Wednesday, July 31, 2013

World Wednesday-- A Moment Comes

A Moment ComesBradbury, Jennifer. A Moment Comes. 
25 June 2013, Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Set in 1947, just as the Partition of India is about to take place, this book is from the point of view of three different young people involved in the process. Tariq is a Muslim, and his family is preparing to move to Pakistan. He doesn't want to go, because his grandfather convinced him that all of the people most instrumental in changing India went to Oxford in England, so he gets a job with an English cartographer in order to perhaps get a reference. Anupreet is Sikh, and sent to work in the English household to keep her safe from all of the violence in the streets, which also spread into a shop where she was, and resulted in her being attacked. She now has a bad scar on her face. Margaret would much rather be in England, but her father is the cartographer, and she herself was the object of some scandal after her liaison with an American soldier. Her mother feels that taking her to India will make the scandal subside, and that they might be able to meet up with Lady Mountbatten and her daughter Pamela, who are making all of the society newspapers because of their charitable work in India while Lord Mountbatten is arranging the details of the Partition. Tariq is drawn to Margaret a bit, because she is exotic and outspoken, but is also interested in Anu. Anu just wants to stay safe, and gets a glimpse of a totally different lifestyle when she is dealing with Margaret. Margaret thinks Tariq is cute, and would be glad of liaison, but is thwarted in her attempts. As the deadline for Partition draws closer, the three are thrown into closer contact and put in the middle of a dangerous situation.
Strengths: Not only did I learn a lot about British history, but the romance and intrigue made this a fast and interesting read. Margaret was fairly reprehensible, but this looks at an English girl abroad would be interesting to students who have gotten sucked in to Downton Abby. Bradbury does so many different types of books well, and this was a nice mix of many things. Definitely buying, even though it won't be wildly popular.
Weaknesses: Hard enough to get students to read history, much less the history of India. I really like Venkatraman's Climbing the Stairs, but it's tough to convince students to read it.

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