Darnton, Kate. Chloe in India
January 12th 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Chloe and her sister Anna were not thrilled when their family moved to India to help their mother's career as a news reporter, but at least Anna is fitting into Premium Academy better than Chloe. Chloe desperately wants to be friends with the popular Anvi, but can't keep herself from doing silly things that alienate her from her classmates, like trying to dye her blonde hair black with magic marker. When two underprivileged girls, Lakshmi and Meher join the class, Chloe tries to befriend them since no one else does, but this makes staying friends with Anvi very difficult. When there is a dance competition for an awards day, Lakshmi and Chloe practice and are given the honor of performing, but this makes Anvi angry, and she uses her high powered father to threaten Lakshmi's home in the slums. Lakshmi backs out of the dancing, but Chloe encourages her to stay in, and brings in her journalist mother to help save the family home.
Strengths: The author has drawn on her experiences with her own children in Indian schools, and framing typical middle school girl drama in an entirely new setting is very interesting. The details about a school for Americans and well-to-do Indians are very well drawn.
Weaknesses: While I am always on the lookout for books set in other countries, I would prefer that they be from the point of view of native citizens rather than US ones. There were times when Chloe's opinions about things seemed at odds with the opinions of the citizens, and I wasn't comfortable seeing the country through a foreign lens.
Verdict: This was interesting and well done, but not the story I wanted to be able to give to my students, so I won't be buying it.