The Night Diary

The Night Diary

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dan...

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Title:The Night Diary
Author:Veera Hiranandani
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Night Diary Reviews

  • Rashika (is tired)

    The book I FUCKING DESERVE.

  • Suze Lavender

    It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with

    It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with their Papa and grandmother and a long journey on foot is ahead of them. They will encounter many dangers on the way, will they safely reach their destination?

    Nisha's mother passed away. Nisha has found a way to talk to her though. She writes to her mother in her diary every day. She shares her fears, hopes and dreams. Nisha needs her mother more than ever when she loses her home, has to leave a lot of people she loves behind and needs to say goodbye to everything that used to give her comfort. By telling her mother about her worries Nisha becomes braver and finds the courage to get through the difficult time ahead.

    The Night Diary is a beautiful impressive story. Nisha and her family have to leave as quickly as possible, because they are no longer safe in a place that was their home for years. Nisha doesn't have a mother and now she's about to lose her house and several of the people she loves as well. That was heartbreaking to read about. She's a strong and resilient girl though. While she's still trying to understand the situation they're in, she needs all of her strength to survive the terrible road ahead. She never complains and I loved how brave she is. Reaching the border is dangerous and it's a long walk. Finding out if she and her family would safely make it kept me glued to the pages.

    Veera Hiranandani's amazing descriptive writing style makes The Night Diary come to life in an incredible way. Nisha writes to her deceased mother in her diary and can therefore be completely open and honest, which makes it possible to get really close to what she thinks, feels and sees. That makes the story raw and gorgeous at the same time. I loved this structure, it perfectly suits the subject matter. The Night Diary is an absolute must-read. This fantastic thought-provoking book completely blew me away.

  • Navdip

    I first heard about

    during an Owlcrate video a few months ago and seeing as I'm Indian and this book is set during the period when India gained their independence I knew this was an absolute must read for me!

    This book follows a twelve year old girl called Nisha who together with her family are forced to leave their home following the partition of India. When the family end up on the Pakistan side they decide to attempt to travel by foot and train to the new India.

    -

    I first heard about

    during an Owlcrate video a few months ago and seeing as I'm Indian and this book is set during the period when India gained their independence I knew this was an absolute must read for me!

    This book follows a twelve year old girl called Nisha who together with her family are forced to leave their home following the partition of India. When the family end up on the Pakistan side they decide to attempt to travel by foot and train to the new India.

    - I learnt so much about what happened in the aftermath of the partition of India! As an Indian individual it's important to me to try and learn about the history of India, so I am grateful that

    has allowed me to do that.

    - I loved how the author didn't shy away from the truth of the partition and kept the story very honest and believable.

    - The story is told through Nisha's diary entries to her mother and I really liked this. It made the book feel more personal and emotional. The diary aspect also allowed me to see how slowly/quickly things were occurring once the partition had happened.

    - This isn't a really big criticism because this book is so good, but it looked like it took until about 60ish% for the Dadi (grandma) to feel properly tired from all the walking, little food and drink. This just didn't feel realistic to me.

    was a really important read for me. The book provided me with the knowledge I wanted through a very heartfelt, honest and emotional story. If you enjoy reading middle grade fiction, in particular historical fiction or want to know more about what happened during the India partition, then I'd definitely recommend this book!

  • Donalyn

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. A treasure.

  • Hannah Greendale

    to watch a video review of this book on my channel,

    .

    The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home, sh

    to watch a video review of this book on my channel,

    .

    The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home, she charts her arduous trek via letters written every night in her journal – beginning each one, Dear Mama.

    *

    The cultural significance of Nisha’s story is not limited to her record of historical events. While recording her thoughts, Nisha reveals to young readers the many ways in which her life differs from other children around the world. “

    ,”* she explains, and everyone’s varied religions – Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh – are evident “

    ”* On Nisha’s birthday, she receives the diary as a gift “

    .”* In reflecting on the extravagant nature of this gift, the simplicity of her life is most evident.

    *

    Food is central to Nisha’s story. Hiranandani’s descriptions of warm unleavened bread (

    ), spiced split pea and lentil soup (

    ), and potatoes and vegetables deep fried in a seasoned batter (

    ) are liable to make anyone hungry. For Nisha, cooking is a source of comfort; the kitchen is a place where family comes together. When her family has walked for days and faces death by starvation, a simple bowl of rice and lentils is a saving grace – unseasoned food becomes the most wonderful thing she’s ever tasted.

    Comfort found in preparing and eating food sustains Nisha, but it cannot quell her confusion about what’s happening around her. In contemplating her country’s upheaval and the way it has affected her family as well as everyone around her, Nisha explores weighty themes and, through questioning her situation, inadvertently makes powerful assertions.

