A fresh, witty rom-com romp set against the backdrop of a high-profile music competition and a riotous Indian wedding
Zurika Damani is a naturally gifted violinist with a particular love for hip hop beats. But when you’re part of a big Indian family, everyone has expectations, and those certainly don’t include hip hop violin. After being rejected by Juilliard, Zuri's last hope is a contest judged by a panel of top tier college scouts. The only problem? This coveted competition happens to take place during Zuri’s sister’s extravagant wedding week. And Zuri has already been warned, repeatedly, that she is not to miss a single moment.
In the midst of the chaos, Zuri’s mom is in matchmaking mode with the groom’s South African cousin Naveen—who just happens to be a cocky vocalist set on stealing Zuri’s spotlight at the scouting competition. Luckily Zuri has a crew of loud and loyal female cousins cheering her on. Now, all she has to do is to wow the judges for a top spot, evade getting caught by her parents, resist Naveen’s charms, and, oh yeah . . . not mess up her sister’s big fat Indian wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
In Atlanta, hip-hop violinist Zurika "Zuri" Damani dreams of a career in music. After being rejected by Juilliard—to which she applied unbeknownst to her family, who think she's pursuing pre-law like her sisters—she hopes to compete in an area contest judged by a panel of college scouts. Unfortunately, the competition takes place during her sister's "biggest, fattest, most Indianist wedding," and Zuri's family has warned repeatedly that she is not to miss a minute. "It's time to put away the violin and focus on your responsibilities," her older sister Urvi tells her. Further complicating Zuri's ambitions are her family's matchmaking attempts with the groom's cousin from South Africa, whom Zuri soon discovers is a vocalist—and a fellow competitor. Set over the span of a week, Patel's (The Knockout) YA outing is uneven, with a plodding pace and sometimes indiscernible characters. But the author provides a sweeping portrait of the South Asian diaspora, and offers an affectionate and lushly detailed window into the family's wedding experience— "nutty almond barfi, buttery peda, coconutty chum chum, and gooey orange jalebi (yes!)." Ages 13–up.