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Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood / Varsha Bajaj.

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ISBN#9780807563632
BIB ID#1710245
Call# J Bajaj

Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood

5

Reviews and Notes

Summary/Annotation ->  What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star--in Bollywood! Now she's traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India's most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

Availability

Locationsort iconCall NumberItem TypeVolumeBarcodeStatus
ArverneJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackFic.0228609012296Available
AstoriaJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012288Available
AuburndaleJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018061Available
Baisley ParkJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228607895692Available
Bay TerraceJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018004Available
BaysideJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228613557104Available
BaysideJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228613569869Available
BelleroseJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018020Due 12-26-2018
BriarwoodJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackJ FIC0228609018053Available
Broad ChannelJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017972Due 12-27-2018
BroadwayJ BajajJuvenile Hard CoverFIC0228562832862Available
Broadway - Young AdultJ BajajAdult Paperback YA Summer Reading 20180228613557112Available
Cambria HeightsJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018046Available
Childrens Library Discovery CenterJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018160Available
Childrens Library Discovery CenterJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018038Available
Court SquareJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackJ Fiction0228609017865Available
DouglastonJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018079Available
East FlushingJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackJ-Fiction0228609018137Available
ElmhurstJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228596810033Available
ElmhurstJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012361Due 12-17-2018
FlushingJ BajajAdult Paperback0228613557070Available
Forest HillsJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackJ FIC0228609012254Available
Fresh MeadowsJ BajajJuvenile Paperback0228609012262Available
Glen OaksJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012346Available
GlendaleJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012379Available
HillcrestJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018012Available
HollisJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012387Available
Jackson HeightsJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperbackfic0228609012270Available
Kew Gardens HillsJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012304Available
Langston HughesJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017956Available
LaureltonJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackFICTION0228609012338Available
LeffertsJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228613557096Available
Lefrak CityJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012403Available
MaspethJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012239Due 12-20-2018
McGoldrickJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012247Available
Mitchell-LindenJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012205Due 12-27-2018
North Forest ParkJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017881Available
North HillsJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012197Available
Ozone ParkJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012213Available
PeninsulaJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228576189242Available
PomonokJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018186Available
PoppenhusenJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017915Available
Queens VillageJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017980Available
Queensboro HillJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017873Due 1-2-2019
Richmond HillJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017998Due 12-21-2018
RidgewoodJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609012312Available
Rochdale VillageJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017907Available
RosedaleJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017899Available
SeasideJ BajajJuvenile Hard Cover0228560850999Available
SeasideJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018129Available
South HollisJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017931Available
South JamaicaJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228607895700Available
South Ozone ParkJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609017923Available
South Ozone ParkJ BajajJuvenile Hard Cover0228566116890Available
St.Albans - Young AdultFic BajajAdult Trade Paperback0228609017949On Hold
SunnysideJ BajajJuvenile Trade PaperbackFiction0228609018152Available
WhitestoneJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018111Available
Windsor ParkJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018103Available
WoodhavenJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228584846403Available
WoodhavenJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018095Available
WoodsideJ BajajJuvenile Trade Paperback0228609018145Available

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3 Stars ***

Here's the thing: I hate not to love a book that represents diversity, a fatherless child-parent reunion, cultural enlightenment, and a happy ending. But, here I am. So, the book is good—light, optimistic, fun, upbeat, zany, fairy-tale like in its tone and events. It tells the story about Indian- American, thirteen year old Abby Spencer, living in Houston, Texas who travels to Mumbai, India to meet her father for the first time.

Kids, especially girls, will probably love the book with its very cool, trendy main character on an adventure of a lifetime. For me, a reading professional, I saw many shortcomings: unrealistically simple dialogue; shallow characterizations; absence of emotional depth; lack of story development and transitions; awkward writing; an unsatisfying ending.

While the title is very catchy, it is not representative of the heart of the story as stated by Abby in Chapter 1, "I hurriedly scribble, The one thing I want most in my life is excitement. Liar! My inner voice bursts like an annoying pop-up on a computer screen and surprises me. The thing you want most is to meet your father! the inner voice accuses." Abby's mother and father met in college, and her father returns to India after graduation, never knowing that Abby's mother was pregnant with his child. The author tells us what Abby wants, but then downplays its emotional impact.

Abby is eating frozen yogurt with friends when she adds coconut flakes for the first time causing a severe allergic reaction, requiring an emergency trip to the hospital. When the doctor asks if Abby's father has the same allergy, Abby is motivated to Google her father. One thing leads to another( as Google searches often do) and Abby discovers her father is actually the most famous male sex symbol screen actor in India.

Abby's mom calls the telephone number listed for his production company, and the rest is history, as they say. Abby is invited for a visit to Mumbai since she has one week off from school for Thanksgiving holiday. The meeting is initially awkward. Quickly, the glamour of Bollywood and its trappings, the attentions of a handsome boy who coincidentally is visiting Mumbai from Texas, the constant hounding of the paparazzi, the visits to the movie set, the loving attention of a newly found grandmother, all add up to a wonderful adventure. But, where are the deep emotions, feelings, thoughts, conflicts? Abby's dream has come true, but according to Abby, it's her father she really wants, not the excitement. So, why does the author diverge from the main character's realization of her goal in life?

Abby returns to Houston with wonderful stories to tell her mom and grandparents. A few days later, guess who drops in for a surprise visit? Abby's sex symbol dad drops in for three days to say hello before running off to film another movie. Abby is invited to return to Mumbai during summer vacation. Will he return?  Will the romance between Abby's mother and father be rekindled? Who knows? The author does not address these questions and leaves everyone hanging. The only one who is not upset by the lack of clarity is zany, cool-girl Abby.

The author does include scenes of poverty and desperation that are so common in India. Hungry, dirty bare-foot children and dogs beg for food. Abby is touched by their plight. Her father's employees bring food and money to them. Abby's father vows to contribute major money to alleviate the suffering they witness.

The author misses an opportunity to really focus on the extremes of poverty with the starving masses and the wealth enjoyed by a few in India. It should not be a cursory observation. A first meeting between a child and her father deserves much more emotional depth than zany Abby is allowed. This book could have and should have been much more. It had the potential to become an important voice against poverty and for parental responsibilities. Instead, we have a star struck teenager. Maybe it's me?

Lesson Ideas

 Investigate the factors that create the extreme poverty and disease in India. What steps, if any, can the Indian government take to alleviate the suffering of its people? Explain the caste system. What cultural factors might negatively influence government or humanitarian efforts to improve the plight of the Indian people?
Locate India on a map. Which countries surround it? What are its natural resources? Topography? Weather? Industries? Government? In what ways does India's location  influence its destiny?
Design a T-shirt or poster to create awareness of the struggle to survive in India. 
Plan a group or class fund-raising event to raise money to help starving and diseased children and dogs in India. What steps can be taken on a global basis to help alleviate starvation and disease in India and other struggling countries?