Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jazz in Love - Neesha Meminger

Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger
17 yr old Jasbir (Jazz) is very good student and in her schools, Future Stars and Leaders program. When Jazz's mom learns through the Indian community grapevine that she was hugging a boy in public, Jazz's parents begin to play matchmaker. They want to find a parent approved boyfriend who will of course be Indian, preferably with Punjab roots.

This sounds more serious then it really is. Don't get me wrong I like serious but sometimes it nice to read something fun that's hard to put down with just the right amount of substance. That's exactly what Meminger's give us with Jazz in Love.

Jazz doesn't want to go on blind dates arranged by her parents but she has no choice. In the process Jazz meets Gurmit (Mit). He trust Jazz to keep his secret, he also likes boys.

Tyler R. a new student from Trinidad catches Jazz's eye. Jazz's parents would not approve, that doesn't stop her. When Jazz realizes Tyler R. is bad news she still can't stay away.

Jazz is a very likable and well drawn character. I loved her voice. She likes romance novels. This one my favorite things about Jazz because its so unexpected.

I walked up the stairs to my room, and stuck my head out to listen to my dad's snoring for a minute before pulling out my latest romance novel. If my parents ever got a glimpse of one of those book covers- ample -bosom cleavage and hard bronzed pecs galore- they would immediately book me a one way ticket to India to straighten me out. No, thank you. Romance novels got smuggled into my house with secret-agent, espionage-level security.

I love that Jazz's parents have blue collar jobs. South Asian parents are usually portrayed as working professionals. There are South Asian doctors and lawyers and some work 9 - 5 jobs. Its very nice to see another reality reflected.

As with her debut, Shine, Coconut Moon, Meminger doesn't create stereotypical immigrant parents that are disconnected from their teens need to fit it. Nor are Jazz's parents overly strict. The author goes one step further and giving us Auntie Kinder, a very close cool family friend. Jazz can talk to Auntie Kinder about almost anything. To show her thanks, Jazz decides to get Auntie Kinder back together with her first love. Who just so happens to be a very popular celebrity doctor in England. Jazz's "I love Lucy" scheme was a lot of fun to watch.

Meminger found a beautiful balance with Jazz in Love. She keeps its light yet still manages to incorporate themes worth discussing from what's Indian enough to asserting independence. Many readers will be able to relate to Jazz, her worries are universal.

What she'd said about it taking courage to be okay with being different made sense. I knew about being different. I was FSL- different, even among the different. But did it take courage to just keep doing what you were told, without asking any questions? Did it take a different kind of courage to not love the person you loved, and do what was considered appropriate - as Auntie Kinder had done? Or to pretend you were something you weren't - like Mit was doing

As I trudged up the stairs to my bedroom, I wondered what turned some girls into Kamaljit Purewals and others into girls like me - ones who started doing things that got them into a whole heap of crap. I wondered if Auntie Kinder had been a girl like me. And my mom- had see been a Kamal or a getting in deep doodoo for breaking the rules Jazz?

Jazz is surrounded by well developed characters including best friends Cindy and Jeevan (Jeeves). The secondary characters add wonderful dimension. The various storylines tie in smoothly and are well thought out.

I have my fingers crossed this isn't the last time we see Jazz and her friends. I want to know if Jazz and Jeeves relationship will change. I want to know about Mit's relationship. Jazz in Love doesn't have loose ends, Meminger simply wrote it in such a way that I can't help but want more.

Meminger couldn't find a house for Jazz in Love to call home. So she decided to self publish (lucky us).

Jazz in love can be purchased at amazon and several other places online

I don't normally do a disclaimer but since Meminger sent me the book for review and I am mentioned in the acknowledments its kind of mandatory. For anyone who can't trust my review because of this disclaimer, no worries, I completely understand but please check out the google preview via powells. For those who know I would never lead you astray. Thank you, please enjoy the preview. as well. Feel free to share it with friends and strangers.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great review, Doret. I agree the secondary characters are just charming, as with Meminger's first book.

Helen's Book Blog said...

This sounds so good and I really liked her first novel. Add this to the list!

Anonymous said...

That's so exciting! I have heard some good things about this one and I love your review. It reminds me. a tiny bit, of a book that I read for an adult book club many years ago, A Suitable Boy. Thanks!


Maggie Desmond-O'Brien said...

I finished this book this week, too, and adored it. I think it pretty much any teen could relate! I actually haven't read SHINE, COCONUT MOON yet, but I definitely plan to now.

Jodie said...

I just finished this today and I agree the light tone was really pitched oerfectly, so I came way thinking what fun it was to hang out in Jazz's world. Just what I was looking for.

I didn't read the acknowledgements so had no idea you were mentioned, but how nice that must be :)

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