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You bring the distant near
2017
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Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, an exploration of sisterhood, first loves, friendship and the inheritance of culture traces a family that is shaped by Indian-American identity, a forbidden biracial love affair and social activism. By the author of Rickshaw Girl. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

From 1965 through the present, an Indian American family adjusts to life in New York City, alternately fending off and welcoming challenges to their own traditions. - (Baker & Taylor)

Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture—for better or worse. - (McMillan Palgrave)

A 2017 National Book Award Longlist Title with five starred reviews!
One of School Library Journal's Best Books of 2017!
One of The New York City Public Librariy's Notable 50 Best Books for Teens!

This elegant young adult novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse.

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

Mitali Perkins has written novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (a NYPL Top 100 Book) and Bamboo People (an ALA Top 10 YA novel). Tiger Boy is a Junior Library Guild selection. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India, and has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana. She currently resides in San Francisco, where she is a lecturer at Saint Mary's College of California. - (McMillan Palgrave)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* How do you make a sweeping family saga feel present and relevant for a teen audience? Jump across time and space and highlight just those pivotal adolescent moments that are as unifying as they are unique: starting a new school, claiming one's faith, embracing one's identity, or falling in love. Perkins has created a resonant and memorable tale that is both episodic and wholly unified. Sonia and Tara Das immigrate to New York City with their parents in the 1970s. They are swept into the culture of the vibrant city and quickly push back at their mother Ranee's traditional expectations of good Indian girls, while their more permissive father encourages Tara's acting, Sonia's activism, and independence for both. Twenty year later, their decisions echo in the lives of their own daughters. Sonia's daughter, Chantal, challenges her family to understand her biracial identity, while Tara's daughter, Anna, takes a stand to defend her rights in a creative and stylish way. It is Anna and Chantal who ultimately bring Ranee's character to life as the granddaughters, foils for each other, bear witness to Ranee's personal awakening after the 9/11 attacks. Full of sisterhood, diversity, and complex, strong women, this book will speak to readers as they will undoubtedly find a kindred spirit in at least one of the Das women. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

The novel follows the Indian Das family from their 1970s immigration to the U.S. through the next few decades, showing conflicts involving cultural sensibilities, identity, interracial relationships, and geographic distance. If ever the intricate complexities of immigrant families living between homelands were in doubt, Perkins has laid those doubts to rest in an ambitious narrative illuminating past and present, departure and reunion, women and family. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

In 1973 the Das sisters, Tara and Sonia, with their mother Ranee, join their father in New York City. Ranee is determined that her family will take advantage of the opportunities America offers even as she tries to fight the "corruption" of her daughters' cultural sensibilities (including making friends who are black). By the early eighties, after the family has moved to a "good" neighborhood in suburban New Jersey, Tara has embraced American style and confidently works toward a dream of acting, eventually becoming a star in India; while Sonia, to her mother's horror, dives into the women's rights movement and an interracial relationship. Two decades later, Sonia's daughter Shanti and Tara's daughter Anna each feels pulled in two directions. Shanti's struggle is an internal one, between not being Indian enough or black enough even within her own family; and Anna's is geographical, torn between her love of Mumbai, where she has spent most of her life, and New York, where she is expected to attend high school and college. If ever the intricate complexities of immigrant families living between homelands were in doubt--if there was some misconceived notion of a cookie-cutter experience when navigating borders and integrating cultures--Perkins has laid those doubts unquestionably to rest in an ambitious narrative that illuminates past and present, departure and reunion, women and family. anastasia m. collins Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Perkins' latest, inspired by the author's own experience as the youngest of three sisters who arrived in the United States in the 1970s, is told in alternating voices across three generations. This saga tells the intertwined stories of Ranee Das, the matriarch, who uproots her family from Ghana (and then the United Kingdom) to find fortune in the United States; Sonia and Tara, her daughters, who struggle with identity and acceptance; and Anna and Chantal, Ranee's granddaughters, who fight injustices at home and in their communities. As in the author's other books, this novel features inspiring South Asian girl and women protagonists grappling with love, faith, and culture, as well as the intersections among their personal, communal, and national histories. The chapters from Ranee's point of view, highlighting her redemptive transformation from racist mother-in-law to doting grandmother to a half-black grandchild, and those told in Sonia's and Tara's voices, including their tu rns from awkward and aspiring immigrant teenagers to New York Times reporter and Bollywood star respectively, are lushly drawn and emotionally resonant. The final third of the book, however, from the points of view of Anna and Chantal, is less so; its plotlines—Anna's quest to redecorate her elite private school's locker rooms and Chantal's wrecking of her rich, white boyfriend's Porsche—seem contrived and hastily written. While "issues" permeate the book (war, migration, racism, colorism, body positivity, environmentalism), they are more deftly woven into the narrative in the earlier, historical chapters than the later, contemporary ones. Although the book loses steam and heart toward the end, the earlier chapters, moving and rich in character and setting, make up for it. (Historical fiction/fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Perkins (Bamboo People) delivers an unforgettable novel that spans decades and continents as it moves among three generations of Indian women, some new immigrants to the U.S., all struggling to bridge cultures. She begins in 1965 with sisters Sonia and Tara Das as they move from Ghana to London and then New York City, eager for new opportunities but very aware of the cultural expectations of their Bengali parents. The stories of Sonia's romantic and political rebellion (she's a devoted liberal and later marries a black man, sparking a rift with her mother) and Tara's acting aspirations segue into those of Chantal and Anna, their daughters, as the novel jumps ahead to 1998. It's a profound and moving story of personal growth—perhaps most dramatically in the case of Sonia and Tara's mother, Ranee, whose dourness and preoccupation with tradition give way to a broader embrace of American culture as she takes to the role of grandmother. Perkins's vibrantly written exploration of a family in transition is saturated with romance, humor, and meaningful reflections on patriotism, blended cultures, and carving one's own path. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Related in the alternating voices of two sisters and their respective daughters, this work captures the unique and, at times, fraught experience of navigating multiple cultures. Perkins examines the delicate balance between meeting family expectations and attaining personal happiness, a common motif in immigrant narratives. The story opens in 1970s New York, where the Das family has immigrated from England in hopes of planting roots and finding acceptance. Desperate for the adolescent freedoms they lacked in London, the teens chafe against their mother Ranee's traditional Indian values. Older sister Tara (Starry) longs to be an actress, and budding feminist Sonia (Sunny) craves autonomy. The relationship between Sunny and Ranee is at the crux of the novel, representing the collision and ultimate blending of cultures. In the United States, Ranee struggles in vain to hold on to her "Indianness," not only for herself, but also for her children. While Starry follows through on her entertainment dreams in Bollywood, it's a slightly rougher path for Sunny. Perkins does not shy away from the complexities of race and culture with her realistic depiction of painful estrangement between mother and daughter when Sunny marries Lou, a black man. It is only through her connection to her granddaughters, Chantal and Anna that Ranee finds redemption and transformation. This novel underscores the importance creating a home no matter where you are in the world. VERDICT This stunning book about immigration and cultural assimilation is a must-purchase for teen and new adult collections.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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