When I look back in time through my memories and revisit my school days, I remember the friendships, the fun, the laughter, and yes, the first crush. When we are busy looking at forging friendships that we feel would last a lifetime, the concept of ‘love’ seems so far away. The ‘crush’ though happens on its own. It might be the shy girl who sits silently and reads her books, not talking with the others, the introvert just like you. It was for me. Ganga Bharani, through her third book, ‘A sip of Love and A sip of Coffee’ manages to take me back in time to those days as well, through its plot, its setting and of course, its two main characters – Avanthika and Gautham.
When we’re introduced to the duo by the author at the start of this novel, they are in school, fifth graders, just ten years old. But a crush, or what would turn into love, develops even then when Avanthika notices Gautham, the new boy in her class, called after her name during roll call. After that, the story flows quickly, skipping grades and watching the friendship blossom. Yes, the story doesn’t jump right into the crush/love etc. And the story happens over a very quick period of time. I’ll not get into the details. It is better that you find out.
The story’s target audience being young adults, and the story being a love story, it does need a unique aspect that makes it stand out from the crowd of books in that genre. That aspect for me is the introduction of a ‘character’ called ‘Author’ who is penning down the tale of the duo as they are talking to her. The interactions between the characters and the ‘Author’ character are fun to read, and I could relate to this, for when I write a story, it’s almost as if the characters are talking to me. The dialogues between the characters, almost all of them students, feel realistic, as does the reaction to the crush. To obsess over that and feel like everything depends on the realization of that crush, to see the priorities being compromised, I liked that attention to detail. I read this book for a 4 hour readathon and finished it an hour before, so the pace of the novel is very apt for a short journey, and quite engaging in its own way, with the simple language feeling apt for that setting as well. I’m not sure to what extent the unique aspect of this book worked for me, but it is charming.
Over the length of the novel, there are quite a few editing errors, though it doesn’t hamper the read too much. I feel it’d help the novel once it’s corrected. Also, it would have helped if the growth of the friendship from fifth grade to tenth grade was explored a little more in detail than it is. It might have created a better understanding of the characters and added to the story.
Having read Ganga Bharani’s earlier novels as well, I’d rate this one a tad lower than those, but it is still an interesting story done in a very different way. Perhaps it would make a better impact on the age group it is targeted at, or readers who love the genre of the book more than I do. It makes me wonder what the next book from her has in store for the readers.
|Title: A Sip of Love & A Sip of Coffee|
|Author(s): Ganga Bharani||Genre: Romance|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9788193237625||Publisher: Story Mirror|
(© 21st May 2016)