STARRED REVIEW
January 12, 2016

Friendship to overcome divisions

By Kate Darnton
Review by

Like many fifth-graders, Chloe just wants to fit in at school. Trouble is, that’s pretty much impossible for her. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she’s automatically marked as an outsider at her new school in New Delhi. Chloe’s older sister, Anna, has had no trouble adjusting to the family’s move from Boston to India, but Chloe still feels like a fish out of water.

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Like many fifth-graders, Chloe just wants to fit in at school. Trouble is, that’s pretty much impossible for her. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she’s automatically marked as an outsider at her new school in New Delhi. Chloe’s older sister, Anna, has had no trouble adjusting to the family’s move from Boston to India, but Chloe still feels like a fish out of water.

When another new girl, Lakshmi, joins Chloe’s class, Chloe realizes that even girls from India can be viewed as outsiders. Lakshmi, whose family doesn’t possess anything like the kind of privilege that the other girl’s families enjoy, is all but shunned by Chloe’s classmates—and even when Lakshmi and Chloe begin a friendship outside of class, Chloe can’t bring herself to take the next step and support her new friend at school. When Lakshmi’s talents threaten the ambition of the most popular girl in class, Chloe must decide where her loyalties lie.

In her debut middle-grade novel, Kate Darnton draws on her own experience of living in New Delhi for five years, offering lots of personal details about what it’s like for an American family to live in India. Chloe in India offers plenty of cultural insights as well as opportunities for readers to reflect on class, privilege and discrimination. Chloe’s voice is genuine, her outlook likable and realistic, and her revelations about friendship and identity will resonate with many readers.

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Chloe in India

Chloe in India

By Kate Darnton
Delacorte
ISBN 9780553535044

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