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Serving a generous dose of young fiction (Books This Weekend)

Posted on Feb 28 2014 | IANS

The thrill of winning a cricket match, an emotional bond between a man and animal, an annoying elder brother and a concerned grandmother - four coming-of-age stories about school friends and different strokes of life are stacked at IANS bookshelf this week. Take a look.

1. Book: Champs of Devgarh; Author: Aditya Sharma; Publisher: Puffin; Pages: 204; Price: Rs. 195

In Devgarh, a fictional town, the members of the Star Eleven cricket team are the good and bad boys of the Holy Mission School. Captained by Ajay but led by Aakash, the team, both individually and together, get into all kinds of scrapes with only one goal in sight - being the best cricketing school side in Devgarh. Follow their capers as they go through a gamut of experiences, from learning the value of money and honesty to first love, examination blues, and victory and defeat.

2. Book: No. 9 On the Shade Card; Author: Kavitha Mandana; Publisher: Red Turtle; Pages: 156; Price: Rs. 195

If you are a girl who loves to run, having a grandmother obsessed about where you are on the skin-tone meter can be tough. There is no way you can avoid hearing about the ill-effects of sports and all that "running around in the sun". Add to that an annoying elder brother, a father who is growing more distant by the day and a best friend keeping a secret - it all makes growing up suddenly seem pretty difficult! Then, when you decide you just have to win that sports scholarship, are you also expected to worry about your tan?

This novel is a spunky coming-of-age story about school, friends and life on the sports field.

3. Book: What a Loser!; Author: Pankaj Dubey; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 242; Price: Rs.192

Pandey Anil Kumar Sinha (PAKS) comes to Delhi with precisely three things: One, his jaded old trunk full of 'sattu' and 'achaar'; two, a borrowed dream of becoming an IAS officer from his clerk father; and three, to sleep with a milky-white Punjabi girl.

However, PAKS's goals begin to change when he falls in love, enrols for English classes and finds cool friends. Then suddenly he is pushed to the forefront of university elections and he becomes a hero!

What will happen next? Will he ever get what he really wants?

4. Book: Chained; Author: Lynne Kelly; Publisher: Puffin; Pages: 230; Price: Rs. 250

When 10-year-old Hastin's sister falls ill, he is forced to leave his village in Rajasthan to work in a faraway forest as an elephant keeper. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn't prepared for the cruel circus owner, Timir. Thrown together in a "chained" existence, Hastin and the baby elephant Nandita forge a bond of friendship that is stronger than any shackle. Hastin protects Nandita as best he can when she is punished for not learning her tricks. Yet, he wonders whether they will overcome the odds and survive long enough to escape?

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