3.74 (456 ratings by Goodreads)
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Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrument was a gift from her grandmother-intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon.
When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, strange clues surface: a tea kettle ornamented with a familiar pointy-faced dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse. The clues point all the way to India, where it seems that Neela's instrument has a long history of vanishing and reappearing. Even if Neela does track it down, will she be able to stop it from disappearing again?
Sheela Chari's debut novel is a finely tuned story of coincidence and fate, trust and deceit, music and mystery.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 161 x 203 x 29mm | 503g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1423131630
  • 9781423131632
  • 998,394

Review quote

Chari's first novel starts off slowly, but readers will soon be invested in 11-year-old Neela Krishnan's desperate search for her missing veena, a four-foot-tall Indian stringed instrument that dates to the 11th century. Neela's grandmother, who lives in India, sends her a veena that may be a rare "Guru original," carved with a lucky dragon symbol. When a mysterious man lures Neela into a church and the veena disappears, her superstitious mother believes the instrument was not stolen but cursed, vanishing in an attempt to return to its rightful owner. Nevertheless, Neela is wracked with guilt and passionate about recovering the instrument that both inspires her and diminishes her intense stage fright. She collects some clues--a dragon tea kettle, a fellow student's unusual behavior, a menacing note, a connection to a late musician--that lead her all the way from Boston to India to find the truth. Indian history and culture (musical and otherwise), well-observed family and friendship dynamics, and elements of fate, luck, and tradition bring depth this quiet but enthralling mystery. PW"
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About Sheela Chari

Sheela Chari ( was born in Bangalore, India, and has lived in Iowa, Washington State, California, Massachusetts, and New York. She holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from New York University. This is her first novel.
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Rating details

456 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 24% (108)
4 35% (160)
3 35% (158)
2 5% (21)
1 2% (9)
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