Sonia Patel is a first generation Indian immigrant, who grew up on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in history at Stanford University and went on to earn her medical degree from the University of Hawai’i, John A. Burns School of Medicine. She completed five years of residency training in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. Patel currently practices psychiatry on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. She is most passionate about helping teens work through the emotional sequelae of sexual, physical and mental abuse. In her free time she enjoys hiking, baking fudge and listening to hip-hop. When she travels, she loves to indulge in culinary pleasures and discovering underground hip-hop clubs. So far her favorites are Seoul, Tokyo and London. She lives on O‘ahu with her husband, two children and their dog.
Rani Patel: In Full Effect
Almost seventeen, Rani Patel appears to be a kick-ass Indian girl breaking cultural norms as a hip-hop performer in full effect. But in truth, she's a nerdy flat-chested nobody who lives with her
Gujarati immigrant parents on the remote Hawaiian island of Moloka’I, isolated from her high school peers by the unsettling norms of Indian culture where "husband is God." Her parents' traditionally arranged marriage is a sham. Her dad turns to her for all his needs—even the intimate ones. When Rani catches him two-timing with a woman barely older than herself, she feels like a widow and, like widows in India are often made to do, she shaves off her hair. Her sexy bald head and hard-driving rhyming skills attract the attention of Mark, the hot older customer who frequents her parents' store and is closer in age to her dad than to her. Mark makes the moves on her and Rani goes with it. He leads Rani into 4eva Flowin', an underground hip hop crew—and into other things she's never done. Rani ignores the red flags. Her naive choices look like they will undo her but ultimately give her the chance to discover her strengths and restore the things she thought she'd lost, including her mother.
"Debut author Sonia Patel offers a unique perspective in Rani, whose punchy first-person narrative, peppered with early-’ 90s hip-hop references, Hawaiian, Hawaiian pidgin, Gujurati phrases, and her own
slick rhymes packed with an empowering feminist message, commendably and strikingly stands out in the YA landscape." —Booklist Online, Starred Review
“A powerfully particular, 100 percent genuine character commands this gutsy debut.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Sonia Patel sets her powerful debut novel in 1991, filling it with bygone rap references and an electric verbal blend of Gujarati, slang, Hawaiian pidgin, and the rhymes Rani crafts. Patel compassionately
portrays Rani’ s entangled emotions, lack of self-confidence, and burgeoning sense of empowerment as she moves forward from trauma.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review