Western Lane

Dreamscape Media. Feb. 2023. 4:21 hrs. ISBN 9781666624540. $59.99. F
In Maroo’s debut, narrator Maya Soroya voices 11-year-old Gopi, a British Indian girl with a great talent for playing squash. Always flanked by her father and two sisters, Gopi splits her days between the squash courts and her family home. When their mother dies, their father institutes a harsh training schedule for all the girls, but it is clear that Gopi is outpacing her sisters. She becomes the central focus of her father, trainers, and a young male squash player, Ged. Soroya’s calming tones convey the slight melancholy that infuses Gopi’s persona. Though Soroya’s pacing can be slow, she provides an intimate listening experience, delivered with a crisp London accent. On the surface, this is a novel about squash, but it also reflects upon family dynamics and the different ways to grieve.
VERDICT Maroo’s brief but moving debut is in good hands with Soroya as a narrator. Recommend to readers of Alice McDermott and Lydia Millet and those who enjoy reflective coming-of-age stories. It should also have tremendous YA crossover appeal.
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