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Monday, 4 April 2016

How to stop your grownup from making bad decisions.

Title: How to stop your grownup from making bad decisions.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Judy Balan's latest is a series that starts with Book 1: "How to stop your grownup from making bad decisions." The first in the Nina Series is a beautiful exercise in looking at the world through the eyes of an inquisitive teenager - one whose influences are well within her own domain to determine and shape. Judy's book is a breath of fresh air amidst a diet of fiction for children and YA that hinged on goblins, elves, pixies, giants and all those strange creatures.  
I come from a place where I've been called out for overthinking: the regular presupposition of the notion that overthinking is bad, yada yada yada. But here's Nina, all of eleven, ready to set my perspective right where that goes. Each page is a delightful read, and on occasion, you find yourself astounded at how much you share with Nina - that's how real, nuanced and sincere she is, and that's how brilliant Judy's writing is. 

I'm not going into the plot, but here are all the things I absolutely love about this book:
1. The Characters: From a benevolent uncle to a ridiculous mother's-boyfriend, every character comes with so many layers. You don't find yourself judging anyone, even if you're reading lines that make you want to judge them. The way Nina talks about everyone - right from her mad English teacher to her confused mother, you only see the kind of flawed thought processes we are being conditioned into following, as adults. Amazing work.

2. The casual language that evokes the most poignant thoughts. This is SO Judy's style - she can write something that can leave you in splits for a bit, and then leave you in the lap of deep thought for a long time. 

3. Nina. Nothing says REAL more than the anthropomorphism that this eleven-year-old is. Exceptional character - she's your inner child, she is your overthinking mind, and she is your rational voice. Nina makes you wake up to something most people have spent years ignoring: the voice in the head.

Why does Nina make an effective Peace Read? Because she is the perfect example of the kind of rawness that children and teenagers present to us. They are incredibly impressionable and have every idea of what's going on even if they don't have the vocabulary to articulate it. Nina makes a compelling case for being the perfect ambassador for peace education and the dismantling of stereotypes.