Read Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger Online


Seventeen-year-old Samar -- a.k.a. Sam -- has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wantSeventeen-year-old Samar -- a.k.a. Sam -- has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam isn't sure what to do, until a girl at school calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside. That decides it: Why shouldn't Sam get to know her family? What is her mom so afraid of? Then some boys attack her uncle, shouting, "Go back home, Osama!" and Sam realizes she could be in danger -- and also discovers how dangerous ignorance can be. Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge two worlds and make them both her own....

Title : Shine, Coconut Moon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416954958
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Shine, Coconut Moon Reviews

  • Phoebe
    2019-05-21 01:15

    I picked up this debut novel because 1.) the cover (yes, what they say about covers is true) and 2.) what I know about Sikhs could fit on the thin end of the reel-to-reel inside a VHS cassette labeled "Annie." I've given the novel three stars only because my personal preference is for literature with a certain poetry to the language, and this book is fairly straight-forward. Really it deserves five stars for permitting me insight into a culture long-hidden from my experience, for the sharpness of Ms. Meminger's understanding of the difficulty of not only being caught between cultures, but ALSO of what it's like to get a late introduction to one's cultue-of-origin, and -finally- for her thoughtful and never-precious handling of life in the quaking aftermath of Sept 11. Also, add a star for the novel being set in New Jersey (my mothership). :^)

  • Soobie can't sleep at night
    2019-04-26 08:18

    I finished this book at 3.30 this morning.It's weird. As an Italian, I never have to face race or ethnicity questions. In the Italian census you don't have to mark anything regarding your race. I mean, I'm not sure what the government will do with such data. Yet in the US census you have to mark if you're white, black or Pacific Islanders. True that the US has always been an immigration country, still... I mean, according to Thomas A. Guglielmo, when Italians first came to the US they didn't know what race meant. They were the only people talking to Chinese or Black American but they soon embraced the US habits...One could argue: Soobie, you're 25% Southern Italian, don't you wish to learn more about life down there? Not really. I've met the Southern relatives during funerals and weddings but I've never really feel attracted to them. Their accents is so different and they're so exuberant in the demonstration of love that I always feel out of place with them. And really, they got angry if I asked them to speak more slowly because I couldn't understand them...All of this to say that race and ethnicity are concepts that are a bit foreign to me. So I was a bit curious about this book. Being Sikh in New York City soon after 9/11. There have been some articles on the newspapers lately about Sikh: they say that they're very closed into their communities and don't do anything to open up to the Italian society. Don't know if it's true or those articles serve the purpose of creating a new enemy. Back to the book, Sam lives with her mother in New Jersey and one day, a couple of days after 9/11, her estranged uncle Sandeep suddenly appears on their doorstep. When Sam was two years old, her mother decided not to speak with her parents anymore because they were too closed in their Sikh traditions. 9/11 changed things and her brother wanted his family around during that tough time. Sam suddenly realizes that there's a part of her past that she doesn't know anything about. And she starts to look for information about what it means to be Sikh and, above all, what it means to be Sikh in New Jersey. Sam finds new Indian friends at school and she can compare her life with the life of her friends, who have stricter parents.At first her best friend doesn't understand how important it is for Sam to find out about herself and this puts a strain on their friendship. Her boyfriend goes postal about her having a Sikh uncle and he starts being jealous and unreasoning. Meeting her grandparents, however, is not as easy as she thought it would be. There is a culture clash between the three generations. What I found really interesting is that even among Indians (sorry, I don't remember the other term they use in the book) there are different shades of complexion: the fairer, the better. In the end, it was a good book and I'm glad I've read it. It gave me new insight into a world I knew nothing about.

  • Sharon
    2019-05-05 03:57

    Shine, Coconut Moon really appealed to me because of the topics that it deals with. What does it mean to be an American? Can you be an American but still keep your old family traditions? I really liked how Neesha handles these topics. Samar knows nothing about her mother's family until her uncle steps back into her life. Along the way she learns that she can be an American while still following some of her family’s traditions. I really enjoyed how Samar grows and learns about her mother's side of the family. She has always tried to just fit in with her mostly white classmates but now she takes the time to speak with some other Indian students. This was really my favorite part of the book because it is so nice to see Samar expanding her world view. In the past she would always ignore her Indian classmates.Some of the secondary characters were also pretty interesting. I really loved Samar's uncle. He was such a kind and sweet man. I really want him to be my uncle. I thought that Samar's boyfriend was a real trip. He starts off as this nice guy but the second she starts to learn about her Indian culture he turns into a maniac. This was one of the things that bothered me about Shine, Coconut Moon. Mike seems to go from the sweet boyfriend to a stalker idiot in a matter of minutes. It seemed really rushed. I think that Shine, Coconut Moon would have a high rating from me had it been a bit longer.I enjoyed Shine, Coconut Moon and despite the fact that it seemed rushed the ending did wrap up nicely. I was able to kind of easy guess what was going to happen but I did get a little misty eyed a few times. I always enjoy a book that can make me that emotional.This was Neesha Meminger's first book and I really hope she writes more books. Especially books focusing on Indian culture. I also wish that she could come over here and make me some of the food described in Shine, Coconut Moon. I could really go for some Mutter Paneer right about now! Kudos to Neesha for the food cravings.

