Title: The Rearranged Life
Author: Annika Sharma
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Number of Pages: 268
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.
As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.
The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.
Man, is it nice to read some New Adult that isn’t laden with sex on every other page. I was beginning to wonder if all NA authors thought that college aged people spend their days participating in wild orgies and keg parties. I salute you, Annika Sharma, for portraying college students that actually act like real, average college students. Yes, there are parties from time to time, and some of them do get out of hand. However, most of us truly do spend our time studying or just hanging out with friends. I think that this was one of my favorite aspects of this book: it was actually real. As a nineteen year old college student, I can 100% that The Rearranged Life managed to capture what it’s like to be a college student spot on, especially when you’re a college student with a massive amount of pressure coming from your family.
Speaking of family, I thought that the family dynamics in this book were fascinating, especially when you compare Cole’s family to Nithya’s family. Cole’s family is basically the picture of the all American dream. They’re loving, supportive, and financially well off. Nithya’s family was a lot different, but still somehow the same. They loved her, and they only wanted what they thought would be the best for her. The scenes with Nithya’s family were so enlightening for me, for lack of a better term. I admit to being fairly ignorant to Indian culture. I’ve never known anyone of Indian descent personally, so I’ve never really become acquainted with their customs and traditions. After finishing The Rearranged Life, I can say that I’ve fallen in love with the culture, and I’m certainly a little more familiar with it. Annika Sharma’s writing style really helped me connect with the cultural elements. For example, the way that she described the Indian wedding scene was just vivid. I could clearly picture all of the colors and all of the life in that room.
Another aspect of this book that was enlightening for me is how Nithya’s character (and the other Indian characters throughout) viewed Western culture. There were a few instances in the book where Nithya would get annoyed or slightly offended by something that one of her peers would say, and I wouldn’t have had any idea that it was an offensive thing to ask. Obviously, one of the big themes throughout was arranged marriage, or really just marrying within your own culture. At the beginning of this book, I didn’t really know how I was going to feel about the whole thing. I ended up being able to understand the whole concept, and appreciate the idea of trying to preserve your culture and traditions.
THIS IS WHY WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it was a great look into Indian culture, and also a very honest look at what it’s like to be a college student. I ended up giving this five out of five stars.