Mitali Perkin’s Monsoon Summer tells the story of likeable Jasmine Gardner’s summer in India. Her mother was adopted as a tot from an orphanage where she gets a grant to start a clinic. Leery at first, India’s monsoon madness eventually infects even guarded Jazz as she opens her heart to her mother’s homeland and uses her business acumen to help Danita, an orphan and friend whose considering marrying a rich geezer for financial security. Throughout the summer Jazz worries about her friend/object of unrequited love, Steve who’s back in Berkeley running their business and fending off cool girls.
I enjoyed the characters especially Jazz who overcomes her own doubts and preconceptions about herself as the summer progressives. The teen novel shows a realistic encounter with a different culture and addresses issues bi-cultural people feel as they come to terms with their identity and how others relate to them. This won’t be the last of Perkin’s books for me.