Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
What a fun book! I absolutely loved Roshani Chokshi’s writing. I’m going to keep this review short because you really just need to read it.
Aru was such a fun character. She did lie a lot, but it was usually because she was trying to get people to like her. It’s what got her into trouble. She was with some kids from school and she wanted to impress them. Aru decided to light the lamp that she was told to stay away from. She really didn’t think anything could go wrong. But everyone around her froze.
Mini was just adorable. I loved how she was always giving facts about things that could kill you. She felt a little more mature than Aru, but she still felt like a child, too.
I really loved the growing friendship between Aru and Mini, two girls who really had no friends. Their relationship was so sweet and I even loved their little arguments they had. Both girls really learned to trust each other.
“But worry for a friend can make ordinary circumstances extraordinary. In that moment, all Aru knew was that Mini was her first true friend in a long time…and she would not-could not-lose her.”
Boo was another favorite. He made me laugh and I loved his interactions with the girls.
The mythology and the writing are what really stood out to me. I absolutely loved the mythology stories throughout the book. I just kept wanting to read more and the glossary in the back really helped. The challenges the girls faced were fun to read and I loved seeing how they would handle each one.
I will definitely be buying the next book, Aru Shah and the Song of Death. I gave this one 5 stars!
This book is the book of the month for TBR and Beyond. There is still time to sign up for the event. Have you read Aru Shah? What did you think of it? What are some of your favorite middle grade books?