  • Minli
    2019-05-24 02:16

    Shine, Coconut Moon is a thoughtful YA book about a teen struggling with her Sikh identity in post-9/11 New York City. Sam's mother rejected her Sikh culture, and as a result Sam grew up a "coconut"--brown on the outside, white on the inside. She believes there's no difference between herself and her best friend Molly, and she and her mother consider themselves perfectly assimilated in their suburban New Jersey society. But one day, Samar's Uncle Sandeep shows up on their doorstep, asking to be part of their family. Uncle Sandeep is Sikh and wears a turban.I'm not sure if this is an author debut, but while the story was good, the writing could be clumsy at times, with scenes that were cut short, awkward transitions and a rushed fast-forward ending (not unlike Paula Yoo's Good Enough). However, no one appreciates an identity book about a teen's diverse experience more than I do. And while it took me a good while to warm to Sam, I did like her eventually. She puzzled me--early on, I couldn't tell if she was ashamed of her her heritage, if she was ignorant or if she was worried about being cool.Finally, while I very nearly had mother issues with this book, I think Meminger did a great job not demonizing Sam's mother. (I would say the same for even the less likable characters.) Also, the copy was misleading and provocative in a way I didn't like--while Uncle Sandeep does get attacked... it happens in the last twenty pages, and the story doesn't begin there like the copy suggests. It's much more focused on Samar and her confusion about her heritage.

  • Kathryn Berla
    2019-04-28 01:54


  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2019-04-28 01:59

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.comThe cover of SHINE, COCONUT MOON should be enough to draw readers to the contents of Ms. Meminger's story. But if the cover doesn't pull you in, then the story should capture your attention.Samar has always considered herself American. She had a few incidents when she was younger of being treated as an outsider, but when Molly befriended her, Sam was accepted without any problems.It isn't until after September 11, 2001, that life changes for Sam. A strange man in a turban shows up at her door claiming to be her long lost uncle - Uncle Sandeep. Her mom had severed all ties to her family, so the man on their porch is a stranger to Sam. Sam's curiosity is piqued and she wants Sandeep to be a part of her life.But in the days post-9/11, anyone that even remotely looks like a terrorist is instantly regarded with suspicion, and Uncle Sandeep in his turban stands out in town. By association, people start looking at Sam differently. Sam knows nothing of her Indian heritage, and seeks out other girls like her at school for guidance.Sam begs her uncle to take her to her maternal grandparents. But when her grandparents realize that Sam's mother knows nothing of the trip, they cut the visit short. They insist they want to get to know Sam, but will only do so with Sharan's blessing.The novel shares the struggles of Samar coming to terms with who she is in a new post-9/11 society. Having been denied her heritage, she's hungry for knowledge of who she is and what her mother is running away from. Samar wants to fit in without controversy, but she also wants to be true to herself.SHINE, COCONUT MOON will make you angry with the way innocent people were put under scrutiny in the days following September 11, 2001, but it will also make you think about the way you consider those who are different from you.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-09 01:09

    Finally, a book about an Indian girl that isn't just about trying to get away from "tradition." Finally, a YA book about a girl who isn't white but whose life story isn't only about being brown. Finally, the first YA book I've read that deals with the current sociopolitical climate and its treatment of immigrants and minorities. I kind of knew this would be good going into it, since I read the author's blog, but it was still refreshing. I wish the dialogue had been written a bit better, since often it is either stilted or overly narrative and it mostly didn't sound like real teens, but the sentiments and plot were realistic and not obnoxious, unlike so many other YA books. This one's a keeper, and this one should be read by a lot of people, since about such important current issues (without seeming like a book about important current issues).

  • Briana
    2019-05-19 02:52

    A refreshing, thought-provoking read. I resonate to the theme potently, as being raised in the U.S has been a primary contributor in my own personal disconnection with my ethnic culture. As the main character Samar is determined in her venture of discovering her family ties and race, provocations of challenging my own self-identification arose and caused me to assess the values of family, ancestry as well as realize the importance of knowing yourself and being proud of where you come from.

