Seventeen year old Jaya Mehta detests wealth secrets and privilege though he has them all His family is Indian originally from Gujarat Rasa Santos like many in Hawaii is of mixed ethnicity All she has are siblings three of them plus a mother who controls men like a black widow spider and leaves her children whenever she wants to Neither Jaya nor Rasa have ever known real love or close family―not until their chance meeting one sunny day on a mountain in Hau’ulaThe unlikely love that blooms between them must survive the stranglehold their respective pasts have on them Each of their present identities has been shaped by years of extreme family struggles By the time they cross paths Jaya is a transgender outsider with depressive tendencies and the stunningly beautiful Rasa thinks sex is her only power until a violent pimp takes over her life Will their love transcend and pull them forward or will they remain stuck and separate in the chaos of their pasts?


10 thoughts on “Jaya and Rasa

  1. says:

    SoI have a lot of emotions about this book This is a uniue diverse love story and it’s unlike any I’ve read beforetw rape eating disorders alcoholism abuse attempted suicide Jaya and Rasa follows the stories of the two title characters the difficulties they face and the love that blossoms between them despite their circumstances Jaya is a trans boy of Indian descent born into a wealthy but dysfunctional family Rasa is the daughter of a prostitute and struggles to care for her three younger siblings in an impoverished householdThe main characters are the greatest strength of this book they’re those rare characters who feel so fully and accurately developed that you feel as though you’re reading a biography or listening to a friend tell a story Jaya and Rasa are two teenagers who find themselves in positions where they feel trapped but somehow they also manage to find each otherThis book addresses a host of subjects related to class race health gender identity abuse and social issues including but not limited to discrimination against native Hawaiians whose land has been stolen by non Hawaiians what it’s like trying to support a family while living in poverty prostitution verbal physical and sexual abuse eating disorders alcoholism coming out as trans to friends and familyThis book can be a bit heavy at times Some moments can be violent and sad but overall it is a story of two young characters struggling to come to terms with the discrimination exploitation and skewed sense of morals they encounter in the world around them Jaya and Rasa both have difficult lives but the author shows that there is goodness and love to be found in other people even if it takes time to see and acceptI also want to add a disclaimer here these are not subjects with which I have personal experience While I have varying levels of knowledge about some of them I know that I am not capable of judging whether or not the representation in this book is accurate or fair As I write this review there aren’t any other lengthy reviews on Goodreads but I hope that as the publication date approaches there will be feedback from ownvoices reviewers If you’ve read this book and have any thoughts on the representation please comment or message me and let me know Diversity in literature is important but what’s even important is creating a discourse about these books and listening to other people’s opinions and reactionsMy only real complaint about this book was that the ending felt very rushed and abrupt There was so much drama packed into those last 20 pages and it was only barely beginning to be resolved when the book ended I also wished we’d gotten to see of Rasa’s siblings in the second half of the book They seemed like they were starting to have some really interesting development in the beginning and I wish we’d gotten to see of their side of the story in the other foster home I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest reviewThis review also appears on my blog


  2. says:

    Powerful raw and completely unfiltered mature YA that deals with incredibly complex topics Thanks to Cinco Punto Press for providing me with an advance copy for review all opinions are my own This is a BOOK You know the kind of book that gets under your skin and makes you wonderdid I really want to read about all of that? You knowsex trafficking rape drugs child abandonment? Oh and parental unacceptance of a teen's gender identity and bulimia? And racial and cultural identity and colonialism? I mean it's not happy It's not pretty It makes you FEEL things And THINK about things Things you don't want to believe exist It makes you suirm and hate the world for letting these things happen to our children So do you really want to read it? Should there be YA books about these topics? Well the answer is yes Yes I want to read about all of that And yes there should be books about these topics First of all as a teacher these issues need to be in front of me Books need to open my eyes to what teens in our world are dealing with and Patel knows this firsthand through her work as a psychiatrist working with teens She knows what she writes And yes there are teens who need to read stories like this one There are teens going through these exact struggles and needing to know they are not alone JAYA AND RASA certainly isn't a book for every teen because what book is?? but I do recommend that every teacher administrator and guidance counselor read it It should be in library collections and guidance offices because even if there is just ONE student who needs it in any given population it should be available And as Rasa shows us in the book we don't know which teen needs it I appreciate the terseness of the writing style and the readability of the text making it accessible to virtually all levels of YA readersI thank Patel for having the bravery to write this story and go where the majority of YA authors don't won't? go


  3. says:

    Thank you so much Edelweiss Cinco Puntos Press and Consortium Books for the advance copyThis was a wonderful book The story is basically the euivalent of a punch in the gut that never stops; it's basically a general state of pain To be fair there are plenty of happy times there are times where you smile and even laugh there are very cute moments that will have you aaaaw ing with little effort But the pain is still there because you just can't help thinking that even though some happy moments do happen it's not enough to balance the misery and tragedy that rules over our MCs' livesCharacter wise this story is irreproachable Jaya and Rasa are both characters you find yourself rooting for since page 1 when you don't even know them that well yet You root for them even harder when they start revealing themselves to you It's inevitable you want these kids to catch a break to have one moment where they can be safe and happy They deserve it As for the other characters they can drop dead any time and trust me you wouldn't even bat an eye they're all horrible Except for Rasa's siblings they are precious and deserve all the good thingsNow even though in general I do think the story was wonderful there is a reason why I'm giving it four stars and not five I wasn't entirely sold on the way it was told The chapters always ended in a way that seemed they were Incomplete There was fade to black than was necessary as in the chapters lacked conclusion and it didn't make sense that they ended wherever they ended As it was with the additional fact that the chapters alternated povs the whole storytelling got a bit too messy On another note but not really there's also worth mentioning the fact of Ach's story arc I felt that there were than enough hints at something happening to him at some point something maybe similar to what happened to Rasa but it got introduced very subtly with the mention of a detail and then it got brought up maybe once but it never saw any resolution It rubbed me the wrong way cause I think it was important and I felt it got dropped too easily Or maybe I gave it consideration than was intended Who knows? Not me The ending while satisfactory also felt a bit too abrupt and it left a bit of an open ending maybe Not hinting at a seuel but in the sense of this seemed of a HFN than a HEA because there were things that were literally left unatended and weren't properly wrapped up I felt like okay I can forgive that strategy for a regular chapter but the last chapter needs closure it needs to feel like the ending of the book not like it's missing a page or even a paragraphSo yeah Story 5 stars Development 3 stars Hence the final rating


  4. says:

    I enjoyed this book so much and cannot wait to pass it on to the teens in my library I know they are going to love Jaya and Rasa as much as I did I would recommend it for all teen collections This book includes diverse characters struggles of being a first generation American lovesex and the difference destructive parents sex trafficking gender identity sexual identity homelessness


  5. says:

