Review for "Rani Patel in Full Effect" by Sonia Patel (2016) Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Took it back to 2016 with this one, though I read this a little over a month ago. It’s a worthwhile but tough YA read, content warnings abound for rape and sexual abuse.
Rani is a 16 year old Indian American girl (Gujarati) living with her parents on Moloka’i, a remote island in Hawaii. Despite being a person of color, she is an outsider among the locals. She finds common ground with her peers through writing and performing raps under the alias MC Sutra in a hip hop collective about a variety of topics–racism, sexism, colonialism, female empowerment, etc. Often Rani’s raps about female empowerment are in direct conflict with her actions and decision making, which have been damaged due to her chaotic home life. Rani’s mother is emotionally absent, her father is out cheating on her mother with a much younger girl (in addition to some other foul things I won’t mention here in order to not spoil the book).
As far as the writing, this book seemed kinda thrown together. Some editing would have been nice here, at times it felt like sentences and different scenes were just strung together with no transitions at all. There’s also a lot of Gujarati and Hawaiian words that just show up organically with no translation at all. I don’t mind this (I’m in their story–remember), and the glossary at the back is a huge help. Just know that there’s a LOT of unfamiliar words here. You will work reading this.
Also, I strongly encourage you to read the author’s note in the back of the novel. The author details why Rani is so frustrating and makes unhealthy choices time and time again, despite all warnings to the contrary. It’s critical to understanding the book.
I gave this three stars–no more, no less.
3 thoughts on “Review: Rani Patel in Full Effect”
Thought it didn’t come together, I’m pumped for authors who take a change with YA. One YA author I’ve gotten into lately who isn’t mainstream (I haven’t heard another blogger mention her even though she just came out with a new book) is e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, who has two books with a fat lesbian protagonist. The writing can be a little disjointed at times, but she’s covering some heavy material.
Yes! I love YA that pushes boundaries, makes you think. I have read her book “Fat Angie” and thought it was ok, particularly for the material it covered. There is a new book out, where she picks up with the Fat Angie character. Will definitely read that one.
Yes, Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution. I liked it even better. Here is my review, if you are interested: https://grabthelapels.com/2019/05/24/fat-angie-rebel-girl-revolution/
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