Pashmina is a graphic novel about family and the importance of women’s stories. While it’s mostly contemporary, Pri discovers a magical pashmina that seems to transport her to India. Throughout Pashmina, Pri will discover a family, and a story, she never knew. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions–the topic of India is permanently closed.
For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.
I read Pashmina in one sitting. While Pri is a teen, I think it reads younger that what I might have expected from a YA graphic novel. That being said, I think it’s great for younger YA readers because it also tackles family secrets and discovery. Not only does it tell Pri’s story, but it tells the story of women’s quests for agency, rebellion, and their own future. It examines their stories, histories, decisions, and choices. I also enjoyed the ways Pashmina looks at family, specifically her relationship with her mother.
While I felt like there were some threads that could have been tied up better, I enjoyed Pashmina. I think it’s main strength lies in its ability to discuss Pri in the scope of her family, and the choices those connected to her makes. It challenges Pri to see herself in the context of others, instead of only focusing on herself. Overall it’s a fast read that I think would be great for younger YA audiences.
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