title: Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood
date: March 2014
main character: Abby Spencer
When Abby has a traumatic reaction to coconut, her mom realizes that it’s time to bring Abby’s dad into the picture. What else might Abby have inherited from him? Of course, Abby has always wanted to know her dad and she’s always daydreamed about him. Reality turns out to be larger than what she ever imagined because her dad is a huge Bollywood star. Her father is a person with an incredible career but he’s also quite human so, his first reaction is to invite his daughter to come to Mumbai to visit him and his mother so that Abby can get to know her family.
Bajaj takes a story that has a glamorous appeal and manages to be believable. Rather than giving us an exotic India, she exposes young readers to the Bollywood scene and blends in harsh realities of the country in a meaningful but light-handed way. Abby’s dad is the most popular star in India, but he lives in a home with his mother and he employs people he trusts to manage his home and tend to his daughter when he’s working. There were a few glitches in the advanced copy that I read, but nothing to distract from this highly entertaining book. I’m sure it will appeal to young teens who enjoy to daydream, wonder and fantasize about their lives.
This is Varsha Bajaj’s debut novel. She was born in Mumbai, India and came to the US in the early 1980s.