Friday, October 6, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Title: Pashmina
Author: Nidhi Chanani
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Pages: 176
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri's mom avoids these questions--the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she's ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.

Not too long ago I received mystery package in the mail and inside that package was Pashmina, a beautiful graphic novel about an Indian-American girl who desperately wants to know more about the country her mother is from. I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened it and I will totally admit this is not a book I would usually pick up, but I am so glad Pashmina found its way to my doorstep!

Priyanka is an incredibly relatable main character. She wants to know more about her background, especially why her mother left India, and isn't satisfied with her mom's non-answers. When she finds an old pashmina in an old suitcase, she finally has the chance to learn something of India, but in a totally gorgeous and magical way! I loved following Pri on her journey for answers about her family and herself, both through her magical pashmina and in real life.

The way this book discusses different cultures, religions, and types of families was perfect. Priyanka was forced to face the non-magical elements of her heritage and daily life in India and the author did a great job of encapsulating the emotions Priyanka felt. I also really enjoyed the different relationships Pashmina explores, especially between Pri and her aunt.

Of course, we have to talk about the art! I absolutely judge a book by its cover and I also judge a graphic novel by its art style. There are some I won't touch with a ten foot pole, but Pashmina was absolutely gorgeous! There was a distinct difference between the real world and the magical world of the pashmina and both had their own merits. I loved the way the art made the story come to life.

There were times I found myself a little bored with Pashmina, but overall I thought it was a very well-written coming of age story. This is definitely a book I would buy for my ten-year-old niece. In fact, I just added it to my Christmas shopping list (but don't tell her)!