In the Key of Nira Ghani

In the Key of Nira Ghani

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira's grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira re...

DownloadRead Online
Title:In the Key of Nira Ghani
Author:Natasha Deen
Rating:

In the Key of Nira Ghani Reviews

  • Gail (The Knight Reader)

    I feel very honored to write this review and only wish I could use all caps in an attempt to convey how much I loved this book!

    is an ownvoices story that follows teenager, Nira Ghani, as she navigates life in Canada after migrating from her home country of Guyana, with her parents, grandmother, cousin, uncle and aunt. Nira faces an assortment of challenges, including breaking free of cultural norms and familial expectation to pursue her passion of playing the trumpet.

    I feel very honored to write this review and only wish I could use all caps in an attempt to convey how much I loved this book!

    is an ownvoices story that follows teenager, Nira Ghani, as she navigates life in Canada after migrating from her home country of Guyana, with her parents, grandmother, cousin, uncle and aunt. Nira faces an assortment of challenges, including breaking free of cultural norms and familial expectation to pursue her passion of playing the trumpet. While this is going on, Nira must also wrestle with the struggles of friendships and first loves, fitting in/standing out and being from a lower socioeconomic class. The story plays out fluidly and Nira’s voice and character add depth to the narrative with much humor, passion and clarity. I laughed, I cried and I completely enjoyed this story from start to finish.

    A book like this one is especially important to me and I feel very fortunate to have read it. Why, you may ask? I too am from Guyana. I too am Indo-Guyanaese. I too immigrated to seek better opportunities abroad. Therefore, I empathize with Nira’s story. Beyond just the struggles to fit in, feeling excluded and oftentimes misunderstood and frustrated, Deen added more layers to the typical YA teen story. She explored the Guyanese culture so well, from the the plethora of food drops (mitthai, curry, and cheese straw, oh my!) to little expressions (like ending up in the gutter) and items that are so familiar to the Indo-Guyanese people (Shoutout to mama’s tawa!). The copious drinking of tea is so reassuringly Guyanese as well! To this day I cannot shake the habit so deeply ingrained in me from my aunties and mother. I particularly adored Nira’s grandmother who was strong, silent and a force to be reckoned with. She was obviously fashioned from a well thought out matriarch, familiar to many a Guyanese household. Her character development was especially meaningful to the story as a whole, and Nira’s story could not be the same without her.

    This story is not one that is groundbreaking and unique, if I consider it in a general sense. However, Nira’s story, for some reason does not come across as generic. It is a story about a young girl growing up and standing up for herself, but what is so special is its trueness to her Guyanese culture, that is not often represented in literature.

    I haven’t read a book in a while that spoke of things I knew, experiences I had and places I am familiar with quite like

    . Not a lot of new literature from Guyana have come to my attention but like I said earlier, I am honored that this one did. Readers can enjoy this book knowing that it authentically shows the Guyanese immigrant experience. You did good by us Mrs Deen.

    My thanks are extended to the author and Running Press Kids for providing me with an ARC of

    . All opinions are my own.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks to Partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of Natasha Deen’s In the Key of Nira Ghani in exchange for an honest review. The book releases on April 9.

    “I feel like I’m living on a fault line. Everything’s great, but I feel like there’s a rumbling deep down

    where I can’t see or feel it, and something’s going to blow” (loc. 835).

    I could not have loved In the Key of Nira Ghani more. For me, the novel offers the perfect mixture of compelling, empathetic protagonist; gorgeous writing; and a believa

    Thanks to Partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of Natasha Deen’s In the Key of Nira Ghani in exchange for an honest review. The book releases on April 9.

    “I feel like I’m living on a fault line. Everything’s great, but I feel like there’s a rumbling deep down

    where I can’t see or feel it, and something’s going to blow” (loc. 835).

    I could not have loved In the Key of Nira Ghani more. For me, the novel offers the perfect mixture of compelling, empathetic protagonist; gorgeous writing; and a believable contemporary plot. From the very beginning, Nira captured my heart and my head, and I read the novel in basically one sitting.

