Seventeen and Done (You bet!) by Vibha Batra chronicles the trials and tribulations of its seventeen-year old protagonist Rinki Tripathi. Her teenage life is strewn with the usual challenges – exams, parents, relatives and friends to name a few, but Vibha handles them in a refreshing manner. The book is not preachy or moralistic, but comes across as a witty take on a teenager’s life and all the sticky situations that come along with it.
Vibha’s first book Sweet Sixteen (Yeah, right!) published by Penguin was very well-received and led to talks of a sequel. But that is something she had already planned for. The first book starts with Rinki moving cities from Kolkata to Chennai, just like Vibha did at a similar age but this is where the similarity ends. The second book follows Rinki’s life as she tries to form her own identity amidst parental and peer pressure, earning the wrath of the no-nonsense Princy, while balancing the Board year and grappling with matters of the heart.
The book touches upon challenging teen issues like late night curfews, the frustrating deadline at pubs, the one upmanship at social networking sites and job pressure in a light-hearted manner. Seventeen… also drives home the message that not all 18-year olds want to be doctors or engineers and it is best to pursue your passion. The protagonist wants to become a fashion stylist and writes her own blog dishing out fashion gyan. The characters are interesting and real, be it Mausiji, her parents or her friends. While Rinki is fashionable and opinionated, Google is gregarious, fun loving, resourceful and believes in working smart. Adit, on the other hand, is Rinki’s voice of reason – he is a straight arrow, who believes in working hard. The usually studious Robin is in a long-distance relationship with Sriram (from book one!), so she is a little distracted. Sudha is a sweet girl, and a devoted follower of both Rinki and Robin.
Written in a breathless, rollercoaster style echoing the thought process of young Rinki, Seventeen is a fun ride you wish you could go on, again and again. Young adults (at whom the book is targeted) will easily identify with the characters and will be sure to enjoy the book, peppered as it is with Facebook status updates, BBM messages, blogs and pop culture references. For the older reader, the book will make you want to go back to your school days- the best days of your life when you had zero responsibilities and maximum fun. Read on a quiet afternoon and relive the days of fun, friendship and freedom.
(Seventeen and Done is part of Inked, Penguin’s new imprint for young adults. To connect with Rinki and learn more about the book, visit www.facebook.com/seventeenanddone)