Meminger's teenage characters have clear, authentic voices. The boys are all pretty immature and the girls think they're more mature than they really are. I really appreciated her attention to such small details like including a model of color as one Sammy and her white best friend, Molly admire. Also, their school seems to be a real microcosm in terms of the socioeconomic and multicultural/multi-ethnic backgrounds represented. The adults are also written with relevancy and clarity. Especially Sammy's mother, Sharanjit, and her uncle, Sandeep. In spite of their differing ideas and the many years since their separation, the love between this brother and sister is evident.
One of my favorite moments is when Sammy, in spite of her mother's adverse opinion of "religion", has a meaningful experience at a local gurdwara (Sikh temple). This really speaks volumes to the difference between religion and spirituality and how the latter is often overshadowed by the former.
Shine Coconut Moon is a great story that I believe all teens could identify with and those a bit older who were teens during the events of 9/11. This novel exposes the realities of identity becoming more prevalent for many who were at once Americans then suddenly found themselves under unfair scrutiny. Also, it should speak to all ages in general on knowing and treasuring family and heritage.
South Asian Author