  • R.J.
    2019-04-24 06:11

    This is a thoughtful and well-structured book about family, culture, and identity in the aftermath of 9/11. Samar is a very believable teenager, and her family members are both flawed and human. The way in which Sammy's quest to learn more about her South Asian origins affected her perception of herself and her relationships with various schoolmates, family and friends kept me engaged until the end.

  • Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
    2019-05-13 04:50

    I liked Shine, Coconut Moon!  I really liked Sam, and I liked seeing her decide to learn more about her family. 9/11 really changed things for a lot of people and I thought Shine, Coconut Moon really showed how much people changed.Like Sam's boyfriend.  I hated him, I really did.  How he treated Sam because of her uncle was absolutely horrible, and you'd think he'd give her a chance and try to see things from her perspective.  But he had no interest in doing that, and refused to leave her alone, even when she wanted to have nothing to do with him.  It's hard to believe that she was ever interested in him, and I was relieved when they were no longer together.And how things changed with her best friend.  Her best friend is the stereotypical character who doesn't understand how hard things are for Sam after 9/11.  Her friend does come around, and I wonder if maybe she noticed things but didn't want to admit it.This book is very much Sam learning about her heritage.  I thought the summary was confusing- it made it seem like her uncle showing up and him being would be a huge part of the book, but it wasn't.  His appearance does change things for Sam, and she does meet both him and her grandparents because of it, but it wasn't as important as the summary would have you believe.Don't get me wrong, the way he was treated by people he didn't even know was horrible, and he doesn't deserve it.  It's sad that people saw him a certain way because of how he looked, and that people make assumptions and stereotype.  I wish we didn't live in a world like that, but unfortunately, we do.  Something I thought was odd was when the book took place.  There were times where it seemed like it happened right after 9/11 and we're in the months right after.  But towards the end of the book, it seemed like more time had passed.  Maybe I missed something, but the timeline seemed really strange and confusing to me, and it took me out of things a little bit.I did like seeing Sam expand her worldview, and how she started talking to people that she previously ignored.  It's too bad some of the other people in her life couldn't (or wouldn't) do the same.  It made me angry that people started treating her differently because of her uncle, and that even though they've known her for years, they started looking at her with suspicion.  I'm really not sure what else to say about Shine, Coconut Moon.  It's definitely worth checking out and reading.My Rating: 3 stars.  Even though I liked Shine, Coconut Moon, I didn't love it.  I really felt for Samar, and I felt so angry on her behalf.  I definitely recommend it!

  • Priya Ramsingh
    2019-04-28 05:09

    Great story about a young woman of colour living in Jersey at the time of the 911 attacks. Samar is searching for her family in a quest to find out where she came from. Highly recommend this story to anyone who is struggling to assimilate and still maintain their cultural identity. This is still a very timely subject and will resonate with a wide audience, especially in light of what is happening in the United States today.

