When fifteen-year-old Sarnir discovers that he's got new neighbours, 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 an attractive fifteen-year-old girl like Akhila Handal But to Samir's surprise and relief, Akhila is amazingly sporting 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Akhila's younger brother, Sumit, who is 'a bit slow', and her strangely withdrawn mother.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 upon his daughter Dotes, perhaps, a little too much...
Told in the alternating voices of these two young characters, Akhila and Samir slowly come to realize 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. It is a story of love, and its opposite. 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.
About the Author
Ranjit Lal has been writing for children for several years now. His books include Faces in the Water, The Battle for No.19, The Small Tigers of Shergarh and The Simians of South Block and the Yum Yum Piglets. He lives in Delhi.