    This is definitely a book where the insides match the beauty of the cover. 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash is full of beautiful references to Indian legend while simultaneously tackling the important issues of sex trafficking and racism. This story follows Raya, who is full of anxiety after receiving her acceptance to UCLA and having to decide a path for her future. Then Raya's grandmother dies, and her parting words to Raya include mentioning that she hid some things for Raya and h This is definitely a book where the insides match the beauty of the cover. 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash is full of beautiful references to Indian legend while simultaneously tackling the important issues of sex trafficking and racism. This story follows Raya, who is full of anxiety after receiving her acceptance to UCLA and having to decide a path for her future. Then Raya's grandmother dies, and her parting words to Raya include mentioning that she hid some things for Raya and her cousin at her beloved ashram in India. Now, Raya and her cousin journey to the ashram hoping to find what their grandmother left them and reconnect with her, but they may find more than that along the way.I really enjoyed my time spent with this story, and it was an incredibly quick read. The imagery and vivid descriptions made it easy for me to place myself in the ashram with Raya. I loved getting to learn more about Indian legend and culture, and I identified with Raya's struggle to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. I am glad that this addressed sex trafficking, as this is a major issue that you don't see a lot in YA fiction. I also appreciated how it addressed racism. A character in this book isn't intentionally racist, but many of the things she says are hurtful, and she has the opportunity to learn why they are wrong and offensive. I do think everything wrapped up too quickly and perfectly. I would have appreciated a more gritty ending, and think that would have been more realistic to some of the subjects at hand. Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 StarsThanks so much to Jimmy Patterson for a copy of this read! 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash is out on January 15th, so be sure to pick up a copy!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Raya is your classic good girl, who plans to unquestioningly follow the path her parents have set before her. However, when she gets her acceptance at UCLA, where she intends to take part in the law program, her true anxieties begin showing through. Raya doesn’t know if she wants to go to UCLA, become a lawyer, or even go to college at all. She is given the opportunity to explore her feelings, when she goes to live in an ashram I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Raya is your classic good girl, who plans to unquestioningly follow the path her parents have set before her. However, when she gets her acceptance at UCLA, where she intends to take part in the law program, her true anxieties begin showing through. Raya doesn’t know if she wants to go to UCLA, become a lawyer, or even go to college at all. She is given the opportunity to explore her feelings, when she goes to live in an ashram in India after her grandmother dies. Raya’s grandmother left behind something at the ashram for her and her cousin to find. This place encourages self-reflection, which allows both girls to explore their desires. Raya quickly makes friends with many of the others staying in the ashram, and begins to have forbidden feelings, because no physical romance is supposed to take place in the ashram, for hot playboy, Kiran. Raya also begins volunteering in the local community, where she makes a strong connection to one of the students there who is determined to learn to read. This coming-of-age tale is a re-imagination of an Indian legend. I enjoyed this book. I liked the idea of Raya and other characters reflecting upon themselves. I thought it was an interesting exploration of an ashram and the various areas of India. I never truly warmed up to the romance between Raya and Kiran, but I don’t think their romance was the point of the book…ish.
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  • Tarryn
    January 1, 1970
    *Won a copy of this book in Goodreads Giveaway*I wanted to like this, since the concept sounded really unique - a modern story of a girl's visit to the ashram where her grandmother spent part of her youth, based in part on a traditional Indian legend. Unfortunately, the whole story just fell really flat for me. The insta-love between the main character, Raya, and the dude whose name I keep forgetting, didn't feel compelling or realistic to me at all. I kept thinking, "aren't you supposed to be h *Won a copy of this book in Goodreads Giveaway*I wanted to like this, since the concept sounded really unique - a modern story of a girl's visit to the ashram where her grandmother spent part of her youth, based in part on a traditional Indian legend. Unfortunately, the whole story just fell really flat for me. The insta-love between the main character, Raya, and the dude whose name I keep forgetting, didn't feel compelling or realistic to me at all. I kept thinking, "aren't you supposed to be here spending time with your cousin, looking for the mysterious things your grandmother left you? Why is everything now about this guy?" It also really bothered me that Raya didn't actually find any of the things her grandmother left for her -- she let this dude do all the legwork for her, and didn't really include her cousin at all. And speaking of her cousin -- all of the other supporting characters were super one dimensional, which made it even harder to feel invested in any of the action that was taking place. It's too bad, because this book ends up feeling like a real missed opportunity.