  • Reader Rabbit
    2019-05-11 03:01

    Samar, or Sam as she calls herself, is a coconut. That is, someone who's brown on the outside but white on the inside. Her mother only helps contribute to Sam's disconnection to her heritage. She's abandoned her parents and their old-fashioned lifestyle and hasn't even allowed Sam to meet her grandparents.But it's not like Sam cares. She has her own friends, a cute boyfriend and a modern life to keep up with. Then everything changes with the tragedy of 9/11.Because of 9/11, atrocious acts of violence were committed against those who appeared different. In the novel, these acts begin to nudge Sam into discovering her heritage.And then a man in a turban shows up, a man that Sam has never met before. It turns out that he's her mother's brother. Her uncle. And he's there to teach her about her Sikh heritage.Becuase of her mother's attitude towards her parents and their religion, Sam is forced to seek answers in secret. Her uncle takes her to visit a gurdwara, or a Sikh temple. He reconciles her with her grandparents. As violence affects her more personally, with teenage boys attacking her uncle and the gurdwara being set on fire, Sam begins to question her existence as a "coconut." And all the while, Sam has to connect the person she was with the person she is becoming. She has to deal with the evolving relationships of her friends and her boyfriend and see who really loves her for who she is.My sister and I both face the opposite problem that Sam did. Our parents adore "our" culture and are constantly pushing us into it. It was refreshing to read about Sam's quest to find her culture, rather than "abandoning our culture and becoming white" as our parents eloquently claim. (RR1: Yes, they are indeed a wee bit unstable. )Sam's mission to discover her heritage and her family is provoked and yet plagued by 9/11. Sam's (and the other characters') takes and reactions to 9/11 seem realistic and it is interesting to see the reactions of Sam's friends and the reaction of other "colored" people. Having lived in Canada, the upheaval of 9/11 was to a much lesser degree, to the point where (disregarding the news), people mostly seemed to forget about it. Thus, reading about it in Shine, Coconut Moons was an eye-opening experience and seeing it through a teenager's eyes was intriguing; it made the event seem only that much more real. A+ for the plot.The entire cast of characters in the novel are also extremely well done. As the main character, Sam plays her role wonderfully. She's easy to relate to (with issues that all teens face, on top of her desire to discover her heritage) and dynamic. Sam's mother also plays an integral role and she plays it well. The funny bit about it all was, at times it was easier for me to relate with her mother rather than Samar...hmm.Sam's uncle was the guide for Sam in her mission to find her family and culture, a role that he took on well. However, he was a more static character, despite his importance.Sam's best friend and boyfriend both served as contrasting roles. At the beginning, they sometimes seemed the people who both didn't understand or want to understand Sam's culture and why she had to discover her heritage. However, as the book progressed, one was revealed to be an ignoramus (RR1: Just like RR2! Oh, burn!) and the other proves to be loyal and supportive till the end.Samar's grandparents, however, hm. I didn't like them. Maybe it was just me but, they really brought out some grr feelings. (RR1: Yes, I realize that what I just said isn't exactly the most articulate..) I did love how her grandma called Sam "beta". Which, oddly enough, is what my grandmother calls me.(RR1: US) Only, she doesn't speak the same language as Sam's family...but whatever. It was interesting.Anyways, what was I getting at? They still seemed like the overbearing parents that Samar's mother ran away from. But then again, that was realistic for them. It would be unreasonable to expect a few years to completely transform them, especially considering how set in their ways they were...To the point? If you haven't figured it out now, Shine, Coconut Moon is a terrific book that most teens will enjoy. It's a coming of age novel, a self-discovery novel and just a plain ol' teen life novel wrapped in one. (Does that make any sense?) There's pretty much something for everyone here and I advise you to check it out!

  • Nathaniel
    2019-05-03 01:56

    I found this book extraordinarily didactic and oversimplified. I found many of the characters frustrating and shallow, while the villains felt like caricatures. Overall, while necessary in content, it failed in execution.

  • Christina (Reading Extensively)
    2019-05-23 08:00

    Coconut is a term for a person who is "brown on the outside, white on the inside." One of Sam's Indian classmates brings up the issue because Sam doesn't seem to identify with her heritage at all. She knows nothing about being Sikh and doesn't even know Punjabi. This idea is central to the book. Because of Uncle Sandeep and her Indian classmate Balvir, Sam starts to investigate her culture. She doesn't want to be a "coconut" anymore. Her uncle wisely says that a coconut is also a "symbol of resilience" because it flourishes in adversity. Both Sam and her uncle have gone through difficult times because of racism. Sam has grown up not knowing any of her relatives because of her mom's bad relationship with her parents. Sharan was trying to protect Sam from going through the pain she endured while growing up but at the same time she is hurting Sam by not allowing her to know her extended family. I like that Sharan is portrayed as a good mom. She is protective of Sam but also allows her room to be herself. Usually in books Indian parents are portrayed as very strict but Sharan is pretty modern and they have a good relationship. It kind of reminded me of an Indian version of The Gilmore Girls but without the rapid and funny dialogue. Even Sharan's relationship with her parents is similar to that of Lorelai with her parents. They love their daughter but they have different cultural values that cause them to clash with Sharan. The scenes with Sam and her grandparents are really touching. It is obvious that they have missed having her in their lives too. I really liked Uncle Sandeep and how he is there for Sam and tries to bring the family back together. He is kind of a mentor to Sam and he helps her make sense of her confusion about her family, Sikhism, and who she is. He also is not afraid to be true to himself even when facing racism.The secondary characters like Molly and Balvir also add to the story. Molly is a good friend to Sam even though she may not always understand what Sam is going through. I like how welcoming and accepting she is. Balvir is an interesting character because her life is what Sam's might have been like if she had grown up in a traditional Punjabi Sikh family. The one character I can't stand is Sam's boyfriend Mike. I don't really see why she puts up with him. He comes across as a complete jerk from the very beginning.Aside from my dislike of Sam's boyfriend, I thought this was an excellent book. It explores a lot of deep themes (racism, ethnic identity, religion, family) while at the same time having quite a bit of humor. I found myself relating to the Sam as she realizes she is a "coconut" because I was one as a teen too and still feel that way sometimes. I liked how this issue was examined. You don't have to be a South Asian though to understand to what Sam is going through. Anyone who has ever struggled to be true to who they are would be able to relate. I also enjoyed learning about Sikhism, a religion I didn't know that much about. Shine, Coconut Moon is Neesha Meminger's first novel. Readalikes: Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger, Does My Head Look Big In This by Randa Abdel-Fattah, Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah, Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth, Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami, Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

  • Dolly
    2019-05-15 01:19

    I'm always surprised at the stigma that exists against YA fiction. While some of the genre is indeed composed of dreadful, nauseating, poorly-written Twilight-esque prose, plenty of YA stories that are lucid, poignant, and meaningful.One such example is "shine, coconut moon" by Neesha Meminger. While at first glance, the book seems simple in its depiction of a young American girl's journey through the ups and downs of high school, there is terrific social commentary glittering within the pages. As Sam/Samar (the protagonist) comes to fully realize her identity as a South Asian Sikh during the contextual setting of the September 11th attacks, the reader grows with her, and we learn together how to tackle the complex issues of race, gender, and generational relations in contemporary America, as well as how we can discover more about ourselves and our contingent identities as individuals. I'm not saying the book is a literary masterpiece, but I do think it deserves more credit than the average YA novel. While Meminger's style as a writer is fairly straightforward, there are some parts of the book that struck me as undeniably poetic. I'm going to share them below!"Oh Great Creator, how can we become pure and truthful, honest and innocent... and break free of the illusion? It dawns on me, clear as a summer sky, how wrapping a turban, speaking the language of your parents' parents' parents, and celebrating the same holidays that everyone before you celebrated are all like little thank-yous to those who survived. Those seemingly small things are a long-held memory whispered from the lips of the past into the ear of the future. Remembering. It's all about remembering (Meminger 87). ________________________________________________________________________________________________ I have one of the most vivid dreams I've ever had. I'm on a boat. A biting wind howls around us, but the sun shines, bright and fierce. The boat sways on the surface of the peacock blue waters off the Jersey shore. Nanji stands stoically to one side of me, and Naniji leans against mom on my other side. Molly's not touching me, but I can feel her behind me. I hold up an urn and tilt it to let some ashes fly. They pour out and spread, sitting in the air like a twinkling mist. Little jewels in the bright afternoon sun, going up and out and down and everywhere. the ashes cling to my skin like talcum powder. When I try to brush them off, they only grind finer, sinking under the surface to burrow deep inside. Sun dust. A breeze whispers faintly into my ear, Shine, little muni, shine. I close my eyes and turn my face to the beaming warmth of the sun, realizing that the ashes in the urn are mine (Meminger 242-3).P.S. Here's a link to a really interesting article about the book cover art:

  • Sarah
    2019-04-26 01:12

    The story takes place in the days and months following the 9/11 attacks. Samar Ahluwahlia, known as Sam to her friends, is a seventeen-year-old Sikh Indian teen living in suburban New Jersey with her single mom, a therapist who has all but renounced her own Indian family and culture. When Samar's long lost uncle Sandeep comes back into their lives looking to reconnect, he awakens Samar to a whole new world -- the world of her Sikh Indian cultural and ethnic heritage.After an Indian girl at school jokingly calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside -- Samar enlists her uncle's help and sets off on a journey of self-discovery, searching for the truth about her family, about her heritage, and about the post-9/11 world in which she's growing up. Though her mother had always tried to shield Samar from the harsh reality -- from encouraging her daughter to essentially shake off the occasional childhood racism and bullying she endured at school to protecting her from her overbearing, judgmental grandparents -- Samar must now confront that reality head on as her turban-wearing Sikh uncle becomes the target of anti-Muslim violence.While SHINE, COCONUT MOON is not about 9/11 specifically, the story parallels the national tragedy with Samar's personal struggle to find out who she really is in such a heartbreaking, intimate way that it immediately brought me back to the days and weeks following the attacks. Not because of the grand scale of violence and loss of life that day, but because of the people -- the people whose loved ones died and who can never escape their grief. The people who continue to fight in wars overseas, so long and endless. And the people who were and continue to be blamed and attacked or even killed because of how they live their lives in this country -- the so-called "land of the free" -- because of the actions of a few extremists to which they've no connection other than skin color, country of origin, or the name of their religion (and in some cases, like Uncle Sandeep, not even those things).Now, nine years later, I want to think we're all better for our shared struggles. That we've all learned something about diversity and freedom and connectedness. But when I see things like the Qu'ran burning and the mosque protests, I wonder if that's even possible. I wonder whether 9/11 sparked such hate and fear, or if it just shined a bigger spotlight on stuff that was always there in our world, shoved under the rug until we suddenly had a "common enemy" to fight and a national expectation to take sides.I don't know the answer, but Uncle Sandeep's words to his niece are a good reminder for all of us as we struggle to figure out who we are and watch our friends and neighbors do the same:"We're not humans on a spiritual journey, Samar. We are spirits on a human journey. Remember that."

