Publication Date: June 6, 2012
Pages: 222 pages
Source: Received from author for review.
What’s a girl gotta do to get her first bra, her first kiss, her first love?Featuring a smart, witty teen's observations on family, race, and self-esteem, Bras, Boys and Blunders is a story that will open your heart and keep you laughing.
If you thought the Middle East was all about fatwas and burkhas, think again. Join the fun as Veena, a naive teen from India, bungles her way through adolescence on the island of Bahrain. Laugh out loud as she deals with the intricacies of stubborn bras, crazy parents, racist classmates, first love, and the No-No Club, an abstinence club that degenerates into the Yes-Yes Club. If you’ve ever struggled with body image issues, ever wanted to be different from what you are, ever wanted a hot guy or girl you couldn’t have, or if you just want a good laugh, this novel is for you, whether you’re nine, ninety, or anywhere in between.
I had a strong feeling that I would enjoy Bras, Boys and Blunders as soon as I read the first page. The story opens with main character Veena at school, in a sex ed class. The students love making their teachers squirm, asking question after awkward question about reproduction. This made for a very funny, attention-grabbing scene, and I was hooked.
Veena, an Indian, is a minority at her Catholic school in Bahrain. The school is attended by mostly ex-pats like Veena, but also locals as well, and she refers to the school as the United Nations. Now pardon me for a minute while I put on my "Geek Hat" because I loved reading about the political/social/geographical differences that were represented in the story. I found the discussion of the social separation and the blatant racism among the students very enlightening. The white students or those from the most well-developed nations were at the top of the social standings; Arabs are next in order; then came the students from the Third World countries like India and Pakistan. What I found most interesting was that the kids from countries at odds such as India and Pakistan were friends. But their location, with it's relative sense of seclusion, allowed them to leave those issues back home. So yes, the part of me that reads historical and political books and articles for fun was happy happy happy with Bras, Boys and Blunders.
My favorite aspect to the story, though, was the humor. I think I had a smile on my face nearly the entire time I was reading Bras, Boys and Blunders. Veena is one of the most charming, sarcastic, and endearing characters I've met. The poor girl can hardly get a break. Her mother is just insane. She has a "half glass empty" mentality and consistently dumps her realism on Veena. Mom could have very easily become a villain if handled improperly, but Samson handled the strong personality well I found her insanity to be amusing instead of irritating. Veena's classmates were just as engaging. Her best friend Unita was awesome. As was Kyle, an American boy who consistently stays in trouble, and ends up being one of my favorite characters.
Bras, Boys and Blunders is more of a character story, or observation of Veena's path to self-acceptance and finding her own path to happiness. I laughed at the hysterical situations she stumbled through. I cringed, yet chuckled at her ridiculous mother. And I must say, the ending surprised me and made me so, so happy. The last sentence was fantastic. I was thrilled as she began to find and trust her own voice. Bras, Boys and Blunders was a fast, fun story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"A couple of years ago, my mother given me her version of The Talk:
'Veena, you've reached the age where boys will want to do bad things to you. Remember that if you say yes, you will burn in Hell for all eternity and beyond.' " (ebook, 1%)
"I decided to try to nudge her into being more the kind of guide they would approve of. 'Some parents like to tell their kids it's what's inside that counts.'
'You wouldn't want me to lie, would you?' " (ebook, 8%)
"There are times in a girl's life when she really needs the counsel of an older, wiser adult. I decided I needed to talk to someone sensible and insightful.
That automatically ruled out my parents. I was sure that if I ever took my mother's advice about anything, my life would start resembling the Apocalypse, but with a sadder ending." (ebook, 36%)
You can purchase Bras, Boys, and Blunders at: