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Red, White, and Whole by [Rajani LaRocca]

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Red, White, and Whole Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 39 ratings

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Product description


"This deeply memorable coming-of-age story weaves Indian mythology with the relatable modern story of Reha, as she grapples with identity, family, and what it means to truly be home." -- Joy McCullough, author of Blood Water Paint; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; and We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire

“I felt this novel in verse in my bones. An important book, it will change how young readers see their world. And that's the best kind of book to read at any age.” -- Jane Yolen, author of The Devil's Arithmetic, Briar Rose, and Mapping the Bones

"This is a sweet, gentle story about love and loss, individualism and community, friendship and family, belonging and longing to live up to one's dreams. In Reha, LaRocca has created a relatable protagonist who feels caught between two cultures, but ultimately finds her own way." -- Padma Venkatraman, award-winning author of The Bridge Home and A Time To Dance

"Red, White, and Whole is the lyrical and poignant journey of a first generation Indian American girl growing up in the eighties. LaRocca weaves together a beautiful mix of themes-- identity, belonging, love, devastating loss, and eighties pop music rendered in seamless verse. A book I wish I had growing up in the eighties!"   -- Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Night Diary

"Infused with science, 80s music, and the struggles and joys of navigating middle school when you live in two different worlds, Red, White, and Whole is delightfully real and achingly beautiful. Reha’s story grabbed my heart from the first pages and never let go."  -- Kate Messner, author of Breakout and Chirp

“Truly, one of the most heart-expanding stories ever, filled with kindness, music, mythology, all of those things. But above all, here is a story of love, and the ways in which it transcends nationalities, age, science, and fear. In LaRocca’s gifted hands, her Reha shows us how to live in the world, even when it feels divided, even then.” -- Kathi Appelt, National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor-winning author of The Underneath and Keeper

"This book is a marvel — at once so rich and so spare." -- Ali Benjamin, National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Thing About Jellyfish and The Next Great Paulie Fink

"The seamless blend of ancient Indian folklore and modern western storytelling makes this winner a standout. Red, White, and Whole gets my vote." -- Nikki Grimes, author of Ordinary Hazards and Garvey's Choice

“LaRocca’s historical novel in verse takes the reader through Reha’s past and present, flowing as seamlessly as many of the songs often referred to within the poems. Readers will be changed by her story.” -- Booklist (starred review)

“LaRocca showcases the best of what verse can do, telling a story that is spare, direct and true, every word and idea placed with intentional care. A sensitive coming-of-age story with all the makings of a new middle grade classic.” -- BookPage (starred review)

“An intimate novel that beautifully confronts grief and loss.” -- Kirkus Reviews

“Brimming with warmth. An approachable account of negotiating identity and of struggling with loss.”
-- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Perfect for fans of Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga and Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton.” -- School Library Journal

“This verse novel weaves together complex narrative strands with sophistication. Give this emotionally powerful novel to immigrant, third-culture kids or anyone experiencing grief and loss.” -- Horn Book Magazine --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Rajani LaRocca's debut middle grade novel, Midsummer's Mayhem, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2019, an Indies Introduce selection, and an Indie Next pick. Rajani was born in India, immigrated to the U.S. when she was a baby, and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she practices medicine and lives outside Boston with her family. Visit her at

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0881SF7BX
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Quill Tree Books (2 February 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2714 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 006304742X
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 39 ratings

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
39 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 14 July 2021
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Reviewed in India on 9 February 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars My 2021 Favourite 💝
By Reading_Tam_Ishly on 9 February 2021
***It's just that I cannot stop crying 😢
*2021 favourite*

"No matter where I go,
America or India,
I don't quite fit."
"I am not expected to like boys,
I am not expected to date.
But all day long on the radio, people sing about falling in love,
about hearts breaking and mending
and breaking again.
And I wonder what it would be like
to follow mine."

*For those who don't want spoilers of Star Wars, give this book a miss if you can.

(*When books spoil things for you when it guesses every single person is well versed with Star Wars. FYI, I have yet to read ir watch the series or whatever it is 😩)
Amar Chitra Kathas!

Kudos, author for bringing it up.

*The story deals heavily with the themes of immigrants, battling cancer, death and grief.

I know this story has taken a piece of my heart.

Such a good, memorable read.

The story is so close to my heart now because I know what it means to have someone close to you battling cancer.

2021, I love you.
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Reviewed in India on 2 August 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars One for all ages
By Tehmeena Salam on 2 August 2021
I completed this beauty some days back. A short, beautiful and heartfelt tale of a girl named Reha. She is the only child of Indian parents who moved to America. She, who is stuck between two worlds questions....if the Indian world is hers or the American one?

The story revolves around her questions, and finding of answers....and then turns into a heartbreaking tale of a mother and daughter. Later Reha's mother is diagnosed with Leukaemia.....whether she survives or not? Whether she understands her daughter and if Reha gets her answers? Everything is explained with its turn of emotions.

I completed enjoyed the book. The title Red, White and Whole .....depicts the human blood. This idea was a very beautiful one. The writing style is amazing and ihe take gripped it until the end.
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Top reviews from other countries

B. J. Neary
5.0 out of 5 stars Double life highs and lows- middle grade must read
Reviewed in the United States on 22 February 2021
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Julie Kennard
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Reviewed in the United States on 22 March 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant and beautiful - I hope everyone chooses to read Reha's story.
Reviewed in the United States on 18 February 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant and beautiful - I hope everyone chooses to read Reha's story.
Reviewed in the United States on 18 February 2021
Newly released Red, White and Whole is a beautiful middle grade book - endearing, moving, heartbreaking and hopeful. Set in the 1980s, we follow only child Reha’s personal journey as she feels torn between her two worlds - her life at school where she is the only Indian American student and her life at home with her family and their Indian community. A novel written in verse, the story immediately draws the reader in to feel how this teen’s world is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

This book weaves together many themes including a story of love and loss, kindness from friends and family, music from the 80s, Indian mythology, the human side of the medical industry and the struggles of navigating middle school, to name a few. Reha is a beautiful character and I know many children (and adults) will love reading her story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted and utterly superb
Reviewed in the United States on 12 February 2021
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S.R. Shamsi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful & Lyrical Middle Grade Novel
Reviewed in the United States on 15 February 2021
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About the author

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Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning novels and picture books, including Midsummer’s Mayhem (2019), Seven Golden Rings (2020), Red, White, and Whole (2021), Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers (2021), Much Ado About Baseball (2021), Where Three Oceans Meet (2021), My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris (2021), The Secret Code Inside You (2021), and more. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks. To connect with Rajani and learn more about her and her books visit her at and on Twitter and Instagram @rajanilarocca.