Picture this. It’s 1947 India is newly separated from British rule, and it’s been separated into Pakistan and India. Since the once bonded country divided there has been much tension between the of Hindus and Muslims. Roughly 1.5 million people have been killed trying to cross the borders. How would you feel if you were half Hindu and half Muslim? That’s the situation twelve-year-old Nisha is in.
Nisha, who is very shy, lost her mother in childbirth and feels very distant from her stern father, and her elderly grandmother that can be very harsh on her. Nisha’s mother was Muslim, but her family is Hindu, and the riots make it difficult for them to live in their home safely because of tension between the religions. They are forced to leave their town, everything they know and love just to become refugees.
As Nisha and her family make their way across the brand-new border. She learns about who she is, what is important to her, and how to stand up for what she belives. Along the way she also learns about her family history, which I found very interesting. This whole experience is something that changes her perspective on how to act and how to live her life.
Hiranandani is able to portray a very dark time in history through diary entries that bring a whole new light to this subject. Nisha writes about everything from her deceased mother to what food she ate that day. Nisha’s voice is compelling and is very inspiring, and her transformation is both relatable and sad. Nisha’s character is able to critique Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah in honesty that to any adult would show how a kid thinks.
Overall this whole story is a gripping, nuanced story of what it’s like being in war conflict as a kid. Despite it’s recommended age group this book is appropriate for both kids and adults.