Review posted March 16, 2012.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 2011. 266 pages.
This is a completely fun book about a girl whose parents pick up and move to India for two years, leaving their home in Maryland behind -- and Dini's best friend, Maddie.
Dini hopes maybe, just maybe, it can work out for the best if she can meet the Bollywood film star, Dolly Singh.
Dini is a Dolly fan. She has been forever, from the time she discovered that Dolly's first movie, in which she was just a kid, came out the day -- the very day! -- that Dini was born. You can't be more closely connected than that.
Now, I should say that I am horribly prejudiced against books written in present tense. I'm not sure why, but it really bugs me. However, I read this one anyway, since it's a contestant in School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids' Books. And I have to admit that it grew on me so much that most of the time I didn't even notice the tense. Also going for it were Abigail Halpin's illustrations. She illustrated Penny Dreadful, by Laurel Snyder, and I love the feel her illustrations give a book -- telling you correctly that this is a nice, light-hearted, solid story with lots of fun.
This book did have lots of coincidences, but it felt right. The whole book is a tribute to Bollywood films, and I have a feeling (I don't actually know) that the coincidences may have made the book more like a Bollywood film, where everything works out happily in the end. There's even a dance number!
This is a great solid and entertaining middle grade story. I enjoyed reading it, and hope I can find some library members to recommend it to, because I think there are lots of kids who would enjoy it.