  • Ashley W
    2019-05-22 04:04

    Neesha Meminger'sShine, Coconut Moonis a very quick, yet thought-provoking read. The novel follows seventeen year old Samar who deals with trying to preserve and learn about her Sikh heritage in the days directly after 9/11 after her uncle shows up wanting to bridge the gap in the family that Samar's mother created. As I read, I found myself empathizing with Samar, and it brought back memories of elementary school where I distinctly remember being called an "oreo". So that being said, I understood Samar's perplexity at being called a "coconut". I really loved Samar's character and personality. There were some times when she came off as whiny and immature, but she grew up so much over the course of the novel. I also liked her relationship with her mother and understood both sides of their conflict. Samar's mother broke contact with her parents and brother because she hated the rigid rules she had to follow and didn't want her daughter to be thrust into the same world. However, Samar had a right to know her grandparents and where she came from. Another thing I liked about Samar's story was that the girl didn't pine when she broke up with her emotionally abusive boyfriend. She cried about it, but allowed herself to move on quickly. I was extremely proud of her decision that her heritage and identity were much more important than him and his needs. Throughout the novel, I just kept wanting the kid to fall into a hole. Anyway, other favorite characters included Molly, Samar's very Irish and very boy-crazy best friend, and her Uncle Sandeep, whose reappearance is the spearhead for Samar's change.I thought setting this when Meminger did is very important. If it had been set in the 2010s, it would have been a very different novel. It adds poignancy to the story and Samar's identity crisis. Not only is she (and the whole world) still reeling from one of the most tragic moments that could happen on American soil, but she must also face the backlash that occurred during that turbulent time against brown-skinned people. I also forgot that other cultures than just African Americans struggled with the idea of having more than one identity and also on the myth that people still believe "lighter skinned people are better".I definitely recommend this book to others, especially those who want to learn about another culture as I learned much about the Sikh religion and Indian culture, and also those still struggling to accept their own.

  • george
    2019-04-30 06:19

    Samar, known as Sam to most everyone around her, is a seventeen-year-old Indian-American. Except that aside from her name and her complexion, Sam isn't really Indian--she's completely assimilated; and that's how her mother wants her to be. Sam has never known any members of her family other than her mom until soon after September 11th a turban-wearing man shows up at her doorstep. The man turns out to be her mother's younger brother--the uncle that she's never known. The recent events have led Uncle Sandeep to reach out to Sam and her mom and it turns out that his sudden appearance jumpstarts a wave of curiosity in Sam. She immediately starts to question everything she's known about her family--are her mother's parents really as bad as she claims? What's it like to be a Sikh? An Indian? And whatever happened to her father? Learning about herself and her history is new territory for Sam, and for those closest to her. Her best friend Molly doesn't seem to get it; her mother is steadfastly against it; and her sweet boyfriend Mike is not acting like the guy she's always known. I really liked this. Sam is an ordinary teenager having to face identity questions and issues that most teenagers have to face; but because she has known nothing of her culture, it is definitely more intense for her. Trying to figure out who we are is difficult at any time, but especially for a seventeen-year-old girl whose main problem before 9/11 was when she was going to go all the way with her boyfriend. Well-written in that it's a fast read, but leaves the reader with many questions about her own identity. Good book.

  • Canadian Children's Book Centre
    2019-04-25 03:51

    Reviewed by Inderjit DeogunIn her first young adult novel, Neesha Meminger tells the story of 17-year-old Samar Ahluwahlia, who has never bothered to learn about her Sikh heritage or her old-fashioned family. That is, until, only days after 9/11, a turbanwearing man rings her doorbell: it’s her estranged Uncle Sandeep.His unexpected arrival brings to light not only the cruel reality of how the post-9/11 world perceives those of Indian heritage, but also Samar’s need to meet her grandparents. After ignorant high school boys pelt her uncle’s car with debris, Samar is driven to learn what exactly it means to be Sikh. Samar’s pursuit of knowledge and understanding is met with reluctance from her mother and she is forced to keep her desire to learn about Sikhism a secret. When her dream of connecting with her family is threatened, Samar’s only option is to tell her mother the truth. Shine, Coconut Moon dares to address the issues of growing up in a strict religious family, of battling cultural stigmas and of assimilating to society in the hope of avoiding prejudicial encounters. Meminger does not waver in her pursuit to tell an honest story. She openly depicts the utter brutality of intolerance as illustrated by the violent experiences of Uncle Sandeep and Samar. In the face of prejudice, Meminger sends the clear message that there is no greater weapon than to ‘know thyself.’Canadian Children's Book News (Spring 2010, Vol. 33, No. 2)

