Monday, January 2, 2017

MMGM: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything,
by Uma Krishnaswami and Abigail Halpin
The Grand Plan To Fix Everything
Written by Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2011
Ages 8-12
272 pages, 41000 words, 770L

Humor, Bollywood, Separation, Moving

       Dolly Singh's fabulous face floats across the screen of the TV in the living room. Two happy sighs float off the couch, one from Dini and the other from her best friend, Maddie.
       Dini is a Dolly fan. She has been forever, from the time she discovered that Dolly's first movie, in which she was just a kid, came out the day—the very day!—that Dini was born. You can't be more closely connected than that.
       Maddie is a fan because best friends share everything.

Dini and Maddie are best friends. Their summer plans include attending Bollywood dance camp together. They don't include Dini's family moving to a village in India, miles from Mumbai and thousands of miles from each other.

Dini is adorable and her voice shines through. Her voice is authentic. Her fangirl side rings true with girls her age. That is not to say this story is realistic. It is a perfectly Bollywood-style fairytale, complete with happy ending.

I appreciate how the author writes about Dini's relationship with her parents. She is respectful, though she doesn't understand her parents' decisions. She allows her love for her parents to guide her thoughts and actions. I get tired of MCs who exhibit unbridled anger and allow disagreements to fester into actual hatred for family members. That may reflect some kids, but not the kind my children like reading about. Nothing turns my daughter off faster than an unreasonable  protagonist who must get her way, who lashes out at those closest to her. She's drawn to those who use their wits and perseverance to find their happily-ever-after.

 1. If you enjoyed The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, you're in luck, Krishnaswami has written a sequel, The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic. Dini and Maddie are back in America. And so is Dolly Singh! Uma's other books for middle grader's include Book Uncle and Me and Naming Maya.

The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic,
second of the Dini books
Book Uncle and Me, Ages 7-10,
illustrated by Julianna Swaney.
Naming Maya, Ages 10-15

2. For more friendship books, check my MMGM review of Save Me A Seat, or pick up a copy of The Year of the Book, by Andrea Cheng, illustrations by Abigail Halpin, or Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech.

Save Me a Seat,
by Sarah Weeks
and Gita Varadarajan
The Year of the Book,
by Andrea Cheng
and Abby Halpin
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup,
by Sharon Creech

3. Mia Wenjen and Valarie Budayr have developed Multicultural Children's Book Day. January 27, 2017 is designated to "raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity" and "to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries." I hope you will make an effort to share a book you love which features cross-cultural relationships or highlights cultural diversity.

4. If you haven't experienced an Indian filum (as Dini would say) my absolute favorite romantic comedy is Hum Tum. This picture's got it all love, music, and animation. Does it get any better?

Starring Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji

Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for January 2, 2017.

MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?


  1. I heard about this book a few years ago but haven't gotten a chance to read it. Nice to know there's a happy ending.

    However, I have read The Year of the Book, and really enjoyed it.

    1. Hope I didn't spoil it for you! Thanks for stopping by.


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