Book Review: Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari
Artichoke Hearts is Sita Brahmachari’s first Young Adult novel. It was published on 7th January by Macmillan Children’s Books and it is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review
Twelve year old Mira Levenson has a crazy family. It is always chaotic with a baby sister and a younger brother. Her beloved Nana Josie is also dying and Mira has no idea what she will do without her once she is gone. Having all of these built up feelings inside is beginning to drive Mira mad, she has no time at all to herself.
After signing up for a writing class at school and starting a diary as a project, Mira begins to pour out her inner most feelings. Feelings about Nana Josie dying. Feelings about being twelve years old. Feelings about her family. Feelings about Jidé , the boy she has a major crush on. Mira’s whole life is about to change and she will have that time written down to remember forever.
What I thought
The story is told from twelve year old Mira’s POV. Before starting to read this one, I was a little unsure about what I was going to think seeing as the main character is younger than most of the characters that I prefer to read about. Artichoke Hearts was a little slow to get started and it took me a couple of chapters until I was really immersed in the story and then, I didn’t want to put it down.
Mira was a lovely character and I found myself liking her so much more than I thought I would. The majority of the book is told from entries in Mira’s diary, part of the writing class that she is a part of at school. The only chapter that isn’t is the first and that gives a quick run through of what is happening. For a twelve year old, Mira was extremely articulate and I found her beautifully written voice wonderful to follow. At times, it was like a young adult was writing this diary and I found myself forgetting that she was twelve years old at some points. What I really liked about Mira was that she was very in touch with who she was, even though she really didn’t show it to many people. You could tell when Mira was really comfortable with someone, like her Nana, because then you got to see a really special side to her.
Knowing that her Nana Josie is dying, Mira has quite a lot to deal with to begin with. Being twelve, she has hormones all over the place, crushes on boys (or one boy in this case) and is trying to find the confidence to be who she really is around everyone else. I really enjoyed the way that Mira expressed herself in her diary and lets the reader deep into her life. Her interactions with family and friends was entertaining but also gives a look into different family dynamics and how people cope with an ill relative. I loved Nana Josie. Even though she knew she was dying, she wanted to make the most of the last of her days. She wasn’t about to let anyone tell her no when she wanted to do something and had such a strong personality. It was also good to be able to see how she acted around other people, especially family members who knew how ill she was. I wasn’t expecting this to be a coming of age story but as well as that, Artichoke Hearts is sad, funny and heart-warming all at the same time.
The younger characters in Artichoke Hearts were all very interesting and different. Mira’s best friend Millie isn’t really like her at all but she is always there no matter what. I did find a couple of things about their friendship strange and maybe you will feel the same if you read this book, until then though, I don’t want to give too much away about why. Jidé and Ben, the two boys in the writing class, who are also best friends were great characters. I loved how different they were and how they managed to add a lot of humour to the story. Also, I could see something really special in both boys, making them really adorable and likable.
Artichoke Hearts is so much more than I could have ever imagined. Apart from the initial slow start, I really enjoyed this book and would happily recommend it! .