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Asmara’s Summer by Andaleeb Wajid

My take on the book:

Asmara had her summer vacation plans sorted — travelling to Canada along with her parents, to visit her brother as his wife is expecting a baby. However, her plans are upset when her parents leave Asmara behind as her brother’s house cannot accommodate so many visitors. Left with no option, Asmara is forced to spend the next thirty days at her Nani’s house, in Tannery Road.

Asmara hated the congested lanes of Tannery Road, the residents, their fashion sense, the boys from that locality — she hated every aspect of Tannery Road all her life. As a grownup she never visited her Nani though they lived in the same city and now as she began her stay with resentment, she made a blunder on day one when she mistook her Nani’s neighbour and long-term friend Aktar Begum to be Nani’s house help.

What adventures await Asmara in these thirty days as she unexpectedly befriends Aktar Begum’s grandchildren, while running an Instagram account with a fake identity and discovers family secrets that have been hidden from her, forms the rest of the story.

As kids, summer holidays are what all of us looked forward to the entire year; that time of the year when you could do all fun activities, play favorite games, indulge in seasonal fruits, and visit relatives. Unfortunately, Asmara had to stay with Nani who was traditional and admonished her clothes, missed meeting her best friends, was getting roasted in the summer heat staying in her Nani’s terrace room without AC, could not take a shower when she wished; the list went on. The story highlights a teenage girl’s journey of thirty days during a summer vacation about all that could go wrong, but in a fun way.

The story begins in an interesting way but gets boring till Rukhsana and Farzaan’s characters enter. The story picks pace only after Asmara befriends Rukhsana. Their camaraderie and Asmara’s creative ideas for Rukhsana will keep the reader engaged. The author also shows the contrast between both the girls in a sensible way – how freedom and forward thinking of parents can help young girls build a successful career with skills and ideas they are passionate about.

Asmara begins as an intriguing character but turns a snob and rude girl after she reaches her Nani’s house. Nani’s character had to remind Farzaan and the reader that Asmara is feeling home sick and that is the reason for her weird behavior at times.

Compared to Asmara, Rukhsana feels like a layered character and of course Farzaan is the ideal guy in a teen romance. The climax and the sequences leading to it are bit dramatic but add much needed spice to the narration. Even with the highs and lows of the characters, the book in unputdownable till the end.

Asmara’s summer is a fun read for this summer especially for young adults.

My rating: