Reviewed by Faryal Jabbar (age 14) for Reader Views (3/16)
“Raman and Sunny: Middle School Blues” by Fiza Pathan is packed full of new perspectives and ideas. Some people, including myself, have the idea that all twins are in sync and always get along, a stereotype. Raman and Sunny however, have a rocky relationship challenged by their differences ever since the beginning of 6th grade. Sunny is a musical prodigy, cool and calm versus Raman, the sensitive sportsman. The ever-present middle school bully takes form in Amanda D’Sa and her girl goons, who love to see the twins squirm. The boys both strike, for and against each other, resulting in life changing consequences. Good or bad? You will have to read the book to find out. Raman’s best basketball friend Imran is writing a book, “Middle School Blues,” an interest that once was a pleasure for Raman before he made a wounding decision. As the story goes on Sunil Mendonca, the new teacher, brings new and innovative ideas that threaten the other teachers, who fear his example will make them have to work harder. Meanwhile Indian culture, family life, and middle school play subtly in the backdrop.
Pathan uncovers the unseen flaws in some education systems, the struggle of middle school, and family life. The book has inspired me to change the way I think about learning and even read classic books, something I otherwise would never have thought to do. The exciting plot and small details make an intriguing and realistic story. I felt as if I was reading a true story because of the way Pathan incorporates culture and modern life into the story. The characters raw feelings and emotions were clearly felt, making them more readable and realistic. The different points of view give a better understanding of the story and characters. There are several climaxes, which enrich the story, although some transitions were a bit unclear.
I recommend this book for people 10 and older. Middle school students will enjoy it the most, but adults can learn from the messages in this story as well. If you like realistic fiction, dealing with growing up, or middle school, this book sums those ideas up nicely.
“Raman and Sunny: Middle School Blues” by Fiza Pathan is a wonderful book that takes you on a small but, meaningful journey. Friendship, betrayal, resentment, culture, corruptness, family, and love fill the pages.