It’s a daunting thing to be a teenager in today’s times. Imagine being an alien living in Mumbai on top of that! Different, 15-year-old Neeha Gupta’s debut book, is a story set in today’s Mumbai, with Nicole Grace as its protagonist. Science geek and a whiz kid, Nicole can pass off as any other teenager, except for one minor difference. She is an alien from a planet called Bridgen, from the neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda. Fifteen years ago, she crash-landed in India and since then, has been trying to grapple with many things — learning the language, eating the food and even sleeping! On top of that, as a teenager, she is expected to make friends, something she finds herself failing to do. And when she finally does, even that friendship threatens to fall apart because of a minor misunderstanding.
Things would have been easier to handle if she did not have a mission to save the Earth and protect her high school from shutting down on top of that!
Being a teenager herself, Neeha manages to bring out all the anxieties and insecurities faced by someone her age. Making her protagonist an alien, gives her the freedom to play around with her character, giving her enough quirks to be an alien, yet plagued by enough issues to be almost human.
If there is one word that pops in mind while reading the book, it’s ‘imagination’. Neeha’s narrative takes flight and takes the reader on a journey that’s a pleasure to read. In Nicole, you have a protagonist you can identify with on a lot of levels, but also, take delight in her alien ways.
Like all good books, this one too hides a message in its pages. One that tells you that in a world where everyone is trying desperately to fit in, it’s perfectly okay to be different.