  • Deborah
    2019-05-18 00:10

    Seventeen-year-old Samar's, aka Sammy, interest in her Indian and Sikh heritage rises when her estranged uncle comes back into her's and her mother's lives weeks after 9/11 (the story takes places very shortly the events). Due to her own strict upbringing, Samar's mother has made every effort to make her feel American not Indian, but with the emergance of new family and the sudden judgement brought on by the terrorist attacks, Samar is suddenly made to confront her heritage and culture and who she is. Another instance where I wish there was a half star option because I liked it better than two and not quite enough for three. I'm a sucker for a story of coming to terms with one's culture, but this one just didn't do it for me. I mostly blame the lack of characterization for Sammy, which did improve in the second half of the book, but not quite enough. The supporting characters, especially Sammy's best friend Molly and Uncle Sandeep, feel lively and real, but Sammy seemed too much like a voice and not a character. I really did enjoy the themes brought up, especially about defining family, and judgement of others different than you, but there were a few too many crowded into the book, and a plot about Sammy making friends with other South Asian girls was not given enough attention. But I do hope the author writes more books, because there is a great need for books with characters of South Asian descent (definitely in my library!).

  • Medeia Sharif
    2019-05-02 05:05

    Samar is an Indian-American teenager who fits in with her friends. Teased because of her ethnicity when she was younger, she thinks she has things straight in high school. She has a best friend and a boyfriend. Her mother tries to be everything to Sam, since her father is not in the picture. Also, Sam has never met her grandparents because her mother is estranged from them; according to her mom, they are strict and narrow-minded. Life seems okay, but then Uncle Sandeep, whom Sam hasn't seen since she was kid, begins visiting them to reconcile with her mother. He wears a turban. People stare at him. The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center occur close to their New Jersey town. Uncle Sandeep is a target of bigots because of his dark skin and turban. Sam is called a coconut at school, someone who's brown on the outside and white on the inside. Sam begins questioning who she is, what does being a Sikh mean, why doesn't she know a word of Punjabi? She also wants to meet her grandparents.Shine, Coconut Moon is a brilliant, multicultural, young adult novel. Samar's discomfort with her sheltering mother and hateful bigots comes through with sharp realism. I enjoyed reading about Samar: all the thoughts and questions she had about herself and the people surrounding her.

  • Fatimah
    2019-05-18 01:01

    This book is about a seventeen-year-old girl, Samar a.k.a. Sam who has never known much about her Indian heritage neither has it ever bothered her until an unexpected visit from a guy in a turban after the 9/11 attacks who turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. several incidents take place where a girl at school calls her a coconut -- brown on the outside, white on the inside, which makes sam want to get to know her family but is talked out of by her mother, than some boys attack her uncle, shouting, "Go back home, Osama!" and Sam realizes she could be in danger. She realises how dangerous ignorance can be and soon decides to explore the indian side of her heritage. Sam will need all her smarts and savvy to try to bridge two worlds and make them both her own.Along the way, her path to self-discovery is riddled with pain, racism, healing, love, and reconciliation. As sam realises her southasian sickh identity the reader is able to tackle the complex issues of race, gender, and generational relations in contemporary America. Meminger's debut book is a beautiful and sensitive portrait of a young woman's journey from self-absorbed naïveté to selfless, unified awareness

  • The Loft
    2019-05-06 05:10

    Seventeen-year-old Samar (known as Sam to her friends) knows very little of her Indian culture or Sikh religion. Her single mother has raised her to fit in as an American teen; her mother has also kept her from getting to know her uncle and “old-fashioned” grandparents. That was all before 9/11.Shortly after that, a stranger arrives at her front door in a turban, startling Sam at first glance. It turns out he is her Uncle Sandeep, and he is eager to reconnect with Samar and her mother. When Uncle Sandeep drives Sam home from school and their car is pelted with bottles by Sam’s classmates who chant “go back home Osama,” her worldview begins to shift. Then Sam is at her best friend Molly’s house with Molly’s large, extended family, and Uncle Sandeep comes to pick her up. When he enters the house, Sam is acutely aware of the stares, of assumptions made about her uncle in his brown skin and turban. Feeling adrift, Sam decides to learn about Sikhism, about her heritage, and spends time with her uncle and grandparents in spite of the differences between them and her mother. As she explores and questions her identity, she no longer wants to be a coconut — brown on the outside, white on the inside.