    *

    *

    *

    Though Nisha’s story is moving, the narrative is limited by the constraints of its epistolary format. As a first-person narrator, Nisha’s voice is occasionally dull and the prose often lacks sparkle. Making up for this are the moments when Nisha’s longing for her mother saturates her letters, making for a sentimental read that will force some readers to reach for a box of tissues.

    *

    Violent content bears mentioning, given the age group of the book’s intended audience (ages 8 to 12). At one point, Nisha is held captive with a knife at her throat. Nisha encounters a man who says, “

    ”* Also, Nisha witnesses several men fighting and describes violent images such as blood, a man with a slashed leg, a man with a gun, a man being stabbed in the chest, a man getting his throat slashed, and people dying.

    is a moving story of a refugee girl’s search for home, identity, and family in a divided country; however, parents are well advised to be mindful of the book’s content before handing it to young readers.

    -

    Special thanks to

    for providing a free copy of

    in exchange for an honest review.

    *Note: All quotes are provided from an uncorrected proof.

  • Chelsea

    I picked up The Night Diary because my friend Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks loved it and I recently had a wonderful experience reading Amal Unbound, another diverse middle grade novel. While I wouldn’t say that middle grade is my favourite genre, I do like to read it from time to time.

    The Night Diary did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook, which happened to be narrated by the same narrator of Amal Unbound! I absolutely love their voice and would listen to every book they’ve worked

    I picked up The Night Diary because my friend Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks loved it and I recently had a wonderful experience reading Amal Unbound, another diverse middle grade novel. While I wouldn’t say that middle grade is my favourite genre, I do like to read it from time to time.

    The Night Diary did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook, which happened to be narrated by the same narrator of Amal Unbound! I absolutely love their voice and would listen to every book they’ve worked on.

    This novel is about a girl named Nisha, set in 1947 when India became independent. Her mother – who died in childbirth – was Muslim and her father Hindu, so the family is torn between two new worlds: India and Pakistan. The way this author educates readers is wonderful. We don’t get info-dumps; we learn through Nisha’s experiences. The Indian representation is #OwnVoices and the author’s note was brilliant.

    Every single character was complex. It’s not explicitly stated, but I’d say Nisha has social anxiety and selective mutism, the latter a result of trauma.

    My only criticism is the glorification of Ghandi.

    content and trigger warnings for death, violence (anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim), illness: starvation and dehydration, religion

  • Lola

    There are two reasons that I can think of right now of why

    novels are as valuable as History courses, if not more.

    Because unless you’re a university student who takes very specific History courses with the subjects that you really want to learn about, chances are your high school History professors will focus on European and American History. That’s from my Canadian perspective, anyways.

    The other reason is that while History courses usually cover a topic and make you learn all

    There are two reasons that I can think of right now of why

    novels are as valuable as History courses, if not more.

    Because unless you’re a university student who takes very specific History courses with the subjects that you really want to learn about, chances are your high school History professors will focus on European and American History. That’s from my Canadian perspective, anyways.

    The other reason is that while History courses usually cover a topic and make you learn all the ‘‘important’’ facts and dates – which, personally, I forget almost immediately after graduating the course – professors frequently talk about historical events matter-of-factly and rarely make you FEEL what the population who, for instance, survived WWII FELT.

    And this comes from someone who used to avoid Historical Fiction. Like any other genre, it can be boring if explored poorly or burdened with unnecessary description.

    I like books – from almost any genre – that make it possible for you to visualize scenes in your head and that leave an impression, not just a mental one but an emotional one, too. I like books that are emotionally affective because, in twenty years, I will probably forget most of what happened in those books, but I will never forget how I felt reading them. And isolating those feelings will lead me to remembering what triggered them in the first place.

    This book is one of those books that make you FEEL. The writing is lyrical, the topic important, relevant, and especially realistic. It’s also written in diary entries and, as someone who cannot keep a diary for longer than two weeks, this novel format fascinates me.

    I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading this book, but I also learned from it. No one ever told me Pakistan and India were once the same country. Either my History professors assumed that was common knowledge, even for a tween/teen, or they didn’t bother mentioning it because it didn’t fit with their course outlines.

    My point is, History courses do teach you a lot, but sometimes it’s better to learn on your own, notably when you want to gain knowledge on a very specific subject and FEEL more than absorb descriptions, and fictional stories can be a great way to do that.

    is a great way to do that.

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  • Adiba Jaigirdar

    I was super excited about this book but it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be. The format didn't really work for me. The epistolary format just made everything feel a bit distant. There were some really great things about the book as well though - I really liked the concept and most of the characters, and there were some really, really moving and well-written scenes.

    Full review coming soon!

  • Rida Imran

    The cover is beautiful. Being from Pakistan while I've heard a lot of partition stories, I've never read any..

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