I came to The Grand Plan to Fix Everything backwards. I happened to grab Uma Krishnaswami’s newer book, The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic, off the shelf, and, just planning to flip through it, ended up reading the entire thing. Then, of course, I immediately had to go back and read the first book in the series.
Dini and her friend Maddie love Dolly Singh movies–the dancing and the singing and the fabulous plots are just sooooo . . . ! They have big plans to spend the summer at Bollywood dance camp so that they can dance like Dolly, but Dini’s mother throws a big wrench into their plans: Dini’s family will be moving to India for two whole years, so Dini’s mother can work at a medical clinic in the tiny town of Swapnagiri. Dini will have to leave Maddie, dance camp, and her whole regular life in Maryland to go live in the middle of nowhere: Swapnagiri isn’t even anywhere near Bombay!
The only thing that can save Dini’s year is if she could meet Dolly Singh–but how can she find one movie star in a country the size of India? Well, it might be a little easier than she thinks. . . .
This book is completely adorable. Not only will the reader be captivated by Dini, but they’ll love all the people she meets, from Soli Dustup the movie producer, to Lal the humble postman, not to mention the monkeys and the goats! And I was completely surprised by one thing: I usually cannot stand books written in present tense. I find that it usually knocks me completely out of the story and seems very affected. In this case, I didn’t even notice until I was halfway through the second book that it was written in present tense. I had to flip back to the first one to see if it was written that way as well, and of course it was! The book is constructed so well that the present tense narration is an integral part of the feeling of the book. In combination with that present tense, the plot, zany as it is realistic, sweeps the reader along with propulsive motion.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fun, mad-cap, realistic fiction. Its length means that it is usually recommended for grades 4 and up, but I think it would also work well as a read-aloud for younger children (provided that the reader doesn’t mind the occasional Hindi word!
My only complaint? It doesn’t come with a soundtrack!
Posted by: Sarah