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?
I saw the synopsis for Meet Me in Mumbai on another blogger’s Instagram story a few days ago and I know I had to read it as soon as possible. It isn’t often that one read of a synopsis catches my attention like that but this one certainly did, and for a very good reason!
This story is told in two acts over the course of eighteen years. Ayesha, a young Muslim Indian girl, has recently moved to Indiana to finish her senior year of high school. There, she falls in love with Suresh, a fellow Mumbai native and they start a relationship. Ayesha falls pregnant and has to make the difficult decision to place the baby up for adoption.
Mira is a young girl living in Houston with her adopted family trying to make a sense of herself. Raised by two white mothers, she often feels out of place. With little exposure to Indian culture she feels disconnected from the heritage to which she was born. When Mira finds a letter written to her by her birth mother, Ayesha, she makes the decision to travel across the world in search of answers.
I really enjoyed how this book’s timelines were split. Usually, it is be be expected, you’d have alternative chapters in the different timelines. The author has made the decision, in this book, to tell Ayesha’s full story first and then move onto the present day with Mira’s story. I feel that this helped me to feel truly connected to the story and its characters as you are so immersed in what is happened to either Mira or Ayesha. The emotion of both Mira and Ayesha’s stories were given their own time throughout the book to shine.
Meet Me in Mumbai was very easy to read in terms of its pacing. I read it in two sittings, reading Ayesha’s part in whole and then Mira’s part the following day. That does not mean that the content was easy to take in. Throughout the book the author deals with themes such as teenage pregnancy, interracial adoption, finding your identity, losing your identity and so much more. There is so much pain throughout the pages of this book and the author captures it beautifully. It allowed me as a reader to feel the gravity and importance of the decisions the characters were making. Although I did not identity with any of the themes, it made me think about how this story will be relatable and of great importance to so many people.
Meet Me in Mumbai is a unique book about two young women separated by circumstances finding their way back to each other. It is about love and family and all the different ways family can be found. Be that the family you are born into or the family that you find. It is about being supportive of each other and helping one another. Also, it is about new beginnings and tells a truly a beautiful story.
Overall, Meet Me in Mumbai is an extraordinary story that I cannot recommend it enough. It is an excellent book that tackles the confusion and sometimes pain that comes with life-changing surprises at a young age, discovering yourself and connecting with your family. It is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys a unique and diverse YA book.