3 out of 4 stars
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Elastic Girl by Olivia Rana starts out with a riveting prologue. Muthu Tikaram is a young girl from India made out to be a curse by her grandmother. She’s being brought up within a destitute family where she struggles to overcome her demons. Originally from Kallikuppam, her family settles in Ambattur until their house on the lake is destroyed by the government along with every other house. Once circumstances start to look up all of it is taken away in a monsoon, destroying all their belongings. Her only outlet as a young girl is playing with her friend Maheesh. It is while playing with him that she goes from being a family curse to a family miracle that is undoubtedly short lived; a great chance of survival leaves her with the nickname Elastic Girl.
Muthu agrees to join the circus thinking it’s the answer to all her family’s problems--she soon learns it is only the beginning of her problems. She becomes entwined in charming friendships with risky behavior. She goes from being ostracized to idealized and backed to ostracized through a roller-coaster of emotions and battles. Elastic Girl leads with a loyal heart and integrity until the end. She loses people she loves and gains others she never knew she could love.
Elastic Girl gives the reader good insight into what it’s like inside the sex trafficking life for Indian girls today. This book was filled with so much emotion that I had a hard time putting it down--it pulled me in with every page. Some moments were spent laughing and cheering the characters on while others could easily bring on tears and moments of disgust. The author created a main character the reader can truly love and adore. Characterization is what pulls me into a story, and Rana did an excellent job at making Muthu Tikaram intriguing and distinguished. I wanted to follow her through every mishap: she's clever, creative, and loyal.
This book had next to zero grammar errors. I could tell it had been thoroughly edited and proofread. I enjoyed the author’s writing style. She had a way of allowing the story to unfold in a way that made it seem like it told itself. The sequence of events unfolded in a timely manner and the pace of the book was just right. I never found myself bored or wondering what was going on. My only complaint is for the ending. It just was not succinct enough. I would have liked more clarity and closure.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a deep, thought-provoking read. Yes, there were horrific scenes that were hard to read, but the book also has an inspiring tale of triumph. The obstacles Muthu overcame were telling. I loved reading through every one of them, cheering her on! Elastic Girl is hands down one of my favorite books I’ve read on this platform! Keep in mind, though, this book could be a trigger for anyone dealing with the trauma of rape, abuse, or violence. I would also not recommend this to young readers as some scenes may be too graphic. I’m giving Elastic Girl by Olivia Rana 3 out of 4 stars. I would love to give this book all 4 stars; however, the ending just didn’t do it for me and I was left a little disappointed.
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