The Indian American

41 THE INDIAN AMERICAN APRIL-JUNE 2018 statistics from the U.S. Census which show that overall, while the total U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent since 2000, many multiple-race groups increased by 50 percent or more. “and it is the respon- sibility of the literary com- munity to keep apace.” “As a mixed-race author, I’ve made a promise to myself to include multiracial characters in every book I write from here on in,” she said pointing to two other characters in ‘Damselfly’ who are also of mixed-race. About breaking several stereotypes even while jux- taposing the narrator of mixed Indian heritage with the Indian-origin girl Rittika, Prasad said she was not trying to make any kind of sweeping statement about race. “but I did intentionally want to throw cold water on the usual stereotypes about Indians. I definitely believe all stereotypes, even the so- called positive ones (like how Indians and other Asians are supposed to be “the model minority”) are harmful in the long run because they strip people of nuance, individuality, and distinctiveness,” Prasad said. “Prasad deftly builds on familiar themes while also exploring issues like race, mental health, and the toxic- ity of teenage queen bees… A fun and compelling novel, one that is sure to attract a wide range of readers,” said the School Library Connection in its review. And Booklist described it as “a compulsive read,” one where “Ethics balance on a knife’s edge as the charac- ters make difficult choices and adapt to their new reali- ty.” Without revealing more of the intriguing tale, suffice it to say, Prasad seems to want to show that whether a per- son is observant, caring, and empathetic, or the epitome of perfection – beautiful, accomplished, popular, and wealthy — not that the two are mutually exclusive, stereotypes are best forgot- ten. “In Damselfly, Indian Americans are complex indi- viduals who cannot be easily pinned-down—in other words, they are the opposite of stereotypical,” Prasad told News India Times. This is Prasad’s first young adult novel. The Connecticut resident who is a Yale University graduate and a Fellow at one of Yale’s resi- dential colleges, previously wrote novels for adults, including, Mixed; and On Borrowed Wings, a histori- cal drama set in early 20th century New Haven; Breathe the Sky, a fictionalized account of Amelia Earhart’s last days; and Death of a Circus, which Booklist called “Richly textured [and] packed with glamour and grit.” Prasad’s shorter works have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. She is currently working on addi- tional young adult novels.

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