Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 2013
Categories: Family Life, Coming of Age, India
Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy has enjoyed a sheltered childhood with her adoring grandparents. But she is troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found in her mother’s book of poetry. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile family.

But shortly after their engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi’s past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi undertakes a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will, ultimately, thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

My Thoughts:
I love stories about India. I love coming of age stories. I love rich and luscious tales that take you somewhere you wouldn’t otherwise go. This book contained all of that and more.

Korobi’s life is seemingly headed in a happy, though predictable, direction. A family secret comes to light that throws her onto a different path. Her desire to learn more about her parents sends her on a journey of self-discovery that compelled me to keep reading.

The subplots and minor characters in Oleander Girl were captivating. There is Rajat’s mother who is desperately trying to hang on to a way of life that might be finished. Korobi’s grandmother is ashamed of her role in keeping secrets from Korobi. Asif, a driver, finds himself in a position to help and/or harm the relationships around him. Sonia, a girl from Rajat’s past is as dangerous as she is beautiful.

I highly recommend this book. Highly.

33 thoughts on “Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  1. I still haven't found a book that I like set in India, so thanks for the recommendation, I will try sooner or later with this one!I don't know why, but I always find myself reading about magic and evil ghosts in the books about India I choose 😦


  2. I'm so bad about reading books set outside of the US, but I love books where the subplots are just as well-written as the main story line. I'm off to see if my library will be getting this one!


  3. I find myself reading a lot about China, which I love… But I want to visit another country, um, bookishly. This sounds like a great start into my journey through India. Thanks for the recommendation!


  4. Yay! My family is from India but I was born and brought up in America. I LOVE reading about India, it's my way to reconnect to my heritage when traveling there is not yet an option for my family and I. I have put this on my to-read list as well.


  5. I just got this and I can't wait to read it. I've always been fascinated about India and I think I will enjoy reading this a lot. Glad you liked it!


  6. Dear Jennifer,going by your comments…wanting to read about Indian culture & love for this particular author(Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni) you will immensely enjoy the works of same author- \”Sister of my heart\” ..After reading this would you get a feel one gets after quickly finishing a favorite dessert. And with it's sequel \”The Vine of Desire\” you will explore an entire new avenue of thought process.Enjoy Reading 🙂


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