Author: Shilpa Gupta
Publisher: Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Cover design: Houstonboy / Getty Images
Cover : 3/5
Title : 2.5/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Story : 4/5
Theme : 4/5
Characters : 4.5/5
Overall : 4/5
- Ananya- The protagonist
- Mohini, Nandini, Sanjana- Ananya’s best friends
- Rohit- Mohini’s brother
- Amit- Ananya’s classmate, benchmate, and family friend
- Dhruv, Dev, Kabir- Amit’s friends
‘I took the test and prayed for the colour of the lines on the strip to stay as they were. But they did not. The test was positive. I felt my entire world come crashing down around me.’
Meet Ananya Sharma, not your regular, teenage girl-next-door. Sure, she loves hanging out with her friends and engaging in whispered confidences at sleepovers, but when it comes to boys, she has competition on her mind rather than romance.
At school, she is passionate about math and the sciences, and completely focused on cracking the IIT entrance exams.
But when distraction enters her life in the form of the handsome and charming Rohit, Ananya discovers love, longing and betrayal, all at once. Finding herself pregnant at the age of seventeen, she learns that the world is a very different place once you are on its wrong side. The discovery of the fault lines in
her parents’ relationship—which until then had seemed perfect to her—further breaks her.
Will Ananya be able to reverse the downward spiral that her life has plunged into and find meaning once again?
In this wonderfully stark and honest portrayal of a teenager’s life, Ananya: A Bittersweet Journey has managed to encapsulate an entire generation’s struggle of growing up in today’s often troubled times.
Ananya is a normal teenage girl, topper of her school, brilliant at sports, and the apple of her parents’ eyes. Cocooned in a small world of her parents and three best friends – Sanjana, Mohini, and Nandini – she loved to be the centre of attraction of her life, and well, who does not. Topping the school exams and cracking the most coveted IIT-JEE entrance exam were the only things on her mind until cupid struck her and she fell for a guy, her best friend Mohini’s brother, Rohit, at first sight. She started feeling differently for him and his strange behavior towards her confused her more. A girl like her, with a lean figure, wearing glasses, studious, and living in her own world, is somehow not allowed to dream of guys getting attracted towards her. But it is different with Rohit. He not only speaks notoriously to her, but also indicates with his gestures that he is attracted towards her. Lacking love and care at home, with highly ambitious yet loving and caring parents, Ananya is overwhelmed with all the love and affection bestowed upon her by Rohit and soon enough is madly, deeply, and totally in love with him; so much that she doesn’t realize when the thin line of morale is crossed between the two of them and soon enough she realizes that amidst her ambitions and dreams, she is pregnant. Her world comes crashing down at her. With Rohan behaving as if nothing ever happened between them and his blackmail of leaking her intimate photograph into public, Ananya is in a dilemma of how to handle the course of events that had put her being at stake.
Soon after a natural miscarriage, the loss of Rohit from her life, and also that of Mohini, leaves a void in her life. Ananya is unable to live with the fact that she had brought shame to her parents who were once so proud to show her off to their friends and colleagues; she would be the reason for their head held high in the society. With just one event turning things upside down in her life, she loses her dignity in school, where she decides never to step-in again; her dream of cracking the IIT-JEE and becoming a highly successful civil engineer now seeming too far from her reach. But it is heart-touching to see the way in which her parents and friends, Sanjana, Nandini, and especially Amit, help her get out of depression and get back to normal life again. The knowledge about the course of events in Rohit’s life after Ananya’s pregnancy is revealed in Rohit’s home, however, is something she had never foreseen. Some tini-tiny spices in the story make the script lively and worth-reading. It is something that today’s generation’s teenagers as well as parents need to learn a lesson from.
Shilpa has very well described feelings and emotions that a teenager goes through. She managed to explain the fact that the love and care of friends and family is of utmost importance in everyone’s life, especially during teenage years when the entire world seems to be our enemy — failing to understand our exact emotional turmoils. Perfect grammar, amazing storyline, and a beautiful script is all I can praise about the book.
I wish the end was a bit more fine-tuned and had some more detailing to it. It somehow felt that the script ended when a ray of hope was building up; would have loved to read more!
A bittersweet journey of a teenager, a good read. (4/5)
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