For two teens, falling in love is going to make a world of difference in this beautifully translated, bold, and endearing novel about love, loss, and the pain of racial discrimination.
As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer….
I am not Korean or Japanese. I am a rootless vagabond.
The entire essence of the story is summarised in this mini monologue by Sugihara, the protagonist of Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro. I had a presumption that Go might be about the famous board game in Japan and Korea. But, this little word implied a vastness that engulfs all immigrants in the world. I would probably qualify into one of them as I’m quite far away from my ancestors’ original roots. At times, I feel like the topmost tendril of a climbing vine, distanced and alienated from its roots afar.
Go is about Sugihara, who is caught between the complexities of citizenships in both Koreas and eventually Japan. He is an ethnic Korean born and brought up in Japan. I didn’t know that this kind of people are called Zainichi Chosenjin in Japan. The Zainichi bear an interesting as well as tragic history. The Koreans were brought to Japan for forced labour during their invasion and occupation of the country that ended during the World War II. At present, about 80,000 ethnic Koreans are said to inhabit Japan and the term Zainichi is widely used as derogatory and discriminating.
Everyone has secrets . . . but is hers the most shocking? Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Sahil has always blamed himself for his parents’ death. He has little interest in life until he meets the enigmatic Anya in a chance encounter during the Shimla fest. Soon he falls head over heels in love with her, but Anya doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. An accident leaves him in a coma and when he wakes up he makes a startling discovery-he can read minds! Now he can find out what goes on in Anya’s mind and maybe, just maybe, make her fall in love with him. But is Anya all she seems? Or is she hiding something? Deliciously plotted, full of morbid secrets and startling revelations, Secretly Yours will make you question what you see and who you trust.
Secretly Yours is a romantic thriller with other elements as well. The first attraction of the book is surely the cover. Wonderfully designed, it is sure to catch the eye and that’s one of the reasons I picked this one. The blurb promises a love story and the book starts off on such a note. We meet Sahil, a teenager plagued with more problems in life than teenagers should ideally have. He’s an orphan and is blamed by his grandmother for his parents’ death. You bet that’s way too much to be handled by a young boy. He takes refute in alcohol and bruising himself. His passion for music, however, keeps him alive. And then he meets a pair of eyes that entice him as well as baffle him. As luck would have it, Anya enters his life and everything turns topsy-turvy.
What happens next? Sahil meets an accident, loses his grandmother and gains Anya. Or does he? Anya has a bagful of secrets that get uncovered over the second half of the book. I can’t give away her secrets as spoilers and hence, you have pick up the book.
Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life. Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up. She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines. He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’. They meet each other quite by chance. And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives: For Zayn, it’s a ‘Partner-In-Crime’. For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her… When their worlds collide, It is not what either of them expected it to be. Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him. What happens these two become friends? The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak? What happens when two completely different people collide? Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start? ‘When Our Worlds Collide’ is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world. A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances, Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after!
Aniesha Brahma has been a steady writer of romance. I’ve read all her books now, this one even before its release! Romance for young adults doesn’t need to be cheesy and Aniesha is one of those rare YA writers in India whom you can trust not making it cheesy.
You begin with an interesting line in the preface –
‘It’s not always about the happy ending, sometimes it’s about the story.’
I loved it, as I believe in it. Happy endings have cliche to such an extent that people have stopped liking stories that don’t have one. But it’s the story that matters at the end, not the ‘happy ending.’