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I would to thank PRH Global for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my personal opinion.
Description Summary | A book that did well in conveying it’s central themes but fell flat in the vividness of the supporting characters and lacked in dimension. It was good but not good enough.
Book Summary | (Skip to Review)
Rani has never felt a rush quite like this. From the moment she laid eyes on Oliver, his spiky black hair, the tattoos on his arm, his artistic self and his fiery passion, she knew she was done for.
Rani decides to date Oliver in secret, this clandestine affair however proves to be far from roses and love songs when her cultural identities clash forcing a ridge between her and Oliver.
It doesn’t help that everything that Oliver embodies is her mother’s worst nightmare, and it doesn’t help either that Rani feels lost between her parent’s expectations and traditions and her own identity and decisions.
A fated trip to India sheds some light on the importance of honoring ones roots, loving oneself, and having the courage to be who you are in a world that dictates who you should be.
The book had wonderful and harrowing aspects that I’ll never forget and stepping into Rani’s world was a enlightening experience. It had a slow start despite the fast pacing.
The cultural fetishization and micro aggressions were phenomenally brilliant. Truly if I could rate these two separately they would get a knock out five stars. How Rani’s complex Indian culture is withered down to stereotypical gimmicks and objectification of the worst kind was so shattering. And honestly quite triggering.
Hell the blatant racism and xenophobia that is disguised as self righteousness and “open mindness” hit right home (albeit in a totally different light for me but I get it). How Oliver keeps belittling Rani’s traditions and culture through gaslighting because god forbid there is another way of living than the American lifestyle….I had to put the book down a couple of times because I can’t believe the shit that was coming out of his mouth in the name of love out of everything. Yeah right.
What’s scary is that so many of these micro aggressions are spewed out of people’s mouthes without realizing it is any way harmful. The this book was a real eye opener in this aspect.
I actually quite liked the pacing in this book, and I really loved the style of writing but I wished it was a bit more fleshed out. There were dialogues cut short that I wished weren’t. This all impacted on the dimensions of the supporting characters making wish they were explored more into because Rani is such a complex dynamic character.
I have to admit I had a hard time connecting with Rani, I couldn’t understand her decisions. It was as if she was defined by her “supposed love” by Oliver and her constant anxiety, but I’ll admit watching go through her ordeal all towards the end of the book. She was just a girl. A girl who fell in love despite everything and a girl who trusted a boy. A girl who gave everything she could and even that wasn’t enough.
That broken girl who became stronger because of it? This was the girl who I was rooting for, the girl who’s began to see the light. And though I couldn’t understand all her reasonings, my heart ached for her and with her because it is so hard being between two worlds.
The No Nos: Insta Love Trope
This was an icky part to me. Rani’s insta love with Oliver was too much for me, she fell for him fast and hard and yes maybe that happens but it just affected the enjoyment rate of my reading.
By the second chapter she’s all enamored by him and yeah that wasn’t for me.
Right so I’ve seen some reviewers who made a comment of how bristled they were because of how negatively marjuana was viewed. I can’t outright comment the whos and the whats because I do not want to spoil anything but this person viewed drugs generally this way because this person lost the closest thing to them due to the destructive nature of drugs. This person was also young when their closest thing passed away.
Stuff like that stuck with you, it’s like hating cigarettes and vowing never to consume them because you watched one of your parents or a loved one die from lung cancer. So say what you want but to me I felt that negative sentiment was valid.
Do I recommend? If you want a book that presents cultural fetishization so well this book is a great outlook into that.
Date published: March 09 , 2021.
4 thoughts on “Review ARC | American Betiya”
Omg great review! I loved some of the themes in this book indeed, but the insta-love just ruined a lot for me! I also thought it was hard to connect with Rani and the story overall! I was really disappointed by it because the theme is sooo important! Either way, I loved hearing your thoughts!
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Thank you! Yeah exactly the insta love was a major downfall for me and I had a hard time understanding Rani but it’s still a powerful book.
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