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Monday, May 29, 2017

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Save Me a SeatSave Me a Seat is a great story told from two completely different points of view.  First we meet Ravi (accent on the vi) who has recently moved with his family from India to New Jersey.  It's a huge adjustment for Ravi, but he tries very hard to fit into his new culture.  In his previous school, Ravi is the star of the class.  He's smart, popular, and generally loves school.  The next character, Joe, has tried all his life to fit in, but is misunderstood by some classmates and even his well-meaning teacher, Mrs. Beam. To make matters worse, his best friend has just moved away.  What do these two boys have in common besides their school?  The class bully, Dillon. 
At first, Ravi is convinced that he and Dillon will be great friends because they are both Indian, but he doesn't see Dillon for who he really is until many mistakes have been made.  Joe is also tormented by Dillon, but tries to handle it in his own way.  After several sneaky tricks by Dillon, Ravi and Joe finally understand that what they have in common far outweighs their differences.
I really enjoyed reading Save Me a Seat.  I think the characters are very realistic and the situations they are in could happen in any school at any time.  I especially like Joe.  He's well aware of the differences between himself and some of the others, but he never lets it get the best of him.  He's kind, honest, and resilient without being a push-over.
This book offers the reader something extra to show how much Ravi and Joe have in common - a glossary of American slang as well as everyday Indian words and phrases.  It's surprising how similar they are. But wait, there's more!  Don't miss the recipes at the very end of the book.  First, Apple Crisp, an American favorite, followed by a recipe for Naan Khatais, a delicious Indian cookie.
Save Me a Seat was co-written by Gita Varadarajan, who was born in India and moved to the United States.  The other co-writer is Sarah Weeks, one of my favorite authors.  I hope you like reading Save Me a Seat.

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