Author: Allison Singh
Release Date: January 26, 2012
Can you really fall in love with a partner picked by your parents? This is the question explored in Allison Singh's new YA novel, Rearranged. For the hopelessly romantic Neha Patel, the only thing worse than an arranged marriage is disappointing her parents. So when she's suddenly taken to India to meet her future husband, Neha drags along her best friend Jenny, a jaded child of divorce, to help derail the plan. What they find in India forever rearranges their understanding of the world, love and themselves.
Told from three points of view (Neha, Jenny and Anand, the boy Neha is arranged to marry), Rearranged explores cross-cultural relationships, the diversity of the Indian immigrant experience, the "forgotten" India, and the universal nature of love.
Wow… this book was amazing! I loved it soooooo much. I had never, ever read a book that really delved into Indian culture and I was fascinated. I didn’t know much about the culture and reading this book really taught me a lot about Indian language, customs, and traditions. I loved reading all the Indian words, and feeling very “American” for not knowing what many of them meant, but at the same time I felt like I was being invited into Neha’s life by being provided with glimpses of her language.
The story seemed very interested right from the beginning, what really intrigued me was the fact that through reading this I would be able to imagine what an arranged marriage must be like. I didn’t expect to come away with so much knowledge of the country and a deep understanding for the characters. Not only did I come to fully understand Neha and her motives, but also her American friend, Jenny. Jenny was a great friend to Neha, she was there for her when Neha didn’t know English and she stuck with her all through her arranged marriage ordeal.
I admired Jenny’s determination to help Neha, knowing full well that she might not be able to help at all. She followed Neha through it all, even if she had to visit a country, where she would become the stranger, the foreigner who might not be accepted. She was truly determined to stop Neha and Anand from getting married. Though she quickly began questioning her motives (once she befriended Anand), she pushed through her doubts and remained a true friend to Neha.
I loved that the book was narrated from Neha, Jenny, and Anand’s point of views. It really gave me a wider perspective of what was going on and a better understanding of each of the main characters. One of my favorite characters was Vikol. AWWW… I just wanted to hop on a plane to India and adopt him. He was a little boy who was a servant at the Patel household. He was practically invisible and lived with the family, tending to their every need. It broke my heart every time I read something about him, while reading I wished that the author hadn’t included him, because it made me so sad to read about him, but I ended up really appreciating his presence. It tugged at my heart and I think he’ll be one of those characters that we read about that we remember many years after reading the book.
Overall, the whole book was great. I loved every single part of it, and I was very surprised with how the plot developed as the story went on. Every detail was educational to me and I just wished it hadn’t ended. I loved this book!