2014 · 4 stars · contemporary · mg

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj
Pub. Date: March 1, 2014
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (thank you, Albert Whitman & Company!!)
Summary: What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star–in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary

Last year I fell head-over-heels for My Basmati Bat Mitvah, a Middle Grade novel about with a Jewish-Indian girl and how she comes to terms with her identity. Since then I have been on a huge Hindu/Indian kick and I’m pleased to say Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood didn’t disappoint!

Abby Spencer grew up not knowing her father. She knew his name and that her parents met in college, but shortly after the semester ended, her dad flew back to India while he mom stayed home in Houston, fully unaware at the time that she was pregnant. Thirteen years later, Abby has finally accepted that her dad just isn’t going to be a part of her life. Everything changes when she has an allergic reaction. Suddenly her missing father is all she can think about and, with her mother’s help (and perseverance), Abby tracks down her dad – and she’s in for a surprise! Kabir Kapur now goes by the name Naveen Kumar and he’s the biggest Bollywood star in India!

Several phone calls and Skype sessions later, Abby finds herself catching a plane to Mumbai for her Thanksgiving break. She’ll finally meet the dad she’s never known (as well as a grandmother!) and experience the live of the rich and famous. Unfortunately, Abby has to keep her identity a secret – Naveen’s first directorial premiere is in a few days and the press would be ruthless if they found out about a long-lost daughter.

This book is too cute! I devoured it in a single sitting and wanted more – a good thing! Much like Basmati, the characters in this novel felt real and were wonderfully fleshed-out. The parents were fully present, Abby’s besties were wonderful friends, and the setting was remarkably vivid! So vivid in fact, that I’ve developed something of a Bollywood obsession!

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood is a slim thing of a novel with a lightning fast pace. Despite my enjoyment of the book, there’s not a whole lot to be said. POC characters are always a plus in my book and the craft and care that went into the characters made my heart swell. It looks like my craving for Indian literature won’t be slowing down anytime soon! This was a lovely book and one definitely worth checking out.

Notable Quote

It felt weird though to have these two sides of my family who had not met each other. Like the two banks of a river and I was the bridge. They were all a part of me. Why couldn’t they be a part of each other?


3 thoughts on “Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

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