by Uma Krishnaswami
First sentence: “Dolly Sing’s fabulous face floats across the screen of the TV in the family room.”
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Dini is in love with Bollywood movies. She loves the music and the scenery and the stars. Especially Dolly Singh. Even though she really loves everything about the movies, they are just that, movies: fictional, far away in India, which is a place to visit not to stay.
Then her mom tells her that they will be moving to a village in India, Swapnagiri. For two whole years. It’s traumatic! How can Dini leave her best friend, Maddie? How can she adapt to living in a small village instead of big Tacoma Park, Maryland? How can she make new friends? And she doesn’t even have a chance of meeting Dolly because Swapnagiri isn’t anywhere near the Bollywood capital of Mumbai.
And yet, almost like a Bollywood film, things seem to work out. There’s a girl close to Dini’s age that may be an okay friend — though Dini would never, ever forget Maddie. There seems to be some sort of Bollywood magic at work when they find out that Dolly is actually staying in Swapnagiri. And, maybe, just maybe, Dini can work some magic herself and get Dolly and her estranged fiance back together again.
The key to this one, if you haven’t already noticed, is Bollywood. It really is a Bollywood movie in book form: magical, sweet, a bit of humor, with everything all nice and tidy wrapped up in a neat little bow. There are no song-and-dance numbers, but music does play a role. And Dini is our perfect Bollywood heroine: sweet, kind, and yet not quite perfect. She does mess things up, but she’s doggedly determined to make the best of things.
Cute and sweet, it’s a good one to hand to hand to girls, especially ones who are Bollywood fans.