Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Vanished

Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog on Mondays for a list of other sites featuring MG books.

Today I’ll talk about Vanished by Sheela Chari.

From Goodreads: Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrumentused to be her grandmother’s—made of warm, rich wood, and intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon. When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, Neela is devastated. As she searches for it, strange clues surface: a teakettle ornamented with a familiar-looking dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse. The clues point all the way to India, where it seems that Neela’s intrument has a long history of vanishing and reappearing. If she is able to track it down, will she be able to stop it from disappearing again?

From Vicki: This book is sooooo up my alley. Multi-cultural elements. Music. Mystery. An exotic setting (at the end). And it did not disappoint.

Neela’s love/hate relationship with her veena reminded me of my own middle school years with my oboe. I only wish my oboe had such a history! I was taken enough by the story that I had to look up veenas online to see if I was picturing the traditional Indian instrument correctly.

And like any great middle grade novel, this is a coming of age story. Neela discovers herself and the person she wants to be while uncovering the mystery of her missing veena.

What’s your favorite book that combines a “foreign” culture and the arts?

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6 Comments

Filed under Reading, The rest of my life

6 responses to “Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Vanished

  1. For some reason I keep forgetting to read this book. It’s been on my list for a whole year now if not more. *hangs head in shame*
    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. vanishing and reappearing – sounds intriguing and slightly magical… now I have to go look up “veena” too!

  3. This sounds so interesting, and so different from many of the MG books out there now. I’ll be adding this to my TBR list.

  4. I do love books that have real elements in it like that. Makes you think that maybe it could happen that way!

  5. It does sound cool. I love a good mystery too.

  6. This sounds so wonderfully original. My class flipped over the 39 Clues mysteries. I’ll bet this would be a hit.

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