    35 stars Please read an extensive trigger warning list in the end of the reviewI used to have asthma when I was a kid it got better when I grew up However I had an episode couple of years ago I was in other city and I was visiting my friend She had a cat and a dog I though my allergy triggered asthma would be ok It had been years since anything happened I thought I was okay About several hours after arriving to her place I started having troubles breathing It was the most terrifying moment My meds didn't help I didn't know where to go because I had to stay at her place for several days and I couldn't fucking breathe Long story short I survived obviously and I'm writing this reviewThe book felt like that terrifying moment of not being able to breathe and losing hope for getting better Jaya and Rasa a Love Story tells a story about two kids who grew up in Hawaii The story starts when they are about seven years old and we follow their life until they are seventeen They don't meet until the middle of the book The story has two very distinct storylinesOne storyline is about Rasa A daughter of a prostitute a older sister to her three younger siblings They live in poverty mother in neglectful and Jaya assumes a role of a mother to her siblings Rasa is of Tupi Portuguee African heritage As a result of her mother neglect she starts turning tricks to earn money to pay for food And it only gets worst The other storyline is about Jaya A transgender Indian boy who came from Gujarat with his parents to live in Hawaii His parents are strict followers of traditions or let's say a facade of happy family When Jaya's father lends on big contract and they become rich he keeps on cheating on Jaya's mother and his mother develops eating disorder bulimia Jaya struggles with family expectations and that he is seen by his parents as a daughter he isn'tThis is dark and heartbreaking story but these voices must be heard I definitely recommend to read this rather short bookA uick search about Sonia Patel led me to her author website She's ueer woman of Indian heritage living in Hawaii She has History degree and Medical degree She's practicing psychiatrist who is working in Hawaii Sonia Patel works with teens to help them to deal with emotional issues gender issues sexuality issues abuse of all types etcIf anybody can tell this difficult story of Jaya and Rasa it's Sonia PatelI loved Jaya and Rasa from page 1 They are extremely well written and developedSpecial shoutout to Rasa's younger siblings They are the sweetest and deserve the world just as Rasa and Jaya deserve it tooThe book has ownvoices rep it's diverse and the children are extremely lovable so why three stars?1 the ending is abrupt and unsatisfying I need a stronger resolution and it hasn't happenedIt was centered exclusively around Jaya and Rasa What about other characters? We never learn about it Especially Rasa's siblings 2 for personal reasons it was hard for me to read the book While I acknowledge that it's an important and necessary story to see it was too grim too dark too muchEven bright happy moments were overshadowed by the grim reality I strongly suspect that was the point but I couldn't do itBy the end of the book I started skim reading scenes of rape and assaultAll in all Jaya and Rasa A Love Story is important and uniue book the story will stay with me but as a form of literature and the execution of said story it leaves some things to be desired in my opinion Trigger warningsrape abuse sexual assaults pedophilia sexual predators sex with underage and minor character started when she was 12 prostitution sex slavery mother pumping her daughter drugs suicide attempts parental neglect eating disorder bulimia transphobia homophobia Everything is explicit and on the page


  6. says:

    This was a four star read for me until the ending Obviously this is dealing with traumatic horrific life experiences but they're told in a simple writing style which kept me hooked I can't speak to any of the representation since I'm cis and white I do think it's especially worth warning about the ending though which ruined Jaya for me and Jaya and Rasa's relationship trigger warning for suicide gunsview spoilerWhen Jaya finds out Rasa is sleeping with other men he immediately just thinks she's cheating on him With wealthy men who are 25 years older than her When she explains that Xander is her pimp he laughs and says she must have liked it to keep doing it When she says he's threatening to hurt her siblings if she tries to leave he scoffs But to top it off he is standing there with a gun pressed against his head this whole time threatening to kill himself And it's after she tells him that she is being held prisoner and forced to have sex with these men against her will that he says that now he can't stop picturing her with other men because that's really the biggest concern here and pulls the trigger He tries to shoot himself in front of her It's only a fluke that it doesn't work She then apologizes and coaxes him backAlso it ends with them going to the police but with no closure about whether her siblings will be safe I guess we're just supposed to assume that of course everything will be fine once she goes to the police and she should have done it all along? hide spoiler


  7. says:

    This book clearly had a lot of potential but the writing felt forced and there was so much drama that it uickly started feeling like the author had a list of horrible things that should happen and was trying to tick off as many as possible I sincerely uestion the labelling of this book as young adult because of the amount of mature and possibly triggering content


  8. says:

    This book is basically 'how much traumatic shit can happen to one person before they get the cops involved' Answer it's a lot This was very mature well written heartbreaking but important read it RTC after i return from exam hell


  9. says:

