Maddie & Sayara by Sanjyot P. Dunung
Looking for a compelling young-adult novel that will inspire young people everywhere to fight intolerance and repression? Check out Maddie & Sayara, the gripping debut novel from Sanjyot P. Dunung!
Maddie and Sayara are from very different cultures and meet while on holiday. They quickly forge a close friendship as they discover their similarities—their families, attitudes, dreams, and hopes. Their time together is cut short, however, when Sayara is called home because her favorite cousin Themi has been unexpectedly jailed by powerful forces. Maddie, surprised and shocked, resolves to help.
As Maddie learns more about Themi’s situation, she begins to wonder why girls are treated differently depending on where they are born. Naïve but hopeful, she can’t understand why her friends should live within unequal and unfair rules, and she is determined to fix the problem.
Stealthily arriving in Sayara’s home kingdom, Maddie finds she is less prepared than she thought to navigate local powerful forces, a different culture, and unfamiliar rules. With the help of a local family, Maddie finds Sayara and her spirited cousin Themi. But can Maddie and Sayara persuade the king to change the unfair rules against women?
Author Sanjyot Dunung, the well-known president of a global educational and cultural learning company, has spent years mentoring young women from all kinds of backgrounds. Her mission with this book is to inspire young people to overcome the cultural barriers that prevent them from achieving their ambitions. This piece of activist fiction is perfect for anyone interested in making the world a better place, and it’s an essential learning resource for discussions about issues such as gender equality, freedom of choice and opportunity, cultural awareness, personal responsibility, and human dignity.
“Maddie is an enjoyable and bright first-person narrator with a voice that’s imbued with all the attitude and passion of a teenage girl … the escalating drama and Maddie’s energetic narration will keep readers turning pages.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This young-adult story is well written with insightful information about a culture vastly different from Western ways of life…. Maddie & Sayara will be enjoyed by adolescent girls in particular, but also by adults interested in a close-up view of a different world as shared by a hopeful young girl.” ―Blueink
“The girls are realistically 13 and young adult readers will root for their star-crossed friendship. The characters have a genuine bond and fresh personalities that immediately endear the reader to their wild schemes. The plot is filled with action and clever turns, and plenty of scenes in which girls get to shine.” –Indie Reader