When she smiled by Ritoban chakrabarti

This is a story of Joy who like any other teenager has a lot of hopes and dreams for the school year - rekindling old friendships, making new friends, impression on teachers, good marks and probably in middle of all this live up to his parent's expectations.

Joy is from a family of a very strict father, loving and perfect elder sister, a really cool elder brother and a mother who balances the equations between the kids and the father. While Joy is almost perfect guy - intelligent, talented and helpful, he is way too nice and almost borders on being a little unreal at first. That said, his ideas about life, nature and the poems that he pens made me think of a friend of mine and I could relate to him after that. I loved Sid, the elder brother a lot. While we know about him only from what Joy shares, it’s enough to like him more than Joy.

The book has some really heartfelt and almost true portrayal of relationships, the confusions and the effects that smallest of events can have on changing one's destiny. For me it was almost like a trip down memory lane, as some old music, cartoons and tv shows were referenced. Description of Shimla is very beautiful and transports the reader there at times.

My problem with the book was that it took me almost 70 pages to get interested in finishing it. Some of the parts could be removed or cut short so as to keep the story's pace steady. I also did not like much of background stories coming up in the current flow. A plot that looks a little predictable, but promising too. A guy character who is very emotional and probably thinks a bit too much ( of himself and everything else ). A girl character who is not only moody but at times I just wanted her to be little reasonable (too much to ask perhaps! ). And personally, the end did not justify the title at all. But perhaps that's an adult's opinion. For Joy, it mattered and that’s how it would be.

All in all, this is a book to finish in maximum two sittings once you get into the rhythm. A decent one to go and think of your teenage and smile at the stuff you probably thought as big deal then.

I will rate this 3.5/5

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