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A very modern moral dilemma explored in this witty and surprising novel about systemic racism, family, friendship and ultimately doing the right thing.
Recent research has highlighted the lack of diverse representation in central characters in books and films and more particularly that when they exist, they are there to highlight an ‘issue’ or social problem. So, this book is doubly important – not only do we have an Asian central character but the main issue at the heart of the book is the power of social media and the challenge to behave in an ethically responsible way- to do the right thing. The issue would have been the same with a white narrator. Added to that we have a joyous cast of characters reflecting the genuinely multiracial context in which real young people live. We have white, mixed race, Asian and Afro Caribbean best friends each humorously riffing on the foibles of their families’ culture and expectations. These are very real characters, high achievers who are not afraid to have fun. The author runs her own teenage reading group and her ear for dialogue is impeccable. Of course, there is a darker, thought provoking side too. Jeevan knows his female English teacher has it in for him and suspects this derives from an innate racism and when the opportunity to record an in flagrante liaison presents itself, this proves irresistible but is almost immediately regretted. Nothing is simplistically handled; all the moral nuances are thoroughly explored through Jeevan’s interactions with his friends and family. Even the implied sexism of exposing a female while protecting a more favoured male teacher becomes a very real issue. Research has demonstrated that low expectations of pupils of colour can be a real barrier to their achievement and it can be all too easy for schools to fall into this sort of systemic racism. But this is a school that, like Jeevan, can come good in the end. A book to confound and challenge expectations as well as to genuinely entertain.
Troika published The Girl in the Broken Mirror in May 2018. The Girl in the Broken Mirror was nominated for a Carnegie Medal
What do you do when you find out your teacher has unbelievably massive secret?
This is a young adult story exploring the differences between a contemporary Asian teenager’s upbringing and education compared to that of his parents’. Unlike them, Jeevan doesn’t have to deal with the difficulty of being the only Asian kid in his school but keeping your head under the radar is no longer the only way to get on, and Jeevan has to jeopardise all the advantages his parents have given him in order to stand up for what’s right.
Despite his hard work and brains, Jeevan, the fifteen-year-old protagonist of That Asian Kid, is doing badly in his GCSE English Literature class. His teacher, Mrs Greaves, dislikes him intensely and Jeevan is convinced that he is the victim of racial prejudice. Can he stand up for what’s right?
When he comes upon her in the woods outside school in a compromising situation with another teacher, Jeevan can’t help but film the scene on his phone. With this secret new ammunition at his fingertips – dare he upload it to social media? he prepares to take her on.
A strong, thought-provoking and enjoyable read by the author of The Girl in the Broken Mirror.
Praise for The Girl in the Broken Mirror:
The Girl in the Broken Mirror is an extremely powerful story, sensitively and acutely handled. A tour de force.’
‘Both harrowing and touching….the issues around abuse, culture clash and the disparities between Indian and British Asian culture are handled with sensitivity and honesty’ BAIL RAI
|Publication date:||28th August 2019|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4|
Savita Kalhan was born in India but moved to the UK when she was very young. She graduated with a joint honours degree in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Wales. She was a Batik artist and teacher before she turned to writing. Her debut novel, The Long Weekend, is described as an intensely compelling thriller which addresses the issue of stranger danger (published by Troika in 2020). Her most recent book was The Girl in the Broken Mirror published by Troika in 2018. Savita lives in London.More About Savita Kalhan