Meet Me in Mumbai

Meet Me in Mumbai
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Release Date
September 06, 2022
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From the author of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali and Zara Hossain Is Here. Ayesha is on her own, far from home, when she's faced with a choice that will change her life forever.
Ayesha is a world away from home when she meets the boy of her dreams. Like her, Suresh is from India but going to high school in Illinois. Once they get together, they are inseparable... until a twist of fate takes Suresh back to India right when Ayesha discovers she's pregnant. Suddenly she feels she's on her own, navigating the biggest decision she'll ever make.

Seventeen years later, Ayesha's daughter Mira finds an old box with letters addressed to her from her birth mother. Although Mira loves the moms who adopted her, she's intrigued to discover something more about her history. In one letter, Ayesha writes that if Mira can forgive her for what she had to do, 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?

From the author of the "heart-wrenching yet hopeful" (Samira Ahmed) novel, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, comes a timely story about two teenage girls forced to understand the power and consequences of their choices.

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1 review
emotional and hopeful read
(Updated: January 08, 2023)
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MEET ME IN MUMBAI is a moving story of family and tough choices. The book begins in the year 2000 with just-turned-18 Ayesha taking a pregnancy test and finding out it is positive. She reflects on what led to the test and then considering what she should do about it. Ayesha came to the US for her senior year of high school to have a better chance at going to an American college. She misses home in Mumbai, and connects with a boy from there as well, falling quickly in love. When she finds out she is pregnant and he has no interest in her, she must decide what is right for her, and her path ends up being adoption.

Seventeen years later, Mira stumbles upon a box in the garage that seems to contain things from her birth mother. She has had a supportive and loving life with her mothers, and she considers what this box means. Finding letters from her birth mother, Mira must confront what her life is like and how this may have differed from that of her birth mother as well how little she knows of her birth culture, considering both her moms are white. One of the letters invites her to meet with her birth mother on her eighteenth birthday in Mumbai, and Mira has a tough decision to make about whether she wants to go through with the potential meeting.

What I loved: This was such an engrossing and consuming read. While the synopsis sounds like the book is about Mira, the first half of the book is about Ayesha in the past. The book itself was framed around the decisions she made and her experience through the pregnancy, particularly the choices she had around what to do and the relationship between her and the father. The story comes full circle with Mira's perspective seventeen years later, when she is researching her own past.

Ayesha and Mira live in different worlds and times, but they share a hope for the future, resourcefulness, a strong sense of family, and good friends to lean on. Ayesha is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, what that means for her relationship with her family, and what she is going to do about it with respect to not only her future but also her family. The story does not delve too deeply into the negative emotions as she struggles with these decisions, but it presents her options and paths she choose in a way that felt relatable.

Mira lives a different life as the brown child of white mothers who does not have any connections to her birth culture. As she explores the box of her birth mother, she also considers what she is missing and connects with others that have closer ties to the desi community. She connects with her heritage in this way while she also navigates her feelings toward her parents and not wanting to disappoint them. Her moms are caring and supportive. They certainly have their own feelings, but it is apparent that they want what is best for her.

The style of the story was unique, immersing the reader into Ayesha's story before turning to Mira. It was almost like two connected novellas, and I ended up really appreciating the format, as there was not the back-and-forth that you often have with two timelines. It really worked well as a style to bring both young women to life.

Final verdict: An emotional story of family and tough decisions, MEET ME IN MUMBAI is an engrossing and hopeful YA read that pulls the reader into the stories of Ayesha and Mira.
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