    TW rape pedophilia child prostitution abuse bulimia suicideI really wanted to love this book so it's unfortunate that there was too much in it that I just didn't like It had a very promising premise The interweaving stories of a young Indian trans boy and a working class Hawaiian girl from a troubled family The blurb suggests that this book follows the love story between this unlikely pair Which if I'm honest the book doesn't really Of course the love story is there But it doesn't appear until halfway into the book We spent the first half of the book learning about Jaya and Rasa's life Which is important obviously but not exactly the story I signed up for Their story also seems to speed by uite fast Years go by at the turn of a chapter and at times I wasn't uite sure about the passing of time or how old Jaya and Rasa are The book was also incredibly depressing Don't get me wrong the things explored in this book are important but the way everything piles up grows and grows It's incredibly dark While it might be for some readers it just wasn't for me There were also a lot of stereotypical characters that were never developed further than their stereotypes Likewise there were stereotypical plotlines that never uite developed past being stereotypical For example the cheating husband who is found out by a lipstick stain on his collar The end of the book also felt really rushed Jaya and Rasa meet Love at first sight essentially They have a really awkwardly written conversation and decide to start dating view spoilerJaya finds out Rasa has been forced into prostitution and convinces her to go to the police Which if it was that easy to start solving things I don't know why Rasa didn't do it early I mean I know It's not easy to actively leave abusive home situations especially when your family might be in danger as a result but then why was Rasa so easy to convince once Jaya came around? One conversation was all it took I don't know It was just too easy I also wanted to like Jaya and Rasa as a couple but I just didn't They didn't seem to have much chemistry Everything between them felt forced And view spoilerthe part where Jaya threatens to kill himself in front of Rasa? Like that's abusive and messed up That shit ain't cute hide spoiler


  10. says:

    Oh man Where do I start? THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS I wanted to like this book I really did I'm always happy to find new YA with trans male protagonists but I went into this with a grain of salt since from what I can tell the author is cis And my gut reaction was pretty fair since there were numerous times where reading this book as a trans reader felt deeply uncomfortable and downright dysphoric for me The problem is that the things that upset me introducing Jaya a trans guy with feminine pronouns and as a daughter; Rasa reading Jaya as a girl and referring to him as such in her POV among others were explained pretty sufficiently away in a narrative context after the fact Jaya at the time had yet to reach the conclusion he was trans and once he did the narration immediately switched pronouns and language to reflect that revelation; likewise Rasa didn't know and then she did that it feels petty to complain about it But I still had to continually put the book down after reading these parts because it personally affected me in a negative way I see where the author was going with it and I do applaud the narrative trick but personal bias gets in the way of enjoying it I'm kind of curious what other trans readers have thought of this book As for the story itself someone else said it too that after a while it started to feel like the author just had a Big Bad Agenda to inflict upon these characters where bad thing after increasingly bad thing happened and never really stopped I get that the stories told within these events are important Child slavery and sexual slave trade is alive and well and worth talking about as is native oppression and homelessness and all of the other unsavory concepts I just feel like it could have been handled in a way that was less about glorifying the spectacle of it Also on a personal level it was just majorly depressing to read about the constant unending cycle of Rasa's work chapter after chapter after chapter without any real resolution behind it The ending felt forced and extremely rushed and over all unsatisfying after the onslaught of horror and misery we all slogged through to get there especially when you consider the perspective of the book and the position of these characters We're told the whole book through how society doesn't favor either of them for a number of reasons and then we're expected to believe jaded child prostitute Rasa and trans woke to the oppressive mechanisms of society and white entitlement Jaya are going to believe going to the police will fix everything? YikesIn all fairness I'm white so I don't really have a voice in this particular battle but it still rang false to me I think this book also could have benefitted from trigger warnings because it deals pretty intensely with a variety of unsetting and upsetting topics up to and including rape child abuse sex slavery alcohol abuse suicide suicidal idealization eating disorders transphobia and homophobia and all of that is touched on within the first fifty or so pages Talk about a heavy loadI do think the topics covered in the book are important and noteworthy and especially worth talking about and I think it's great to get a non white perspective on these topics There's a lot of race and culture stuff going on in this novel that made me keep reading despite everything else I just wish it could have gone a little easier Maybe this book should be rated New Adult for its subject matter but I'm not so great with parameters