Karthik Delivers (Hardcover)
Karthik Raghavan is good at remembering things. Like his bike routes. Or all the reasons he likes Juhi Shah—even if she doesn’t even know he exists. It doesn't help that she seems to have a crush on his arch nemesis, Jacob Donnell, whose only job is to humiliate Karthik (and get his name wrong). Then Karthik's luck changes when he secretly agrees to be in a play about the famous musician, Leonard Bernstein. But he can't tell his parents. The family store is in jeopardy, and they need him delivering groceries on his bike to help save it. His mom is also worried about the Financial Crisis, and she's convinced that studying hard and staying focused is the only way to succeed. But Karthik is having fun being Lenny. Besides, what if acting is Karthik’s special talent? And what if acting is the one way to catch Juhi Shah’s attention? With all the pressure from his family to succeed, will Karthik be able to really imagine and hope when he’s not sure what will happen next?
— Sayantani DasGupta, New York Times bestselling author of the Kingdom Beyond series
“Readers will fall in love with endearing Karthik, a young Indian American teen living in Boston, as he navigates his family's expectations and financial pressures during the financial crisis. Chari has masterfully crafted a riveting, nuanced, and delightful journey of self-discovery topped with an extra helping of ice cream, pakoras, and West Side Story. Karthik more than delivers!”
— Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Night Diary
"A memorable, contemporary story about growing up and learning about yourself. Karthik grapples with timeless teen issues--fitting in, bullying, parental pressures--as well as more modern problems that might parallel issues kids are dealing with today."
"Karthik is a compassionate and deeply funny narrator, and his journey of self-discovery while balancing familial obligation and chasing his dreams endears and inspires."
— Publishers Weekly
"Chari delivers an authentic examination of the complexities of immigrant family life during the Great Recession, taking a realistic but compassionate look at parents vicariously chasing the American dream through their children. . .This is an encouraging endorsement of reciprocal support that celebrates the possibility (and necessity) of allowing our goals to change."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The author successfully avoids tired tropes about unsupportive immigrant parents by telling a multigenerational story that, most notably, examines how Karthik’s parents grapple with their own dreaming. A refreshingly nuanced novel about what it means to chase your dreams."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Levelheaded and smart, though sometimes reluctant to let others know what he’s thinking, Karthik narrates the story with a winning combination of wit and angst. . .A perceptive, enjoyable novel of self-discovery within expanding circles of family and community."
"Chari’s prose has a very conversational tone, which adds to the book’s authenticity and ease of reading. . .A wonderful realistic fiction title about a young Indian boy following his heart."
— School Library Journal