Review: In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen

4:42 PM

Time for another review!
Time to drag JESSICA PROCRASTINATING the review of this because she sucks. 

In the key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5) 

 As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Here's the thing: I feel like maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this book?

It's not that I didn't enjoy it (I definitely did!) but I did have a hard time focusing on it for prolonged periods of time, much like my experience with a few Sarah Dessen and John Green books in the past. I liked it well enough, but it didn't grip me. It had a very slow start that progressed and quickened as it went. So, there is a big chance that my review is going to be a bit all over the place.

Before I get started: despite my mixed reviews, and my constant stopping and starting, I never felt compelled to completely ditch the book. I always knew I was going to finish it, because I wanted to--so, that definitely ties into my thought process re: my mood. My mind was just not fully in it to win it, I guess. And, as always, my thoughts are my own and taste is subjective.

Instead of focusing on negatives, we're going to focus on the sheer brilliance of the other parts of this book. I find that a lot of my issues with it really were mood oriented and perhaps even just me growing out of YA books almost entirely these last two or so years. Because, when I look back on the story as a whole, there were so many qualities that I genuinely loved about it.

In the Key of Nira Ghani is, first and foremost, a hopeful sign of where YA will go in the years to come--finally, there are more and more diverse works of fiction coming out that have been needed for so long. It is a contemporary, coming of age story that features more than your standard release. It centers around a Guyanese character who is growing up in a way that is very true to life.

In the course of a book, we watch her as she grows and each chapter carries on some very important messages about one's self, judgment and the fact that people aren't always what they seem. In this moment of growth for our main character, we feel the weight of important messages told in a way that is poignant. We learn about ourselves, just as we learn about the characters in this book.

I liked that it took some very serious topics and balanced in some funny interactions, too, creating a sort of balance that is necessary in story telling.

While Natasha Deen's characters and plotlines at times fall into tropes that are a bit overused in YA, she doesn't use the tropes in the way that makes them generic. Instead, Deen creates characters that are developed beautifully. I think that the cast of characters is what makes up for parts of the novel I wasn't wholly keen on, because they were truly present and I loved it.

(And the dynamics! I loved.)

This isn't to say that other YA releases don't fully develop their characters, or relationships, it is just that they rarely do so in the ways that Deen has. She's take great care in doing so and crafted the vast majority of her characters in a way that feels real. You don't feel like they are merely characters.

At its core, it is a pure and simple coming of age novel that will truly stand its own ground amongst its contemporaries. Further, In the Key of Nira Ghani is beautiful promise of what is to come for its author. I can't wait to see where she goes, and I truly believe she is amongst the authors that will be around for years to come. I'm definitely going to look into some of her prior, and future, releases.

Overall, I thought that In the Key of Nira Ghani was pretty solid and intriguing. It's definitely a book that I may reread in the future to see if I missed something, to see if my original rating was merely a mood I was in. Natasha Deen is someone you'll want to be looking out for in the years to come!

This is the kind of book that needs to be kept in classrooms and school libraries.

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