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  • Myron Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Raya’s grandmother’s last wish was for Raya and her cousin Anandi to go the ashram where she studied as a youth. The girls are tasked to find some items left for them. While at the ashram Raya starts to question what she wants to do with her life on the eve of starting at UCLA. While the story is purportedly about life at an ashram, outside of a few chapters after they arrived not much time is spent inside besides mealtimes. Most of the novel concerns Raya's relationship with Devin, a boy she me Raya’s grandmother’s last wish was for Raya and her cousin Anandi to go the ashram where she studied as a youth. The girls are tasked to find some items left for them. While at the ashram Raya starts to question what she wants to do with her life on the eve of starting at UCLA. While the story is purportedly about life at an ashram, outside of a few chapters after they arrived not much time is spent inside besides mealtimes. Most of the novel concerns Raya's relationship with Devin, a boy she meets there. Along the way readers meet other residents of the ashram but we don't learn much about them besides why they are there. This includes Anandi who although has a journey of her own we see none of it. A subplot which emerges towards the end of the book changes the tone to something more serious. Yet instead of being handled seriously it's just used to add more drama to Raya's life. Shortly after that the story is wrapped up abruptly.This book could work for readers who enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon or Hole in the Middle by Kendra FortmeyerThanks to Edelweiss+ for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    10th&upJust before Raya Liston's beloved grandmother Daadee dies, she tells Raya that she has left her a gift. In a distant ashram in India, a place that is important to Daadee but unknown to Raya, she has hidden something that Raya and her cousin Anandi must retrieve. Certain that taking this journey to her grandmother's past will help her see her own life path more clearly, Raya sets out to fulfill Daadee's last wish- and maybe realize a few of her own.Such a great book! Teen readers will 10th&upJust before Raya Liston's beloved grandmother Daadee dies, she tells Raya that she has left her a gift. In a distant ashram in India, a place that is important to Daadee but unknown to Raya, she has hidden something that Raya and her cousin Anandi must retrieve. Certain that taking this journey to her grandmother's past will help her see her own life path more clearly, Raya sets out to fulfill Daadee's last wish- and maybe realize a few of her own.Such a great book! Teen readers will be drawn right into the story, courtesy of Raya's authentic voice and the relatable nature of her concerns about her future. The setting is lush and descriptive, the ashram's attendees varied and entertaining, and I loved the twin threads of Raya's discovery of the complex and strong woman her grandmother was, and her realization that she is capable of that strength as well.This arc was obtained through Edelweiss, with thanks to Jimmy Patterson/Hachette, in exchange for an honest review,
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  • The Keepers of the Books
    January 1, 1970
    When her beloved grandmother dies, she discovers her grandmother left something for her in an Ashram in India. Seeing it as a sign from the universe, Raya heads to find what her grandmother left her. Soon she meets Kiran, a rule-breaker, who throws a dangerous fork in her road. A modern retelling of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, this coming-of-age novel will inspire and delight readers who enjoy Indian Mythology. The characters are well-developed, engaging, and likable. The plot is complex, accurate When her beloved grandmother dies, she discovers her grandmother left something for her in an Ashram in India. Seeing it as a sign from the universe, Raya heads to find what her grandmother left her. Soon she meets Kiran, a rule-breaker, who throws a dangerous fork in her road. A modern retelling of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, this coming-of-age novel will inspire and delight readers who enjoy Indian Mythology. The characters are well-developed, engaging, and likable. The plot is complex, accurate, and draws the reader into the story. Readers who like realistic fiction, mythology, and books that deal with hard issues like sex trafficking and racism will enjoy reading this book. Please Note: A copy of this book was given to us in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are our own.For more reviews, recommendations, and online librarian advice, please visit us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK3v...
