Friday, August 23, 2013
Eleven-year old Dini loves movies—watching them, reading about them, trying to write her own—especially those oh-so-fabulous Bollywood movies where you don’t need to know the language to get what’s going on. But when her mother reveals some big news, it does not at all jibe with the script Dini had in mind. Her family is moving to India. And not even to Bombay, which is the “center of the filmi universe” (and home to Dini’s all-time most favorite star, Dolly Singh). No, they’re moving to a teeny, tiny town that she can’t even find on a map: Swapnagiri. It means Dream Mountain, a sleepy little place where nothing interesting can happen....
But wait a movie minute! Swapnagiri is full of surprises like rose petal milk shakes, mischievous monkeys, a girl who chirps like a bird, and...could it be…Dolly herself? -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers
THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Abigail Halpin is a wonderful middle grade book that I'm pretty sure I would have adored as a young girl... especially since I thought it was pretty darn cute as a middle aged mom! It's a sweet story about a very determined girl and it also gives a glimpse at life in India. It's no wonder that this novel received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.
THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING is about eleven year old Dini who adores all things Bollywood. She and her best friend Maddie are obsessed with watching Bollywood movies, despite not always understanding the language; and they both love the famous actress Dolly Singh. When Dini learns that her family is moving to the mountains of India for her mom's job, she's less than thrilled to leave her home and Maddie. What makes things even worse is that she's not even going to live in Bombay which is the hub for Bollywood movies.
Fortunately for Dini, her new life in Swapnagiri is much more exciting that she ever expected. The question is, "Can Dini handle all of this excitement and fix everything for everyone?"
I thought THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING was a terrific example of everything I love about middle grade fiction. It has an interesting main character who faces her fair share of challenges (and some that were probably outside her area of influence) while learning about herself and becoming a better person. It didn't hurt that it introduced what is probably a new culture to a lot of readers, and it also had a happy ending. Overall, I'd say it was an entertaining, feel-good book!
What I really liked about THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING was the character of Dini. She was a very strong and smart young girl who was determined to do whatever it took to meet Dolly... and then "fix everything" for her. As a young girl who moved quite a bit, I appreciated seeing how Dini dealt with not only the move to India, but also how she coped with making a new friend while missing her old one.
While I admit to having never seen a Bollywood movie, I imagine that the plot of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING was very similar to one. The book was fast-faced with lots of memorable characters (including monkeys!), and there was both sadness and humor. The ending was even a big party scene that I'm sure would play well in a Bollywood movie.
THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING is a delightful book that is sure to keep young girls entertained! It's a good thing that it's the first in a series! I can't wait to see what happens to Dini next.
Make sure you come back tomorrow to see my review of the sequel to THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING!
Thanks to Blue Slip Media and the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.