The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi (ARC review)

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
Publisher: Bloomhill Books
Publication Date: June 25th, 2015
Pages: 318
Song I Played While Reading: Delilah by Florence + The Machine
Rating: 4 stars

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before.As time goes by, their bond grows to be as strong as that between sisters. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. 

Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time

I'd like to thank Netgalley and Bloomhill Books for providing me this ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

It's always nice, yet a little jarring, to take a break from the YA fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi books I usually read, and immerse myself in a realistic fiction adult book. Its a breathe of fresh air, even if the topic is one not many people like to talk about: prostitution. 
Yes, this story was heartbreakingly sad. Yes, it featured some scenes that made me cringe. But I couldn't stop reading it. It was beautiful and sad at the same time, making me want to laugh and cry. I felt inspired, hopeful, mortified, and just mostly in awe. Trasi manages to weave together a story that really makes you understand what its like to be in a brothel, but at the same time, highlights such small happy moments that somehow lift you out of that darkness, and really makes you grateful for the even the smallest of things. As Mukta said,

"Thats all I've ever had- the ability to see the beauty in small things, in people, in nature. It's the only thing that has helped me survive." 

We see that when reading, and its astonishing at how uplifting it was. I loved Mukta and related to her much more then I did Tara; the way she watched people and could sit in one place at a time for hours; her love for reading; her quiet and more reserved nature; the urge to help anyone, no matter the situation. Though people saw her as a pushover and nothing more then a slave half the time, she was probably more courageous and strong then 95% of the people in her country. She constantly brought me to tears, and I always found myself wondering, "How does she do it? How does she live like that and still know how to smile?" She truly touched me and I don't think I'll forget about her for a long, long time. 
The complexity between Tara and Mukta really gave this book an edge, since Tara was the one that was punching boys when she was younger if they taunted her. Obviously she grew out of that, but Tara had her strengths and weaknesses, and we see a lot of the latter. Theres such emotional grief and unspoken thoughts and regrets, it was comforting knowing that her character wasn't perfect. She made mistakes, big ones, and she had to live with them for years and years until she finally drew up the courage to face them. She fought for the people she loved, and I admired her endlessly for that. 
I'm not one to shy away from uncomfortable topics, and I highly recommend reading this if you feel the same way. Stripped to its core, this is a story of hope. Its the story of love, friendship, and forgiveness. It's absolutely breathtaking and unforgettable. 

"I talked to the moon and told him I thought I deserved a father, and if he thought so too, he should carry my prayer to God and send my father back to me. I thought that one day the moon would just get weary of listening to me, of watching over me, and offer me a solution to ease my confusion." 

"There must be something about pain, about the way it touches you so deeply that sometimes you never get back to being the person you once were."

"Shadows spring from my past and swirl around me. Sometimes there is no other option but to confront them."

(Picture and synopsis from Goodreads)

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