    Nira lives with her parents and her grandmother in Canada—her family escaped from Guyana in search of safety and security but had to leave without their money. As in many novels about the children of immigrants, Nira walks the line between appreciating her parents’ culture and yearning to blend in with her classmates at her new school. As the only brown girl, Nira feels both incredibly conspicuous and tragically invisible, discounted by everyone but her best friend Emily. Her one escape is her music. Though her parents have decided that she will become a doctor and therefore needs to focus only on her studies, Nira convinced them to buy her a used trumpet, which she taught herself to play via YouTube. When Nira plays, she expresses all of the love, conflict, and confusion that dominate her life.

    A brilliant student, Nira vies always to meet the high expectations of her family. She always, however, falls short. After her family emigrated, her father’s brother Raj brought his family to Canada as well, taking advantage of a new loophole that allowed him to escape with his bank account intact. The brothers’ relationship is one of constant comparison: of belongings, of ambition, of their daughters’ academics. Nira’s cousin Farah attends a private school where she blends in with the “Farahbots,” other wealthy girls who share their heritage and culture. Anchoring both girls is Grandma, one of my favorite characters. Grandma is wise, funny, and realistic about the challenges Nira faces as she struggles to find her place. Most of the time, Grandma sits back and lets her family figure things out for themselves, but when she intervenes, she’s a “puppet master” who pulls all the right strings (loc. 664).

    Though Nira fights against the superficial judgments of others, she does herself fall prey to judging based on appearances. Much of the novel involves Nira learning to peel back layers, to understand that everyone has secret fears and hopes. Her friendship with Emily changes as they begin to invite others to her group—much to Nira’s chagrin—and Nira must deal with feeling pushed out of the relationships that anchor her. Emily becomes close to McKenzie, a popular girl whose constant misunderstandings about Nira—she’s Hindi, she’s Muslim, she’s from India, and SO many more—and Nira can’t understand how Emily can look past McKenzie’s prejudiced behavior. Nira’s love for music leads her to know Noah, a popular boy in the jazz band. Nira decided early on that Noah is out of her league, so she suppresses her crush in favor of being his friend. Eventually, Farah (despite Nira’s best efforts) joins this friend group, and Nira must strive to figure otu where she fits in this new arrangement of five.

    All of these elements are made essential by Deen’s writing: even when, as a reader, I became frustrated with characters, I understood their perspective. Deen crafts characters of such complexity that we understand both why Nira wants new, name-brand clothes and why the entire idea is anathema to her parents. We understand why Grandma insists on making tea in every situation and why her use of sugar in the tea signals the kind of situation she’s dealing with. We understand why Emily is Nira’s best friend, why Nira is jealous of their new friends, and why Emily is insisting that Nira be more understanding. Most of all, we understand both why Nira desires so strongly to please her parents and why she just can’t give up on music. Emily tells Nira early on that her playing reminds her of Neil—not Louis—Armstrong because when Nira plays, “[she] make[s] [Emily] think of moonlight and defying gravity” (loc. 74).

    Through the book, Nira becomes a keeper of secrets, both her own and others’, and each secret “steals the stars from the sky and the light from the moon” (loc. 1538). As a reader in on those secrets, I felt every moment of Nira’s story, of her imperfections and her pursuit of growth, of her moments of being an outsider and of belonging, of seeing her path clearly and being pushed off of that path. Watching her figure out herself and those around her is a journey I won’t forget, and I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Pre-order Natasha Deen’s In the Key of Nira Ghani immediately. You won’t regret it.

  • Bethany

    This is one of the best 2019 YA contemporary releases I have read this year and it really took me by surprise! In the Key of Nira Ghani is an #ownvoices coming of age story about being a teen torn between the expectations of an immigrant family and wanting to forge your own path. It's funny and heart-warming with a diverse cast of well-developed characters and complicated relationships that feel true to life. Nira has a wry sense of humor that I loved, and I found a great deal of her experience

    This is one of the best 2019 YA contemporary releases I have read this year and it really took me by surprise! In the Key of Nira Ghani is an #ownvoices coming of age story about being a teen torn between the expectations of an immigrant family and wanting to forge your own path. It's funny and heart-warming with a diverse cast of well-developed characters and complicated relationships that feel true to life. Nira has a wry sense of humor that I loved, and I found a great deal of her experience both widely relatable and wonderfully specific. Nira's parents want her to become a doctor or scientist and really push academics, but Nira dreams of playing the trumpet professionally. This story involves her grappling with that conflict, but she also has a really strong arc of personal growth through the book as she slowly comes to recognize her own prejudices and misconceptions.

