Gold Diggers

Penguin. Apr. 2021. 352p. Tr $27. ISBN 9781984882035.
Gr 9 Up–Neil is first-generation Indian American: His father emigrated from India to attend university, and his mother left India to marry his father. His parents settled in suburban Atlanta in a small community of Indian immigrants all striving to ensure that their kids become successful. The pressure to meet expectations is relentless and by high school, Neil is overwhelmed and underperforming. But his best friend and next-door neighbor Anita seems to have switched up gears dramatically. Neil discovers that Anita and her mother are making an alchemical drink derived from ancient Indian lore about the power of gold, which infuses Anita with extra drive and purpose. Neil wants in. But to make this elixir, they have to steal, and perhaps not just gold. It’s not long before something dreadful happens and Neil and Anita must come to grips with their part in the tragedy, take responsibility, and make amends. This is an intense and riveting immigrant coming-of-age story, alternately funny and serious, mashed up with magical realism that makes a moving, heartfelt statement of how to become you, no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you are now.
VERDICT Perfect for teens who enjoy deep reads like Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Is Not Okay and Samira Ahmed’s Love, Hate & Other Filters.

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