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Damselfly : a novel
2018
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Indian-American teenager Samantha Mishra, her best friend Mel Sharpe, and the other members of the Drake Rosemont Academy fencing team are on their way to Tokyo when their plane crashes on a jungle-choked island, so while they hope for rescue, the teens will need to use all their ingenuity to survive the jungle, the old man who is stalking them--and each other. - (Baker & Taylor)

When their plane crashes on a jungle-choked island, Samantha, Mel, and the other members of the Drake Rosemont Academy fencing team will need to use all their ingenuity to survive the jungle, the person who is stalking them--and each other. - (Baker & Taylor)

Their survival is in their own hands...Samantha Mishra opens her eyes and discovers she's alone and injured in the thick of a jungle. She has no idea where she is, or what happened to the plane taking her and the rest of the Drake Rosemont fencing team across the Pacific for a tournament. Once Sam connects with her best friend, Mel, and they find the others, they set up shelter and hope for rescue. But as the days pass, the teens realize they're on their own, stranded on an island with a mysterious presence that taunts and threatens them. Soon Sam and her companions discover they need to survive more than the jungle... they need to survive each other.This taut novel, with a setting evocative of Lord of the Flies, is by turns cinematic and intimate, and always thought-provoking.
- (Scholastic)

In the wake of crash-landing on a deserted tropical island, a group of private-school teens must rely on their wits and one another to survive.
- (Scholastic)

Author Biography

Chandra Prasad is the originator and editor of Mixed, an anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience. She is also the author of several critically acclaimed novels for adults, including On Borrowed Wings. Damselfly is her YA debut. A graduate of Yale, Chandra lives and works in Connecticut. To find out more, visit her online at chandraprasad.com.
- (Scholastic)

Flap Cover Text

Looking around, I didn’t know where my old world had gone. The brick, slate, and stone of Drake Rosemont Preparatory Academy were nowhere to be found.

I was in what looked to be a jungle. The vegetation was thick, lush, impenetrable as a wall. I pushed away vines, mossy branches, and leaves the size of manhole covers. My brown school oxfords made sucking sounds as I walked. I felt as if I were being pulled down, as if the jungle might consume me.

When my foot landed ankle-deep in mud, I was forced to stop and try to pull myself together. What I needed was some water. I reached for my bottle in a side compartment of my backpack, then realized I wasn’t carrying anything. I had nothing but the clothes I was wearing.

What the hell happened to me?

Advance Praise for Damselfly:

"Chandra Prasad gives us a terrifying, modern-day Lord of the Flies, rendered in exquisite and exacting prose. A brave take on teen cruelty, identity, mixed race experience, class, and survival." -- Marina Budhos, author of Ask Me No Questions

"Who are we when we are only accountable to ourselves? This bold, deft novel exposes how fragile the world we inhabit really is and what it might take for us to survive." -- Neela Vaswani, co-author of Same Sun Here

"Prasad breathes fresh life into this fusion of Lost, Prep, Gossip Girl, and William Golding’s classic." -- Jake Halpern, author of Fame Junkies and Dormia

- (Scholastic)

Their survival is in their own hands…

Samantha Mishra opens her eyes and discovers she's alone and injured in the thick of a jungle. She has no idea where she is, or what happened to the plane taking her and the rest of the Drake Rosemont fencing team ac
- (Scholastic)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

When a plane carrying a New England high school's fencing teams crashes, eight teens emerge from the wreckage, battered and stranded on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific. Sixteen-year-old Samantha delivers a first-person account of their efforts to stay alive, interspersed with recollections of her troubled homelife. Initially, the teens follow Sam's brilliant but unpopular best friend Mel, but conflict quickly emerges as different characters vie for power. Prasad's survival tale tips the masculine dynamic of Lord of the Flies in favor of a female-dominated cast, where race is a critical component in the struggle for power. Beautiful queen bee Rittika undermines the group's fragile cohesion by planting the idea that the dark-skinned "Golds" among them—many, including Sam, are biracial—are superior to their fellow "Pales." Ethics balance on a knife's edge as the characters make difficult choices and adapt to their new reality: "Our smiles gleamed lupine and dangerous. . . . Now we were creatures of our habitat—feral and unpredictable." A compulsive read sure to spark discussion. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Inspired by The Lord of the Flies, Prasad's debut novel for teens features a diverse cast and a good measure of drama.This allegorical story begins as its protagonist, mixed-race (Indian/white) Samantha Mishra, regains consciousness on an unknown island after a plane crash. She quickly reunites with her white best friend, Mel, and then with other classmates from her elite boarding school. Together, they reel under the pressure of survival. They think they've created a utopian paradise, but it quickly regresses into dystopia due to mutiny and disagreement. Flashbacks to Sam's dysfunctional family life and her identity struggles are deftly woven in throughout the story. The motley teen crew is quirky yet predictable in many respects. They include a white dude, a Latino boy, a couple of artsy and crafty girls, a timid Asian, tomboyish white girl Mel, and a bossy, privileged Indian girl, Rittika, and her twin brother. They each respond differently to the issues of survival, coura ge, and fear. Prasad explores the power dynamics among the teens using an interplay of various influences such as wealth, upbringing, coolness, looks, talent, and self-confidence. She also provides a fresh perspective on issues of racism, class, and identity, with Rittika celebrating her dark skin and creating a "Golds" vs. "Pales" divide with her white classmates. Gripping, though dark and unbelievable at times. (Fiction. 12-17) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—When Sam Mishra's plane crashes on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, she and the surviving members of the Drake Rosemont fencing team have to figure out how to stay alive. Finding food, water, and shelter turns out to be relatively easy—it's other, more insidious forces that prove challenging for these students from an elite boarding school. When the teens discover threatening messages written in the sand, they realize that they are not alone on the island. In addition to the looming menace of the unknown inhabitant, rifts between the teens expose cracks in the veneer of civility. Issues of class and race come into play as group members form allegiances and make decisions that have life-or-death consequences. One charismatic teen, Rittika, attempts to pit those with brown skin (Golds) against those with white skin (Pales), claiming that those with brown skin are survivors, better able to adapt, and in all ways superior to those with pale skin. Sam is forced to decide if she will align herself with Mel, her very white best friend, or with Rittika, a fellow Indian American. Reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies (with a bit of The Swiss Family Robinson), Prasad's debut is a compelling modern-day adventure. The tale of survival outshines the less well-developed exploration of race and class as it affects student relationships. The rushed and somewhat unresolved ending begs for a sequel. VERDICT An entertaining choice, recommended for additional purchase.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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