A novel in two acts—told eighteen years apart—gives voice to both mother (Ayesha) and daughter (Mira) after an unplanned teen pregnancy led Ayesha to place Mira up for adoption.
Seventeen-year-old Mira Fuller-Jensen was adopted by her moms at birth. All she knows about her biological mother is that she was a high-school student from India who returned to India after giving birth. Although Mira loves her moms, she’s always felt out of place in her mostly white community.
So when Mira finds an old box with letters addressed to her from her birth mother, she sees a way to finally capture that feeling of belonging. Her mother writes that if Mira can forgive her for having to give her up, she should find a way to travel to India for her eighteenth birthday and meet her. Mira knows she’ll always regret it if she doesn’t go. But is she actually ready for what she will learn?
Note: Thank you to Coloured Pages and the publishers for sending me an e-arc. This does not affect my opinions and review in any manner.
Meet Me in Mumbai is such a heartwarming and emotional journey of two young women trying to find their way in life. I found the writing style to be very smooth and gripping. The pace that the author set was perfect and as a result I couldn’t stop reading this book. It’s quite easy to find yourself reading page after page even though the content can often be heavy and emotional.
Since we’re looking at two timelines I had assumed that they would be interwoven and we would get narrations from both of them in a back and forth manner, but that was not the case. Instead we first follow Ayesha, Mira’s mother and then get to see Mira’s journey going forward. While the choice threw me for a few chapters I think it was the best way to write the book and the author truly did justice to both our main characters.
Ayesha’s story starts off as what seems like the perfect love story and then turns into something much more daunting and filled with hardship. The romance was very well written and I was quickly swept away in Ayesha’s life and thoroughly invested, despite having an idea of where things go. While I haven’t been in any of the situations that Ayesha has been, I could connect with her because of her desi identity and it was really heartbreaking to see everything she had to go through. I connected a little less with Mira who I found a little immature. I didn’t agree with a lot of her choices but looking back I realise she has been written as a messy teenager who’s still trying to find herself and I really can’t fault her character on that. In both timelines I thought we had an amazing and mostly supportive cast of side-characters who were surprisingly well fleshed out despite the little time they appeared in the story.
The course of the story was rather predictable for me and I think the ending was wrapped up as a happily ever after where everything gets sorted out. While that’s not very realistic and I had some issues with how Ayesha’s romantic arc ended I do get the appeal of the ending for many people, especially if we’re looking at teens. And I would say this book would appeal more to younger YA readers.
In the end, I really liked this book. I think Meet Me in Mumbai is a great example of a short YA book. I keep saying you don’t need to have dragged out 500 page long contemporary YA books. The author packed so much emotion and what-not in such few pages and I really admire her for that. Would definitely recommend that you all pick this one up if it seems like your cup of tea!
Sabina Khan is the author of the upcoming YA novel MEET ME IN MUMBAI, as well as ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois, and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world.
Have you read Meet Me in Mumbai or is it on your TBR?
Have you read any other books by the author?
What was the last short YA book that you read and loved?