Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran
Price: INR 175
Publisher: Tulika Publishers
Thirteen-year-old Mayil Ganeshan is back. She’s armed with plenty of spunk and a diary full of opinions. Her entries range from creating fake Facebook profiles to talk to the cute senior at school to tales of her madcap family, from discussions on social discrimination to dealing with sexual harassment. And the voice that emerges is wonderfully, uniquely Mayil. The entries paint a portrait of a teenager than teen me would most definitely have wanted to be friends with.
I don’t know if this book fits into the YA genre. That confusion may be based on how much I enjoyed reading this book. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of the genre. But my YA qualms aside, I genuinely think it’s difficult to slot this book; for me, it creates a distinct corner of its own. Yes, Mayil writes about serious issues in her diary but she’s also irreverent and fun. Even when there are sombre topics at hand, a few pages down she’ll write about dog ghosts or about pretending to be a boy called Liyam.
The entire book is told through a series of diary entries. There is no huge plot that needs resolving, no problem that needs addressing or even a play that needs rehearsing. There are no sparkly vampires or the-fate-of-the-world-rests-on-Mayil’s-shoulders scenarios. And that’s exactly what I love about the book. It is full of glimpses into the life of an average teenager. The entries are contemporary and true to life and perfectly depict a teenager’s mind, with all the highs and lows in tow. Mountains are erected on molehills while problems the size of planets are crushed into peas – perfectly compatible with what I remember of my teens. Another great thing about the book is that it perfectly reflects the times and the geography it exists in. Mayil, and by extension the book, lives in and exudes Chennai and India. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else – the jokes, the references, the problems manage to be globally relatable while at the same time being inherently local.
Pick up this book to add a tremendous dose of fun and irreverence into your reading list with a smattering of insight thrown in. And pick up the first book – Mayil Will Not Be Quiet! – too. You don’t have to read the first book to be able to understand this one. With my very poor memory, I barely remember the first book’s contents even though I read it less than a year ago. But the first book is equally wonderful so you might as well put it on your to-read list too.