Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Night Diary

The Night Diary. Veera Hiranandani. 2018. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: 
July 14, 1947
Dear Mama,
I know you know what happened today at 6:00 a.m., twelve years ago. How could you not? It was the day we came and you left, but I don't want to be sad today. I want to be happy and tell you everything.
Premise/plot:The Night Diary is a Newbery Honor book for 2019. It is set in India/Pakistan in the summer of 1947--the year that India broke free from British rule and was divided into two countries. It is not a time of peace and harmony. Far from it.

Nisha, our heroine, has just received a diary for her birthday. She lives with her twin brother, Amil, her father, and her grandmother. All her diary entries are written to her mother. Her family finds themselves living on the Pakistan side of the border--but it's not safe for them to stay since they are Hindu. Can they get across the border to India safely?

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED this one. It is beautifully written. The story is compelling. I really felt a strong connection to Nisha and Amil. It was packed with suspense.

  • It feels scary to talk, because once the words are out, you can't put them back in. But if you write words and they don't come out the way you want them to, you can erase them and start over. (12)
  • I took in Kazi's words, let them dance and twirl in my head, replayed them over and over like a beautiful piece of music. I can't stop thinking about it, Papa having secrets with you. Papa cooking before Kazi came. You and Papa marrying against everyone's wishes in secret. What would it have been like if you lived, Mama? These things Kazi tells me are the memories I was supposed to have. They explode in my mind like firecrackers. (26)
  • It's one thing to understand facts and another thing to understand why those facts are facts. (86)
  • Sometimes I like to hold on to my upsets, like if I let them go I'm admitting that they weren't that important. (104)

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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