Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

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Seventeen-year-old Samar -- a.k.a. Sam -- has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.

But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam isn't sure what to do, until a girl at school calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside. That decides it: Why shouldn't Sam get to know her family? What is her mom so afraid of? Then some boys attack her uncle, shouting, "Go back home, Osama!" and Sam realizes she could be in danger -- and also discovers how dangerous ignorance can be. Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge two worlds and make them both her own.

About Neesha Meminger

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Neesha Meminger was born in Punjab, India, at the tail end of the 1960s, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She currently lives in New York City, where she and her husband spend most days being ignored by a seven-year-old Leo and a four-year-old Aries. This is her first novel. Visit Neesha's website
Published February 20, 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books. 256 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Shine, Coconut Moon

Kirkus Reviews

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Soon after, her mother’s brother shows up, seeking a family reconciliation and causing Sam to question everything she has ever been told (or not told) about her background.

Mar 10 2009 | Read Full Review of Shine, Coconut Moon

Publishers Weekly

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Samar's uncle, eager to reconnect in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, helps the teenager learn about her background, taking her to a Sikh temple and reintroducing her estranged grandparents into her life.

Feb 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Shine, Coconut Moon

Huffington Post

So as Black History Month transitions into Women's History Month, I thought I'd ask another woman of color to discuss strategies for engaging teens with race, gender, and history.

May 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Shine, Coconut Moon

Youth Services Book Review

But who is this guy with a turban on his head and is there now a possibility that Sammy has a big family too that she has never known?

Feb 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Shine, Coconut Moon

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