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  • Julith Perry
    January 1, 1970
    I am so glad I read this book. I honestly didn't know what to expect, the blurb by Kim K had me questioning everything but also very intrigued. I will admit that her blurb is the reason I was interested in even reading this book and I am so glad that I did because it taught me so much about a culture that I didn't know much about. I didn't know that there are 96 ways to say "love" in the Sanskrit language. When I read it in the book, it made it all make sense for me. The title is appropriate and I am so glad I read this book. I honestly didn't know what to expect, the blurb by Kim K had me questioning everything but also very intrigued. I will admit that her blurb is the reason I was interested in even reading this book and I am so glad that I did because it taught me so much about a culture that I didn't know much about. I didn't know that there are 96 ways to say "love" in the Sanskrit language. When I read it in the book, it made it all make sense for me. The title is appropriate and perfect. Literally found myself crying over this book at 5AM because of the story of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, I had never heard this story before and it is so touching and beautiful and I am so eternally grateful to this book for including it. Another thing that I really appreciated that this book included was the child trafficking part because I feel like not a lot of YA books would include it and it something important that needs to be talked about. Raya and her cousin are precious and their journey to follow in their grandmothers footsteps was beautiful. Yes, the book had it flaws here and there but I still found it enjoyable and I am so glad that I read this book.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    ****3.5 Stars****Raya doesn't know what her next step in life should be; she knows her parents expect her to go to college but is that something that she really wants to do? When Raya, and her cousin, promise their dying grandmother to live life to the fullest and be open to possibilities they decide to spend the summer at the ashram her grandmother met her grandfather. Upon arrival Raya is overwhelmed; the poverty that surrounds the ashram, the people she meets (from all walks of life) but espe ****3.5 Stars****Raya doesn't know what her next step in life should be; she knows her parents expect her to go to college but is that something that she really wants to do? When Raya, and her cousin, promise their dying grandmother to live life to the fullest and be open to possibilities they decide to spend the summer at the ashram her grandmother met her grandfather. Upon arrival Raya is overwhelmed; the poverty that surrounds the ashram, the people she meets (from all walks of life) but especially by the handsome boy that seems to both fascinate and annoy her. As she begins to learn more about her grandmother Raya begins to realize that sometimes the best laid plans are ones that you don't make. Thanks to Hachette for the ARC!
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  • Maggie Brewer
    January 1, 1970
    Spoilers - I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted to say, "Ignore the recommendation on the back from Kim Kardashian and trust the one on the front from Deepak Chopra." The cultural, religious, and family references are really great, and the attempt to educate about human trafficking is good, but beyond that I had a real struggle. I've taught high school for a long time so I'm well aware what goes on and how kids act and talk, but I can't whole-heartedly recommend a book to my studen Spoilers - I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted to say, "Ignore the recommendation on the back from Kim Kardashian and trust the one on the front from Deepak Chopra." The cultural, religious, and family references are really great, and the attempt to educate about human trafficking is good, but beyond that I had a real struggle. I've taught high school for a long time so I'm well aware what goes on and how kids act and talk, but I can't whole-heartedly recommend a book to my students or to my friends for their kids that so gratuitously uses the f-word and where teenagers are having sex at an ashram.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed how Raya's story had similarities to her grandmother's story which in turn had its similarities to Shakuntala's story. This three-in-one telling of an ancient and much-loved Indian legend has so much depth. The road-not-chosen shown throughout each woman's tale. Your destiny will come to you if only you allow it. I am appreciative that "James Patterson Presents" makes it possible for us to experience this story, and I presume, others like it, from new people, places and experiences - i I enjoyed how Raya's story had similarities to her grandmother's story which in turn had its similarities to Shakuntala's story. This three-in-one telling of an ancient and much-loved Indian legend has so much depth. The road-not-chosen shown throughout each woman's tale. Your destiny will come to you if only you allow it. I am appreciative that "James Patterson Presents" makes it possible for us to experience this story, and I presume, others like it, from new people, places and experiences - it is a wonderful way to show that we have more in common that not.
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  • Beauty and the Book
    January 1, 1970
    Enthralling. This page turner has romance as well as an unexpected twist. Raya and Kiran's love story is one that encounters twists and turns but in the end this modern retelling of an Indian Myth truly keeps the reader entertained till the last page. The secondary characters such as Pilot, Pihu, and Anandi not only add to story, but also touch on important issues. The flow of the story and the way the characters are entangled with each other makes this YA novel truly unique and inspiring. I def Enthralling. This page turner has romance as well as an unexpected twist. Raya and Kiran's love story is one that encounters twists and turns but in the end this modern retelling of an Indian Myth truly keeps the reader entertained till the last page. The secondary characters such as Pilot, Pihu, and Anandi not only add to story, but also touch on important issues. The flow of the story and the way the characters are entangled with each other makes this YA novel truly unique and inspiring. I definitely recommend this novel and think it is one of the best YA novels of the year.