    Nira emmigrated with her family from Guyana to Canada when she was quite young, but due to political circumstances, the family had to leave their wealth behind and so finances are always tight. This creates difficulties as Nira navigates being one of the only brown kids in her school with different culture and fewer resources. (as a side note, my parents are not immigrants, but I still found a lot of the money-centered arguments to be very familiar- being a teen and wanting things like cool clothes or money to hang with friends and not having that option, but lacking the perspective to grasp parental sacrifice) Nira lives with her parents and her grandmother, who is SUCH a great character! You will absolutely fall in love with her, and she is the perfect foil for the teen-parent conflict in the household. She is convinced that a cup of tea helps in any situation and is always pushing tea and food on people, while managing to get her way in almost everything. I loved the family relationships in this book, between Nira and her parents, Nira and her grandma, and also their contentious relationships with extended family.

    There is also a strong plot involving friendship and jealousy that I thought was handled really well. Nira has one close friend at school, but when a girl she doesn't like joins their group, she starts to feel threatened and insecure. There is great messaging about how people are complicated and not as simple as they seem, especially in high school when image seems to matter so much. There is also a bit of a romance! I enjoyed it, but also appreciated that the story was really about Nira growing to love herself and the people around her, really coming into her own. I thought it was beautiful, compelling, and entertaining, while also offering insight into understanding immigrant families. This was exactly what I want in contemporary fare for teens with humor and heart.

    It is also very much a product of its time in the best possible way! As is appropriate in 2019, we get casually queer side characters, parents who don't assume crushes will be on a single gender, and pushback on traditional forms of masculinity and the sexist behavior that can accompany it. I feel like this is kind of flying under the radar, but I really recommend people give it a try. I was sent a review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  • Elizabeth

    I received a free review copy from NetGalley.

    TL;DR version: 3.5 stars, rounded up. I didn't love this book, but I enjoyed it, and I think rounding up to 4 stars is a fair assessment. Cute, and nice to see an #OwnVoices book, but I feel like I’m getting too old to really enjoy YA slice-of-life books like these.

    + Nira is pretty well fleshed out, as is her cousin Farah and the rest of her family, but I feel like I don't know Nira's social circle (Emily, Mac, and Noah) all that well. I liked that N

    I received a free review copy from NetGalley.

    TL;DR version: 3.5 stars, rounded up. I didn't love this book, but I enjoyed it, and I think rounding up to 4 stars is a fair assessment. Cute, and nice to see an #OwnVoices book, but I feel like I’m getting too old to really enjoy YA slice-of-life books like these.

    + Nira is pretty well fleshed out, as is her cousin Farah and the rest of her family, but I feel like I don't know Nira's social circle (Emily, Mac, and Noah) all that well. I liked that Nira's conflict was primarily focused on her family and her desire to forge her own path. It's also nice that she's judgemental and rude; it made her feel more realistic. Farah is your stereotypical "seems like a popular jerk but really has a heart of gold"/"her perfect life isn't actual perfect" tropes, but them being tropes didn't particularly bother me since they were well-developed.

    + Noah, Nira's love interest, is bland but inoffensive. I feel like that's pretty much the best one can ask for when it comes to male LIs in YA stories. He's pretty much just there to be nice and supportive to Nira. At least the romance is kept to a minimum and isn't the focus of the story. And no love triangle! That was a plus.

    + Emily and Mac got the short end of the stick in terms of development. It was pretty obvious from the start that

    . I don't really feel like I know who they are as characters. Mac comes across a being a total jerkass for the first 1/2 of the book and I didn't really buy the later explanation for all that. Might have worked better if it had been explored further, especially in the first half of the book.

