Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma. I’ll share my review with you and there is a tour wide giveaway.
Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.
As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.
The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
When I first came across The Rearranged Life in a tour e-mail I knew I had to read this book, so I signed-up for the tour and was excited to receive a review copy. The plot with an Indian girl who falls in love with an American boy sounded interesting and I was looking forward to learn more about Indian culture. When I started this book there were some clichés and the plot was predictable and I couldn’t get used to the writing style. But I am happy I continued reading as it got better and better after the rough start.
Like I mentioned I had some issues with the writing style of this author as it didn’t flow smoothly in some places, like there was a fast forward, but then a scene was throw in of something that happens during the forward and it just felt a bit weird as you didn’t really got to experience the scene. There are a few incidents like that and they felt a bit jarring.
What I loved most about this book was the story, it’s a beautiful story of an Indian girl who falls in love with an American boy and the struggles they go through to be together. The differences between their cultures and the power of love. It’s about finding yourself, going through hard things and making decisions. Taking control of your life even when it takes turns you don’t expect.
I liked learning more about Indian culture, there’s a wedding the main character visits in the begin of the book and some scenes about Indian food and their house and family in India and why the arranged marriages exists and I was surprised how open these arranged marriages are. It’s not like they didn’t had a say in the matter and the families tried to make matches that worked. It was all interesting to hear. And I was happy every time I recognized an Indian dish, although there were even more that I had never heard of before.
I liked the characters and I could easily relate to Nithya, she’s a good girl, who does what is expected of her. She is a genuinely nice person and I recognized a few traits I have myself as well. She grows and changes a lot during this book and I loved seeing those changes and seeing her finding her path in life. This book is more about that, finding your path in life and the difficulties of dealing with what you want and what is expected and what happens if things don’t work out as planned. I also liked Sophia, Luca, James and James and Nithya their families. The focus is on Nithya, but we still get a feel for the other characters as well.
Then there’s the romance, while I liked the romance and though they were good for each other, I never really felt their emotions and feelings. I always felt like there was a bit of a distance, more like telling a story than experiencing it. On paper I liked their romance, but I never really felt their connection. There is a bit of a love triangle, but it’s not really fair to call it that as it isn’t how it’s usually is in books. I liked how it was handled and how it also showed the other option. James and Nithya keep some lies by omission at first and I didn’t like that Nithya didn’t tell him things earlier. And then there was this part where I had expected more of James and it was just a bit disappointing on both sides. After that their romance went in a direction I did like and I was also happy with the ending.
The book has a bit of an open ending, it doesn’t wrap things up nicely but leaves things open., Normally I don’t like that, but I think it was done well here and the open ending fit the book and the last chapter was written in a way that you did have some idea of what comes next, but the main character even describes it as an open road and that’s how it ends as well.
To conclude: I really enjoyed this book, the begin was a bit slow and cliché, but after that I really liked this book. The characters are great and it’s a beautiful story about finding your path in life. I also liked learning more about Indian culture and how the arranged marriages work. I had some issues with the writing style as it didn’t flow well in some places, but that’s a minor issue. And while I liked the romance and think they are good for each, I didn’t really feel it, they also keep some secrets at first which I didn’t like. The ending was a bit open, but it really fit the story and I liked how the book ended.
About the Author:
Annika Sharma was born in New Delhi and brought up in the United States, where she moved with her parents as a baby. A proud alum, she graduated from Penn State University with dual degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology, and minors in Biology and Human Development and Family Studies. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education before pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer, landing her agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group while daylighting as a preschool teacher. The Rearranged Life, her first novel, was written in the month before graduate school.
Annika, a Gryffindor and Scorpio, spends much of her time dreaming of adventure, working on her next book, going on Starbucks runs with family and friends, shopping online and watching superhero movies.
The Rearranged Life, will be hitting shelves on May 15th, 2015, published by Curiosity Quills Press.