  • Rachna
    2019-05-15 00:58

    I was interested in reading this book because it's the first YA I've come across where the main character is a Sikh American girl. I thought it'd be interesting to read from a perspective that is more similar to my own than most YA books. The premise was good, and I liked the character development that occurred. However, there was little emotional connection - it seemed like much of the book was just words on a page. The author didn't really pull you into what the characters were feeling as a whole. I felt like more could've been done to really connect with the characters. A lot of the situations felt rushed as well. I found myself reading one thing on the left side of the page and then BOOM a whole new situation 5 lines later. There could've been a little more writing and explanation (and I am not even a huge fan of those things).All in all, for someone who doesn't know a whole lot about Sikhism, or what it was like to be Sikh American directly after 9/11, this is a good read.

  • Deb
    2019-04-29 01:07

    Samar(Sammy)lives alone with her mother. They are of Indian descent, but Sammy's mom has never spoken about her family and has kept Sammy far away from them, even though they live only 90 minutes away. Immediately after 9/11, she comes home to find a man with a turban on his head at their front door. It's her Uncle Sandeep, who wants to reconnect because after 9/11, family feels very important. Samar's uncle is the victim of abuse by people "defending" America. (He's called Osama) even though he is Sikh, a peaceful religion (not that victimizing Muslims is OK). Sammy learns to appreciate her background and confront her mother about her past.Very well done. I like how it shows the prejudice and ignorance of people who think they're "right" when they hate. They get their comeuppance in the end.

  • Erin
    2019-04-25 04:55

    Only about 100 pages in, but am really enjoying this story of friendship, family and identity.Finished it!Set against the backdrop of 9/11, the story follows Sam as she struggles with family relationships, identity, and prejudice. Separated from her extended family by her mom's choice, she's been raised as a mainstream American teen and knows nothing about her heritage. When her Uncle Sandeep shows up on her doorstep, readers witness a family that struggles to reconnect and a main character who learns who she really is.Neesha did a great job creating a cast of believable characters and giving Sam very real reactions to the difficult situations she encounters. There's drama, suspense, self-discovery--and DANGER! All deftly handled. I learned a lot, too, about Sikh culture and customs...just like Sam does! I really enjoyed it.

  • Kristin
    2019-04-24 00:07

    A lot about this book I like. Samar is Indian-American and her uncle wears a turban and she wants to learn about her heritage and we shouldn't judge people and often we have racism we didn't even know about just lurking under the surface... but the author seems to try to hard to make this book hip, and some of the cultural references don't add up. I don't know if teens would notice or not, but this is set in the weeks and months following Sept 11, and the teens in this book are texting like mad and using wikipedia all day, when those things were incredibly new at the time, and most people didn't use them. Also, some parts of the characterizations seemed forced. Basically, I think the author has promise, but I think this is her first novel, which explains why it is less than stellar. Still, teens will probably still like it.

  • Karen
    2019-05-01 07:17

    Set in New Jersey just days after 9/11, this engrossing novel tells the story of 17-year-old Samar (Sammy) who is completely out of touch with her Indian heritage until an estranged uncle in a turban shows up on her doorstep. Through her story, teens too young to remember 9/11 will gain an appreciation of the emotions, fears and prejudice against foreigners that prevailed in late 2001 -- issues that remain extremely relevant today. Sammy's difficult but ultimately satisfying re-connection with her ethnicity will keep readers' interest. I especially liked the strong relationship between Sammy and her best friend Molly which survives typical teenage conflicts because of the maturity of both girls. Sammy is a good role model for girls trying to be true to their selves. A good choice for 7th grade and up.

  • Alicia
    2019-04-28 04:19

    Not life altering by any means this is a true coming-of-age story about a girl discovering her Sikh and Indian roots when her mother has been covering them up in order to protect herself from the pain of stereotyping and disappointment. Samar's best friend is Irish Molly and until now everything's been cool. But then September 11th happens and Samar's uncle appears after fifteen years. These things lead to Samar's need to discover her past even as her mother is furious and people in the community are hating on her, classifying her as Muslim and making her worried for her life and safety.Not overly well-written and a tad simplistic, it accomplishes its task without captivating the audience. If anything, a somewhat inspiring tale.

  • Anne
    2019-04-28 00:10

    The terrorists have just taken out the Twin Towers on 9/11, when a few days later, a man in a turban shows up on Samar's doorstep. She is astonished to realize that it is her uncle, her mother's brother. For her whole life, Sam has lived a very American life with only her mother. Suddenly she is struggling with a lot of questions concerning her self-identity, family, race, and religion.It is a little disconcerting, because the book is set just a few days after 9/11. However, because of the actual time that has passed between that event and the publication of the book, it can feel a little off-kilter at times. The reactions to the event and Samar's inner reflections are honest and genuine throughout.