    + The plot is ... okay. This is where the book kind of falters for me, personally. It's nothing terrible, but it's not particularly groundbreaking anyway. Which is fine, and there's nothing wrong with straightforward, slice-of-life stories (especially since onces featuring non-white characters are family uncommon), but it didn't really grab me or move me in any significant way. To be fair, there's quite a large age gap between myself and the characters; I'm certainly not the target audience.

    + The writing is fine. Nothing spectacular, but that's fine. All of the characters had distinctive voices and the banter between Nira and her grandmother was nice and felt real.

    + Interestingly,

    .

  • Michelle

    is an "Own Voices" YA novel. Nira is a young girl who dreams of playing her trumpet in her school's jazz band. This does not sit well with her traditional Guyanese family who still hold fast to the values of education, hard work, commitment to family and respect for elders. They see music as a deterrent from her goals and her pleas a sign of disrespect. All that Nira wants is something for herself. She is a good girl who manages to keep up her grades and tries to help ou

    is an "Own Voices" YA novel. Nira is a young girl who dreams of playing her trumpet in her school's jazz band. This does not sit well with her traditional Guyanese family who still hold fast to the values of education, hard work, commitment to family and respect for elders. They see music as a deterrent from her goals and her pleas a sign of disrespect. All that Nira wants is something for herself. She is a good girl who manages to keep up her grades and tries to help out her family as much as she can. As the only brown girl in her school she feels that she does not fit in with most of her classmates; invisible most of the time except for when she is with her best friend Emmy. She does not even feel a closeness with her Uncle Raj and his family. Although both he and her father had attained some level of success in their homeland, Raj was allowed to bring his money with him to Canada while Nira's father was forced to start all over. This perpetuates the competitive dynamic that these two brothers have and is the reason for why the two girl cousins are not close at first.

    The keystone of the family that holds everything together, their bedrock, is the grandmother. She is such a delightful character. There is no problem that she can't fix with a cup of tea a little milk and some sugar. Sometimes her wisdom is remaining laid back and quiet and letting things fall where they may and other times she has no qualms saying her peace and putting her foot down. But she is revered and she is loved. Even through the pages she feels like family. You want to go home with her. This is my first Natasha Deen novel. I read this to fulfill a PopSugar challenge and am glad that Natasha Deen shared "her family" with us.

  • Christina

    A slow start to a great ending all things considered. There is an honest poignancy to the story of a Guyanese immigrant teen trying to break preconceived notions about her through music. The disparity between Nira and the other kids at school – both socially and culturally – is an extremely relatable concept that rings true for many.

    It took a while to really get into the

    A slow start to a great ending all things considered. There is an honest poignancy to the story of a Guyanese immigrant teen trying to break preconceived notions about her through music. The disparity between Nira and the other kids at school – both socially and culturally – is an extremely relatable concept that rings true for many.

    It took a while to really get into the story and I think it was because of my reaction to certain, unlikable characters in the book. The book bellows the sentiment, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and learning to understand someone by “walking a mile in their shoes.” But there were a couple instances were Nira took the blame and understand the other’s view while others not understanding where she’s coming from and seeing that her reactions to certain events were normal, justified human reactions. Don’t expect someone to suddenly like you if every time before that their interactions with you involve racists comments whether you meant them or not.

    Nira’s Grandma is the best. A wise, calm sage in the midst of chaos. She’s also funny. I don’t know if tea really does solve everything, but it’s something I can get behind.

    I really liked learning about Guyanese culture and seeing its varying effects on Nira and her family. They all want to be more than what there were/are than what they left behind. It made the conflict gripping. You end up cheering for everyone in the process to do better and be better. I loved how this story is a reflection the author’s own experiences and those of her parents. You could really feel the raw, realness of what was going on. Everything seemed more upfront from start to finish.

    There’s a lot of struggles and feelings for each dynamic character (and I would say most of them were) to undergo dramatic changes in how they view the world and each other. I think there’s something positive in this story that every reader can take away from reading it.

  • Reno

    I received an Advanced Copy via Netgalley in exchange for an objective review.

    I was born in Guyana, so I was intrigued to read a YA title featuring a Guyanese protaganist named Nira. She’s an opinionated, self-centered high school student in Canada frustrated with her immigrant parents strict academic rules. Study. Study. Study. Nothing else! But Nira loves the trumpet. And she’s a talented, untrained trumpet player to boot!

