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my basmati bat mitzvah     Tara Feinstein is fast approaching the time for her Bat Mitzvah. She has been studying hard for it at Hebrew school after regular school and with her rabbi in private study sessions. Tara is part Hindi and part Caucasian, so even inviting her family to her event may prove to be a problem. Her Hindi grandparents were none too happy about the marriage of Tara’s mother to a Jewish boy, and the feeling is mutual on her father’s side of the family.

Tara also has boy problems; the one boy she would like to have as a boyfriend is not Jewish; and the other boy is the class clown that she is stuck with as a partner in a robotics project. Her best friend, Rebecca, is starting to get friendly with snotty Sheila Rosenberg.

Tara doesn’t always make good decisions. She ruined her mother’s red silk sari which had been in the family for years by getting too close to a candle while dancing around in it. And, to top it all off, Tara isn’t even sure she wants to have a Bat Mitzvah.

What Tara learns from her experiences and how she survives makes this a delightful coming of age tale. I recommend it for middle school and upper elementary readers.