In her first YA novel, fashion correspondent and author Daswani (The Village Bride of Beverly Hills) offers a sometimes moving, often funny glimpse of Indian-American family life along with a look at the cutthroat world of fashion journalism. Her 15-year-old heroine, Indie, has lived and breathed fashion for years, and dreams of being a fashion journalist. Now she has a chance at an internship at Celebrity Stylemagazine-if she can make an impression on its owner, the infamous Aaralyn Taylor. Indie does indeed win notice (after chasing Aaralyn's limo) but ends up with a different job: baby-sitting Aaralyn's tantrum-prone two-year-old. Despite the setback (and her parents' strong misgivings), Indie is determined to wow her boss with her fashion finesse and ability to get the scoop on what celebrities are wearing. Some of her efforts prove fruitful, but along the way she learns some hard lessons about racism and nepotism. The exaggerated show-down between sincere, youthful ambition and fashion-insider ruthlessness and self-absorption can make this novel read like The Devil Wears Agatha Ruiz De La Prada, derivative and far-fetched, but those who share the protagonist's passion for trend-setting fashion will willingly suspend their disbelief in hopes that Indie will eventually come out on top. What sets this novel apart is Daswani's nuanced take on her character's Indian-American subculture, the pressure she feels to be like her more conventional cousins, her desire for independence, American-style, and her pride in her heritage. Indie is a heroine worth meeting. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Indira (Indie) Konkipuddi has a deeply held desireshe longs to become a fashion reporter. Naturally, this is at odds with what her Indian-American parents want for her, but young Indie has persistence borne of inexperience on her side. When Aaralyn Taylor, the editor of Celebrity Style, Indie's favorite fashion mag comes to speak in school, Indie's hopes soar high. In fact, Daswani's raising and dashing of those hopes keeps this story moving along at a brisk clip. Soon, Indie is babysitting the celebrity editor's two year old, while enduring her own family's disapproval and suffering from the jibes of the cool kids in school, among them Aaralyn's niece, Brooke. What promises to be a frothy teen story then turns slightly darker in places. Her dad's commentary on the stereotyping of the Indian-American community strike a chord in Indie, even though she is determined to hold onto her dream. Meanwhile, the magazine is struggling, and Indie's efforts to pull it out of its hole seem to be going unrewarded. In the end, Indie wins some, loses some, and comes out of it all whole and still hopeful. There may be just a little too much going on in this novelracism, a weight problem, an activist star wanting to make a statement about the wages of village workers in India. Some story elements, like the source of leaks to the competition and Aaralyn's eventual turnaround, seem coincidental and somewhat too neat. Despite all this, it must be noted that Indie Girl is a quick and quirky read, deliciously inviting in places. Indie is an appealing enough character that teen readers will sympathize, empathize, and ultimately cheer her on. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
When Indira Konkipuddi learns that the editor of her favorite fashion magazine will be speaking at her school, she knows that this is her great opportunity to make connections. She's sure that a conversation with Aaralyn Taylor will guarantee her a coveted internship at Celebrity Style , so she is crushed to learn that one of her schoolmates is Aaralyn's niece and the more likely shoo-in for the internship. However, when she corners the woman after her presentation, she is offered a different opportunity. Glossing over Aaralyn's comment that "people from your part of the world are good with domestic duties," Indie accepts a job babysitting for Aaralyn's two-year-old son. The novel continues in what seems like a Devil Wears Prada direction (complete with a trip to Milan) until Indie learns some insider information that allows her to deliver more than one scoop to the fashion editor. The breezily written novel's conclusion is a mixture of wish fulfillment and compromise that brings the chick-lit fantasy aspect of Indie's story back down to earth in a satisfying and affirmative way.
Amy S. PatteeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.