Updated: May 13, 2021
I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by debut author Payal Doshi. It is the story of twelve-year-old Rea and the adventure that begins on her birthday; the morning her twin brother Rohan doesn’t come home.
Straddling the boundary between the world we know and a fantastic parallel one, this story incorporates both familiar settings and new creatures and friends who only exist on the other side. For readers who often find themselves daydreaming of the mysterious worlds that could be found just in their backyards, this is a welcome story. Confident middle graders through adults will connect with Rea and her experiences, sympathizing with her struggles with both family and friends. Please read my full review here.
The language in this story is richly detailed, filled with simile and metaphor on nearly every page. Many of the descriptions are unexpected, like the wet leaves licking her face as Rea cycles into the forest near her house. I found myself re-reading several passages because of their intricacy and beauty!
Few books are written from the perspective of a South Asian Indian character, and this story is a noteworthy addition to the canon of literature for middle grade readers. Having grown up in the United States, I loved the way this story brought me unassumingly into Rea’s world and showed me many facets of a land I’ve never seen.
It is important for all readers to see themselves in the stories they read. Payal Doshi’s story is a necessary addition to all libraries serving middle grade readers—no matter their background. Make sure to check it out when it hits shelves in June 2021!
I’m on the lookout for more notable stories about diverse characters. If you know of one I should include in my blog, please message me here!