If you discovered a horrible secret, could you keep it to yourself?
When fifteen-year-old Samir discovers that he’s got new neighbors, he’s horrified: he’s left certain ‘documents’ in the hitherto empty flat, which ought not to get into the clutches of anyone—especially not a gorgeous girl like Akhila Handa!
But to Samir’s surprise and relief, Akhila is amazingly cool about them, and pretty soon their friendship blossoms as Samir gets to know the family: the bouncy boxer dog, Akhila’s younger brother, Sumit, who is ‘a bit slow’, and her strangely withdrawn mother. And most of all, her jolly, affectionate father who dotes—perhaps a little too much—upon his daughter…
Told in the alternating voices of these two young characters, Samir slowly comes to realise that all is far from well in the Handa family, and an incredible and terrible suspicion begins to form…
Smitten is a story that dares to talk about sexual abuse within the family. Of bravery and cowardice. Of tough decisions and loyalties sorely tested.
The book includes discussion points and questions to facilitate conversations, in the classroom or at home. With characteristic lightness and sureness of touch, Ranjit Lal, tackles one of the great taboos in Indian society: a must for every school library and bookshelf.