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  • Bickering Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf994...This book feels very unusual in the world of YA. Roy and Dash do a great job of including diverse characters that feel unlike what you would normally see in this type of book. However, the story is based on an Indian myth about love and the romance and love interest feel very weak. We received eARCS of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mish
    January 1, 1970
    Aside from a few typos (it is an ARC after all), this story was massively captivating, engaging, and very sweet overall.There were major themes of letting go, discovering truths, and honesty, right next to other themes like accountability, calling out those who need to, and listening to others around you--not just the words they are saying, but their meaning.Aside from that, this is a very cute story, and I loved the uncertainty of the ending.
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  • Kath (Read Forevermore)
    January 1, 1970
    **An arc of this book was sent to me by Jimmy Patterson Presentsthis book is one of the few books i just can't make up my mind about. there are some aspects where i just thought this book was eh, and the character connection was just nonexistent. and then there were certain spots where i was like, okay, this book is okay. but there isn't much i really loved about this book and i can say i skimmed over the majority of it.
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  • Jesheckah
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, I went into this book expecting a trite story about falling in love, and instead found a beautiful story of a woman's coming of age, the life choices that made her family, an exploration of spirituality, and deep commentary on sex trafficking. Real conflict, real choices, and even an owning of privilege. The story was beautiful, natural, and more than I could have ever asked for.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC in my December book hookup. This was a nice, sweet YA romance inspired by the myth of Shakuntala and Dushyanta. The tale moves from LA to Delhi to an ashram. The characters and plot read mostly true. Although all is not happiness throughout, I highly recommend this as escapist reading.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf994...Raya Liston isn't sure where her life will take her. Raya knows that she is going to UCLA in the fall. She was accepted and her parents expect her to go. However, Raya doesn't know what she will study once she gets there and who she will be when her education is finished. Raya's course in life changes when her beloved grandmother passes away and encourages Raya to visit an ashram in India. Once in a place that had help sha For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf994...Raya Liston isn't sure where her life will take her. Raya knows that she is going to UCLA in the fall. She was accepted and her parents expect her to go. However, Raya doesn't know what she will study once she gets there and who she will be when her education is finished. Raya's course in life changes when her beloved grandmother passes away and encourages Raya to visit an ashram in India. Once in a place that had help shape her grandmother Raya finds new loves, connects with her cousin, and finds her path in life. I love the idea of this book. The story of a half Indian/half African American teen girl traveling to her mother's homeland to connect with her family is great. Also, great is the idea of finding yourself and love while traveling. However, there are parts of this book dealing with issues (such as human trafficking) that just didn't feel like they fit the tone of the book or the rest of the story's narrative. Plus, I never really felt like I connected with the characters. Yet, 96 words for love is an interesting idea and I hope to see more YA lit based in classic literature other besides European lit but I would like the story to be a little more developed next time.I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the book and feel grateful that I was able to get an ARC in the goodreads contest. Overall I loved the story, but felt that the mini sub story toward the end along with the author's note on trafficked girls seemed a bit out of place as compared to the rest of the story. A more in-depth review will be on my blog within the next week.
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  • Sanya
    January 1, 1970
    This book started off a little bit slow and like every other standard YA novel and then transformed into something really beautiful by the end. It's a beautiful coming of age story that still resonates with me on such a personal deep level and tugs at all the right heart strings so that there's a couple tear drops left in my copy. I just wish I had another 100 pages of this.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher.At the moment, I'm going to have to put this down. I'm not enjoying it and the main character is getting on my nerves. I plan on trying again, maybe in the summer. Once I've given it another go, I'll update my review. Because I havent finished it (33% finished) I am not comfortable with giving it a rating.
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  • Makenna Fournier
    January 1, 1970
    I am going to keep this review short and sweet: I could not get past the writing in this book, and while I did push through this book, I didn't enjoy most of it. My advice for anyone interested is to download a sample from amazon if possible, if the writing doesn't bother you, give the book a chance, but if it does bother you, know that it doesn't get better.
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