Freedman, Paula J. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah
1 October 2013, Amulet Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Tara Feinstein is in middle school, and experiencing all of the confusing changes that go along with this age. Her parents are embarassing, she's not sure she believes in God (which is a problem, since she is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah), her friend Ben-O is sending her confusing signals, and she's just not sure who she is. She misses her mother's father, and worries that embracing her Jewish side might mean forgetting her Indian side. This fear is compounded by girls in her school who tell her she's not Jewish because her mother isn't ethnically Jewish, and generally give her a hard time.Can Tara figure out who she is, and how she will incorporate parts of her culture into her Bat Mitzvah celebration?
Strengths: Like Garcia's I Wanna Be Your Shoebox, there is a great character who is multicultural. While this does take up a lot of the action in the book, there are other things as well. I especially liked how Tara's aunt got along well with her Jewish grandmother-- mainly because they both liked to fight with her mother. There were lots of good details about both cultures, and I thought it was great that Tara wanted to have Indian food and wear a sari for her Bat Mitzvah.
Weaknesses: There was a LOT going on in this book. I might have cut out some of the girl drama, and I thought that Tara was overly clueless about Ben-o's interest in her. Still, very interesting book!