Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: Lovetorn

By Kavita Daswani
Publication date: January 17, 2012

My review:

Shalini's future has been mapped out for her since her third birthday when she became unofficially engaged to Vikram, the son of her father's best friend. Shalini is sixteen now and she has grown to love Vikram. When her dad accepts an exciting new job in the U.S., Shalini is devastated to be parted from Vikram for the next two years. Her dad and younger sister Sangita are thrilled about their new life in California but Shalini and her mom struggle to adjust. Then Shalini begins to make friends and she meets Toby, a boy who could make her forget all about Vikram. Which path will Shalini choose-the careful one laid out for her by her parents and culture or the exciting unknown?

Lovetorn on the surface sounds like a romance with a love triangle however the novel focuses more on Shalini and her family than on romantic relationships. Toby doesn't even appear until more than halfway through the story. When he does show up, he does not make enough of an impression. Readers who pick up this book solely for the romantic aspect might find themselves disappointed but I am glad that the author chose to spend so much time on other things. The portrayal of the culture shock and the adjustments her family must make are well portrayed. I liked seeing how Shalini grew and changed from the dutiful girl she was in India to someone who makes her own decisions. 

Readers may not agree with arranged marriages for children but the author does a good job of making sure it is written with sensitivity. I also liked how Vikram was not painted as a bad option. He genuinely cares for Shalini and loves her. The immigrant experience is central to the novel and I think it was depicted believably with both the exciting opportunities as well as the fears and the struggles to fit in. I was also pleased with the ending which felt realistic. The one weakness of the book is Shalini's relationship with Toby. It might serve as an important catalyst in Shalini's growth as a person but it seemed like instant infatuation and I didn't like seeing Shalini become so boy crazy for Toby after months of pining for Vikram. Thankfully the strengths of the novel outweighed the weaknesses for me. I would suggest this to fans of Neesha Meminger, Anjali Banerjee, and Mitali Perkins. 

Readalikes: Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger, Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth, Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger, Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee, Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth

Note: I read an ARC of this book courtesy of Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review


  1. This sounds an interesting read. Great review!

  2. I'm really excited about this book, especially now that you mentioned that a love triangle isn't a big plot point. Lately I've been preferring stories with strong family elements to those with romance so this could be perfect for me!


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