Shine, Coconut Moon
By Neesha Meminger
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, Hardcover, 9781416954958, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Seventeen-year-old Samar -- a.k.a. Sam -- has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.
But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam isn't sure what to do, until a girl at school calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside. That decides it: Why shouldn't Sam get to know her family? What is her mom so afraid of? Then some boys attack her uncle, shouting, "Go back home, Osama!" and Sam realizes she could be in danger -- and also discovers how dangerous ignorance can be. Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge two worlds and make them both her own.
Neesha Meminger was born in Punjab, India, at the tail end of the 1960s, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She currently lives in New York City, where she and her husband spend most days being ignored by a seven-year-old Leo and a four-year-old Aries. This is her first novel. Visit Neesha's website atneeshameminger.com.