Meeta Agrawal
September 07, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Gifted (Book)

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Nikita Lalwani
publisher
Random House
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

The premise of Gifted, Nikita Lalwani’s debut — an overachieving girl pushed by overbearing Indian immigrant parents through the gates of a most prestigious university — sounds distressingly like last year’s ruckus-stirring Opal Mehta, but the approach is entirely different. Here, the family is British, the university Oxford, and the poignant story told in painfully realistic tones. Lalwani’s pacing can be confusing — five years slip by as if a day — but she gets deep inside hyper-wound-up math prodigy Rumi Vasi. Sadly, when she finally escapes parental expectations, we follow Mom’s anguish instead of Rumi’s relief. It feels like a cheat — something her parents would never approve of. B

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