Monday, May 18, 2015

BLOG TOUR REVIEW + Giveaway... The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharman





Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She's even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya's entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.
As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.
The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This Book Nerd Says: 
I was immediately drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover, and then the synopsis completed the intrigue. I am always on the hunt for diversity in the NA genre and this book stood out as something completely unique to me. So I read it and I am so happy that I did. In fact as soon as I finished reading I felt so refreshed
Nithya is a college senior on the track of being a doctor. She has succeeded in everything she puts her mind to because she is determined to make her family proud. She balances this driven character trait with being a fun, amicable girl. Content with the fact that when she's ready to marry she'll find someone via her family's tradition, she isn't prepared for James St Clair. Being around James pits Nithya's heart against her mind and challenges everything that she thought she wanted. 
The first thing I loved is something I already mentioned. DIVERSITY. The Rearranged Life exceeded all my expectations of what I was going to read. Why? Because not only was I entertained, I walked away feeling like I learned something. Annika Sharma did a beautiful job at painting a colorful portrayal of the Indian Culture. From the celebrations and food to long standing traditions, we get an amazing view from the eyes of Nithya. 

Nithya is another thing that I adored in this story. 
Her character growth from beginning to end is something to take note of as we watch Nithya fail and succeed. Nithya not only falls in love between the beginning to end of the story, she comes into her own self definition. It's Nithya's journey that makes this story a New Adult Coming-of-Age tale. 

"Now, the gap isn't so wide. I'm not either-or. I am Indian-American. The hyphen allows me to be both..." 

Also on my list of loved things: Family. 
There is a definite (and strong) family thread throughout this story. As it's written solely in Nithya's POV we get a lot of chances to view her family interactions. Its those moments that make it easier to understand Nithya's dilemmas. Every time I would have a moment of wavering patience, I would get another reminder of Nithya's dedication to her family and it makes sense again. Her family is obviously loving and protective both of Nithya and their culture. As Nithya's story progresses and her perspectives takes new directions I enjoyed seeing the focus shift from all the things that made the families different, to focus on all the things that were the same. 

Of course I can't end the review without talking about the love story between Nithya and James. In a genre that is sometimes overflowing with the insta-love stories, The Rearranged Life stands out yet again. The journey of "Nithya and James" is marked by a naturalness and maturity that I love reading about. Sharman writes their story flaws and all, including mature approaches and reactions fitting for their age (no YA tantrums in this NA story). 
It isn't about the physical, it's about the emotional and I loved the story for that. If you're looking for a clean love story...you're going to want to check this one out for sure. 
Quickly I must point out that James St. Claire = book boyfriend award worthy. Oh is he ever... 

"I am all in." 

I am all in too so I'm giving The Rearranged Life 4 Stars. Since this is only her debut novel, I am definitely eager to read more from this emerging author. 

About The Author:
Annika Sharma was born in New Delhi and brought up in the United States, where she moved with her parents as a baby. A proud alum, she graduated from Penn State University with dual degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology, and minors in Biology and Human Development and Family Studies. She received her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education before pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer, landing her agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group while daylighting as a preschool teacher. The Rearranged Life, her first novel, was written in the month before graduate school.
Annika, a Gryffindor and Scorpio, spends much of her time dreaming of adventure, working on her next book, going on Starbucks runs with family and friends, shopping online and watching superhero movies.
​The Rearranged Life, will be hitting shelves on May 15th, 2015, published by Curiosity Quills Press.
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