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Bibliophilic Monologues


Vanished - Sheela Chari This would make the perfect Disney movie. I'm just saying. Vanished is Sheela Chari's middle grade debut and it introduces a talented new storyteller to the genre. The reader gets to travel through Boston on the trail of a Veena and journey through the hot and crowded streets for the same Veena which proves to be an elusive instrument to track down. Vanished has many strong points. Some of those include:1. The multicultural visage of the story. Even though it is ostentatiously Indian in premise, the novel quite successfully portrays what it feels like to grow up "different" or at least as a minority. Especially when your peers may be making you feel uncomfortable about the identity you call your own. The identity that may be at odds with the culture you have adopted. In a time where being a minority is almost more normal than not, Vanished very carefully highlights the issues a child may face.2. Learning about the Veena. Honestly, even though I'm Indian by descent and I probably have heard the instrument some time, I had no idea what it actually was. So some research proved to be necessary and it opened up a whole new genre of music for me. I find its music a bit too...rich for my taste (if music can be too rich) but I like it in small doses. 3. The plot, the pacing and the characterizations are all well done. It should be a success with its intended audience.The only complaint I had (and really, it's not even a complaint, more like an observation) is that for older readers, this may seem a bit too young to relate to. This is definitely one of those books that you need to be a certain age to enjoy. At least in my opinion. But definitely a wonderful debut. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Chari comes up with next.