Author: Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
Publisher: Puffin Books
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10-year-old Chitrangana, with her innocent eyes and precocious lies, is the despair of her gang of friends at Swapnalok society in downtown Mumbai. All she wants is to grow her hair, have her mother bake her an angel cake, and become a bathroom decorator of repute. But deep down, what she really wants is to find her father.
Meanwhile, there is not a dull moment as the varied, often eccentric residents of Swapnalok society as they go about their lives. Underwear Uncle and Aunty are on their way out, Sita Maami has developed a formula for cola water that the cola company wants to buy from her, there's a dog kidnapper on the loose and Varun Vadola, a charming young bachelor, has moved in next door to Chitrangana. And when Ammama, her batty grandmother, lands up from the villiage, life becomes even more exciting. Then, on her birthday, Chitrangana's sister gifts her Sapna, a doll that looks just like her and speaks words only Chitrangana can hear. Armed with Sapna, she decides to take to the mean streets of Mumbai to look for her father, who will surely set everything right in their lives. Does she finally find her father? And does she find the answers she is looking for?
Part fiction, part fantasy it is one of those kind of books in which you will keep turning pages to make sure something happens, but nothing much happens. The setting is detailed and most of the characters are etched with affection, but still the central conflict is so simplistic it doesn't make much sense when it is finally chased and resolved. Suchitra abundantly uses convenient coincidences when Chitrangana finally sets on in the search of her father.
The book suffers from what is a pervasive problem of first book in a series - author deliberately under develop certain sub-plots and characters to stretch the overall screenplay over few books. In most of the cases, it doesn't work out. It clearly hasn't in this case. To be fair, there are a few portions which are enjoyable. The constant battering about the grandmother, the conversations between Chitrangana and the doll along with her musings towards her unknown father.
I am going with 2/5 for Suchitra Krishnamoorthi's 'The summer of Cool'. It is one of those kind of books which gets published because you happen to be a celebrity. After a mediocre acting and singing career, one can safely say it is a mediocre start to the writing career as well.
The second book in the series - The Good news Reporter has also been released.
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