A luminous story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship. Perfect for fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson.
Praise for American Betiya
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2022
A YALSA Best Best Fiction for Young Adults
A Cosmopolitan Best 100 Books of All Time
A Book Riot best YA Book of 2021
A South Asia Book Award 2022 honoree
A Children's Cooperative 2022 Best Book of the Year
A 2022 Nerdy Book Club Best Novel Award Winner
Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in--his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art--make him her mother's worst nightmare.
They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver's troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself--and what's really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.
Winner of SCBWI's Emerging Voices award, Anuradha D. Rajurkar takes an honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. Braiding together themes of sexuality, artistic expression, and appropriation, she gives voice to a girl claiming ownership of her identity, one shattered stereotype at a time.
"A brave, beautiful exploration of identity--those thrust upon us, and those we forge for ourselves." --Elana K. Arnold, award-winning author of What Girls Are Made Of
Rajurkar's debut presents a bittersweet, searingly honest view of an Indian American teenager's journey through first love. Eighteen-year-old Rani Kelkar has always been the perfect Indian betiya (daughter) to her highly traditional parents, even praised in the family's community for her planned-on career in medicine. Then she meets Oliver Jensen at an art exhibition he's tattooed, pierced, artistic, and white, and she knows that her parents would disapprove of him deeply, even if she were allowed to date. But when he asks her out, she finds herself unable to refuse, leading to the start of a riveting secret relationship. Oliver initially seems perfect, but the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes how uncomfortable he can make her. Rani must confront the possibility that something more problematic than mere interest underlies his obsessive focus on her Indian heritage. The novel sparkles with emotional intensity; its straightforward exploration of race and romance enables Rani to make her own mistakes as she navigates her first relationship. Though some supporting characters rely heavily on cultural stereotypes, the majority of the cast, including Rani's feminist best friend Kate, are nuanced personalities, and Rajurkar's tight prose facilitates a gripping plot. Ages 12 up.