Such Big Dreams by Reema Patel, 3.5 Stars

Rakhi is a twenty-three-year-old haunted by the grisly aftermath of an incident that led to the loss of her best friend eleven years ago. Constantly reminded she doesn’t belong, Rakhi lives alone in a Mumbai slum, working as a lowly office assistant at Justice For All, a struggling human-rights law organization headed by the renowned lawyer who gave her a fresh start.

Fiercely intelligent and in possession of a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue, Rakhi is nobody’s fool, even if she is underestimated by everyone around her. Rakhi’s life isn’t much, but she’s managing. That is, until Rubina Mansoor, a fading former Bollywood starlet, tries to edge her way back into the spotlight by becoming a celebrity ambassador for Justice For All. Steering the organization into uncharted territories, she demands an internship for Alex, a young family friend from Canada and Harvard-bound graduate student. Ambitious, persistent, and naïve, Alex persuades Rakhi to show him “the real” India. In exchange, he’ll do something to further Rakhi’s dreams in a transaction that seems harmless, at first.

As old guilt and new aspirations collide, everything Rakhi once knew to be true is set ablaze. And as the stakes mount, she will come face-to-face with the difficult choices and moral compromises that people make in order to survive, no matter the cost. Reema Patel’s transportive debut novel offers a moving, smart, and arrestingly clever look at the cost of ambition and power in reclaiming one’s story.

Advanced Praise for Such Big Dreams:

A savvy former street child working at a law office in Mumbai fights for redemption and a chance to live life on her own terms in this “smart, haunting, and compulsively readable” (Amy Jones, author of We’re All in This Together) debut novel about fortune and survival.
“A page-turner of a story that doesn’t shy away from exploring hard and painful truths about the way people navigate the systemic conditions of society.”—Zalika Reid-Benta, author of Frying Plantain

My Review:

I picked up Such Big Dreams because once in a while, I like to read something outside my comfort zone. I always tend to reach for the same type of book and this one really sounded good (and gave me all the Slumdog Millionaire vibes.) Such Big Dreams didn’t disappoint!

Rahki is a spitfire. She’s part street kid, part blossoming entrepreneur. She’s definitely dealing with some imposter syndrome, but throughout the book she really learns a lot via the school of hard knocks. She came to work for the law firm through the charity of the owner, and is basically her right hand gal. But it comes at a price. She’s never seen as someone who can actually be successful and rise above. Although she’s come a long way, she still lives in the slums and can’t rise above her current station.

Throughout the book, Rahki goes through a transformation. Although she was street smart before, she didn’t realize that often times, the people who don’t live on the street, can be just as sneaky and underhanded. Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advanced readers copy. This one is out now!

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