    The struggle with her immigrant parents and fitting in at school is an

    I received an Advanced Copy via Netgalley in exchange for an objective review.

    I was born in Guyana, so I was intrigued to read a YA title featuring a Guyanese protaganist named Nira. She’s an opinionated, self-centered high school student in Canada frustrated with her immigrant parents strict academic rules. Study. Study. Study. Nothing else! But Nira loves the trumpet. And she’s a talented, untrained trumpet player to boot!

    The struggle with her immigrant parents and fitting in at school is an experience well-described by the author. I didn’t mind the scattered transitions as I felt this was reflective of the chaos of being a teenager. Nira’s relationships with her friend Emily and her cousin Farah, as well as her parents, changes throughout the novel, also reflecting the ups and downs of a teenager. Her one respite is her relationship with her grandmother, who she has to share with Farah. When Nira finds out Farah’s family secret, she learns why her grandmother treats Farah the way she does.

    Every little thing is heightened in Nira’s teenage mind, which makes you want to scold her yourself as a reader. Many times, she acts like a “ninny” as Farah her cousin calls her. I found myself disliking her choice of words in moments, but rooting for her to change for the better. In the end, it takes a tragedy for her to see the light while her other relationships are wrapped up and tied up in a neat bow. Overall, I was gently touched by Nira and her sensitive nature, even if she did act like a “ninny” at times!

    I appreciate the Guyanese cultural elements being sprinkled throughout the story without overtaking the focus on Nira’s character arc, although a bit more culture would have given me more connection to Guyana beyond the fact that the country is corrupt and poor, as described by Nira and her family.

    There is a lot of exposition in the writing, which is a writing device that always needs to be balanced by authors. From what I read about the author, this is a personal story made into a YA novel. And she has other books! I’ll be rooting for her and looking forward to her future novels and seeing her writing evolve.

    Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing the ARC to review!

  • Kat

    * Thank you HBG Canada for the opportunity to be apart of this blog tour *

    - ACTUAL 4.25 stars -

    In the Key of Nira Ghani is a contemporary novel following Nira, a Guyanese girl with a passion for music. Her parents do not approve of her talent, forcing her to take a stand against her parents, who she loves, for what she loves, playing her trumpet. And with a competitive cousin, Farah, and mean girl, McKenzie, trying to push their way into her friend group, and a new found crush on Noah, Nira begi

    * Thank you HBG Canada for the opportunity to be apart of this blog tour *

    - ACTUAL 4.25 stars -

    In the Key of Nira Ghani is a contemporary novel following Nira, a Guyanese girl with a passion for music. Her parents do not approve of her talent, forcing her to take a stand against her parents, who she loves, for what she loves, playing her trumpet. And with a competitive cousin, Farah, and mean girl, McKenzie, trying to push their way into her friend group, and a new found crush on Noah, Nira begins feeling like an outsider among her closest friends. Nira must balance others expectations and her own plans in this culturally diverse story about growing up.

    I really enjoyed this book, Nira was an easy character to connect with. The reader followed her struggles fitting in, and felt for her as people continued to disappoint her. The family dynamics were interesting, and more secrets were revealed as the story continued that drew the reader in. I have not read a book with a Guyanese main character before, so that was unique too. It is important to have books share these cultural and social topics, as diversity a key part of today's culture.

    At times I did find Nira a bit passive, and there were a couple slow points in the story line, but it was a great quick read. Overall, contemporary fans will adore this sweet novel!

  • Sandra

    In the Key of Nira Ghani is an ownvoices story following a Guyanese teen who is caught between her parents expectations and her own wishes to be a musician. At the same time her best friend is pulling away from her, and why is the cute popular guy Noah suddenly talking to her?

    (laughing at my attempt to write a synopsis without actually writing the synopsis)

    In the Key of Nira Ghani has real characters which I felt were written really well. I love how Nira is such a teenager, with all her insecu

    In the Key of Nira Ghani is an ownvoices story following a Guyanese teen who is caught between her parents expectations and her own wishes to be a musician. At the same time her best friend is pulling away from her, and why is the cute popular guy Noah suddenly talking to her?

