Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan
Published: September 6th 2022 by Scholastic Press
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5)
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary, Coming of Age
Quick Thoughts: A heart-warming, deep novel that explores the bond of family, the pain of letting go and ways time—and all it’s tangled ways—heals wounds.
About The Book:
A novel in two acts—told eighteen years apart—gives voice to both mother (Ayesha) and daughter (Mira) after an unplanned teen pregnancy led Ayesha to place Mira up for adoption.
Seventeen-year-old Mira Fuller-Jensen was adopted by her moms at birth. All she knows about her biological mother is that she was a high-school student from India who returned to India after giving birth. Although Mira loves her moms, she’s always felt out of place in her mostly white community.
So when Mira finds an old box with letters addressed to her from her birth mother, she sees a way to finally capture that feeling of belonging. Her mother writes that if Mira can forgive her for having to give her up, she should find a way to travel to India for her eighteenth birthday and meet her. Mira knows she’ll always regret it if she doesn’t go. But is she actually ready for what she will learn?
When the lovely team at Scholastic first offered me the chance to read Meet Me In Mumbai, the golden and lush cover was the first thing that caught my eye (and it’s even more beautiful in person!) and then when I read the synopsis . . . I was completely won over. I knew it had to be read ASAP.
The novel opens with us meeting Ayesha, eighteen years in the past. I first thought that we’d see the book bouncing between past and present, but we see the past merge into the present fluidly in one go, which was a lot less confusing than some other past/present type books. Ayesha is a young Indian girl living with in Indiana, USA, for her last year of high school. She’s made some friends, but still feels pretty out of place from everything she knows and loves back home, but finds a lot to love here, too. One night, she meets a boy named Suresh, and over the course of days spent together, getting to know one another, falls head over heels for him. He’s also a Mumbai native, and they bond over this and many other things over the timeline of their short, yet magnetic relationship.
Soon, Ayesha falls pregnant. She panics, like I’m sure anyone in her position would. She’s faced with the what will they think stereotype of pressure, and over many confused and emotional months, decides to put her baby up for adoption. Fast forward eighteen years and we meet Mira, Ayesha’s biological daughter, who has grown up in a predominantly white community with her Moms. She loves her life, her family and friends, but she can’t ignore that she longs to feel like she belongs and to know her roots. So when she finds letters from Ayesha, it opens up an opportunity for the two of them to meet in India—for Mira to find the answers she’s searching for, and for Ayesha to tell her biological daughter the reasons why it had to be this way.
Overall, Meet Me In Mumbai was this sunflower-type of read. I felt like the sun was always on me when I was reading it, casting a golden light of healing, warmth and emotion. I felt each ounce of growth, heartache and strength that Sabina wrote, and most times couldn’t put it down. I did love Ayesha’s POV a lot more than Mira’s, connecting a lot more with the more “mature” sounding voice. I thoroughly adored the setting and how Sabina also broke down harmful stereotypes, which was a really refreshing thing to read in YA. This was such a heart-warming, deep novel that explores the bond of family, the pain of letting go and ways time—and all it’s tangled ways—heals wounds. A sparkling four and a half stars!
Sabina Khan is the author of the upcoming YA novel MEET ME IN MUMBAI, as well as ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.