Business Standard: The three Platypuses (thankfully, none of them are Platypiouses, which would have been so annoying) on the shortlist are fairly typical of Duckbill's list. In Shalini Srinivasan's Vanamala and the Cephalopod, Vanamala puts up a notice offering her eight-year-old sister, Pingu, for sale; in Shals Mahajan's Timmi in Tangles, the heroine has to deal with all sorts of annoyances, such as an Idli-amma who eats up all her idlis and dances on her stomach; and Balaji Venkataramanan's Flat-Track Bullies is an unusual coming-of-age
Goodbooks:At the heart of the novel, of course, is the issue of homosexuality and how traumatic it is for a teenager to realize and come to terms with the fact that he or she may be ‘differently’ made.
The New Indian Express: Set against the backdrop of the landmark December 2013 verdict on Section 377, both books are strongly rooted in the current context, yet manage to navigate the delicate line between topicality and good storytelling with an ease that sets them apart from the vast majority of fiction for young people.
My Big Red Bag: Devika Rangachari’s Queen of Ice has quite possibly one of our favourite characters from fiction this year. In Didda, Devika creates a woman character I can’t wait to introduce to my daughter once she’s old enough.
The Booklegger: It is an almost unflinching account of a bloody period in Indian history, and an unforgiving portrait of an unapologetically ambitious woman. I think these are great things for a young adult novel. What I do think is this--Queen of Ice is for anyone who is interested in hidden, forgotten histories.
Scroll: Himanjali Sankar’s Talking Of Muskaan explores what happens when a young woman is trying to break free of heteronormative structures and is seeking acceptance. It is a delicate, intimate narrative of three teenagers
DailyO: Talking of Muskaan is a sensitive and brave portrayal of being a teenager in today’s confused times ... most importantly with this story, Indian young adult books have firmly stepped out of the closet, by taking on a subject that’s usually-taboo-for-the-young-ones.
The Hindu: The voices in the book are real, rounded and complex, and the book deals with that one issue no one seems to want to talk about, other than in hurried subplots which become almost incidental to the story. “Talking of Muskaan” hits the issue of homosexuality head on, and becomes one of the first Indian YA books to do so.
Mid-day: Whether they understand it or not, unlike previous generations, most kids today have more empathy for class, gender, race, academic, economic and sexual differences. If their collective empathy leads us to a more inclusive society, many borders will be erased
The Good Book Corner: While the book is being highlighted in media because of its take on sexual orientation among children, I found Himanjali’s attempt at trying to talk about class issues among teenagers even more commendable.
PlusMinusNMore: A very sensitive and touching portrayal of what happens through the mind of a teenage girl, when she realizes that she is lesbian. How she is unable to mix or mingle and eventually how she is unable to defend herself against the bullies is brought out well in the sequence of events.
The Sunday Guardian: Throughout this book, there is an eye for detail, for little observations about how people change in some ways while remaining unbending in others; for the complications that can attend rites of passage such as girls waxing together for the first time.