    (laughing at my attempt to write a synopsis without actually writing the synopsis)

    In the Key of Nira Ghani has real characters which I felt were written really well. I love how Nira is such a teenager, with all her insecurities and dreams. I loved her family and how everything could be fixed with a cup of tea. All the characters has different sides and I felt for them all.

    In my opinion the ending was the weakest part of the story, it wasn’t really executed well and I thought that it could have been more developed. There were also some relationships I wished we could have seen more of: Noah & Nira, Nira’s family vs. Farah’s family (and if they ever found out her uncle’s secret), Mac & Emily! I hope we actually get a sequel because there is a lot left to explore!

    More thoughts can be found my full video review:

    3.5/5 stars! Would recommend if you want a diverse and nice contemporary.

  • Jessica | Booked J

    Review also found

    at Booked J.

    Here's the thing: I feel like maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this book?

    It's not that I didn't enjoy it (I definitely did!) but I did have a hard time focusing on it for prolonged periods of time, much like my experience with a few Sarah Dessen and John Green books in the past. I liked it well enough, but it didn't grip me. It had a very slow start that progressed and quickened as it went. So, there is a big chance that my review is going t

    Review also found

    at Booked J.

    Here's the thing: I feel like maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this book?

    It's not that I didn't enjoy it (I definitely did!) but I did have a hard time focusing on it for prolonged periods of time, much like my experience with a few Sarah Dessen and John Green books in the past. I liked it well enough, but it didn't grip me. It had a very slow start that progressed and quickened as it went. So, there is a big chance that my review is going to be a bit all over the place.

    Before I get started: despite my mixed reviews, and my constant stopping and starting, I never felt compelled to completely ditch the book. I always knew I was going to finish it, because I wanted to--so, that definitely ties into my thought process re: my mood. My mind was just not fully in it to win it, I guess. And, as always, my thoughts are my own and taste is subjective.

    Instead of focusing on negatives, we're going to focus on the sheer brilliance of the other parts of this book. I find that a lot of my issues with it really were mood oriented and perhaps even just me growing out of YA books almost entirely these last two or so years. Because, when I look back on the story as a whole, there were so many qualities that I genuinely loved about it.

    is, first and foremost, a hopeful sign of where YA will go in the years to come--finally, there are more and more diverse works of fiction coming out that have been needed for so long. It is a contemporary, coming of age story that features more than your standard release. It centers around a Guyanese character who is growing up in a way that is very true to life.

    In the course of a book, we watch her as she grows and each chapter carries on some very important messages about one's self, judgment and the fact that people aren't always what they seem. In this moment of growth for our main character, we feel the weight of important messages told in a way that is poignant. We learn about ourselves, just as we learn about the characters in this book.

    I liked that it took some very serious topics and balanced in some funny interactions, too, creating a sort of balance that is necessary in story telling.

    While Natasha Deen's characters and plotlines at times fall into tropes that are a bit overused in YA, she doesn't use the tropes in the way that makes them generic. Instead, Deen creates characters that are developed beautifully. I think that the cast of characters is what makes up for parts of the novel I wasn't wholly keen on, because they were truly present and I loved it.

    (And the dynamics! I loved.)

    This isn't to say that other YA releases don't fully develop their characters, or relationships, it is just that they rarely do so in the ways that Deen has. She's take great care in doing so and crafted the vast majority of her characters in a way that feels real. You don't feel like they are merely characters.

    At its core, it is a pure and simple coming of age novel that will truly stand its own ground amongst its contemporaries. Further,

    is beautiful promise of what is to come for its author. I can't wait to see where she goes, and I truly believe she is amongst the authors that will be around for years to come. I'm definitely going to look into some of her prior, and future, releases.

    Overall, I thought that

    was pretty solid and intriguing. It's definitely a book that I may reread in the future to see if I missed something, to see if my original rating was merely a mood I was in. Natasha Deen is someone you'll want to be looking out for in the years to come!

    This is the kind of book that needs to be kept in classrooms and school libraries.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.