ICv2 Stars: 4 (out of 5)
Posted by Brigid Alverson on August 23, 2017 @ 3:29 am CT
Publisher: 0:01 First Second
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Price: $16.99 (TP); $21.99 (HC)
Creator: Nidhi Chanani
Format: 176 pgs., Full-Color, Trade Paperback/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-6267-2087-9 / 978-1-6267-2088-6
Age Rating: 10-14
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Pashmina is a fantasy story with a bit of a bite, a high-school story that also takes on the second-generation immigrant's feeling of being caught between cultures—in this case, India and California. Priyanka Das loves samosas and Bollywood movies, but her single mom refuses to discuss why she left India and is resolutely silent on the topic of Pri's father, who she left behind.
The magic begins when Pri finds a pashmina shawl tucked away in an old suitcase: When she puts it on she has colorful visions of a glorious India filled with historic sites, natural wonders, and delicious food. An elephant and a peacock guide her through this wonderland, but there's a hint of something darker among the bright colors—the shadow of a woman that keeps appearing and reaching out for Pri.
When she finally visits India herself, Pri learns some hard truths about poverty, sexism, and why her mother left. The story ends on a hopeful note, however, as she also unravels the mystery of the shawl and the intentions of the woman who wove it.
Drawn in a simple style, Pashmina is somewhat reminiscent of Vera Brosgol's Anya's Ghost, although the story is not as dark. Most of the art is monochrome, but it blossoms into rich color when someone puts on the shawl and has a vision. It is also steeped in Indian culture—there is a glossary in the back to help with some of the unfamiliar words.
This story will have a lot of appeal to readers who like a mix of reality and fantasy such as Raina Telgemeier's Ghosts.