Though suffering is at the core of this debut novel, it’s also about living through pain by harnessing what brings happiness. And the dip into ’90s nostalgia, not to mention the awesome Rani persevering and conquering as MC Sutra — but more important, as herself — makes reading all the slam poetry well worth it.
— Jen Doll, New York Times
A powerfully particular, 100 percent genuine character commands this gutsy debut.
— Kirkus Starred Review
Patel sets her powerful debut novel in 1991, filling it with an electric 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
Commendably and strikingly stands out in the YA landscape...Rani’s voice, oscillating from righteous anger to thrilling pride, swooning crushes, and heartbreaking insecurity, will resonate with many, even those with little to no familiarity with Rani’s background. Vivid, bold, and passionate.
— Booklist Starred Review
Her story will appeal to readers who prefer gritty, darker fiction without a pat, happy ending, and characters who don’t always overcome their challenges but must face them repeatedly. VERDICT A strong, unique choice for YA collections.
— School Library Journal Starred Review
Patel pays equal respects to Rani’s damage and to her potential, to her past and to the present and future she’s writing for herself with every rhyme. She presents not only a totally fresh heroine but an underused setting: through Rani you can smell the salt air of Moloka’i, and taste the rose water kulfi her mother makes for her. This book is a must-read.
— Barnes & Noble Teen Blog, Melissa Albert
Rani’s environment leaps off the page in vivid and satisfying detail, from the winding roads and small shops of Moloka’i to the intricacies of ’90s hip-hop fashion...Author Sonia Patel is a psychiatrist, and her determination to portray Rani’s response to trauma truthfully is unrelenting. Rani’s past affects her choices again and again, despite her undeniable intelligence and drive. As young readers root for Rani, they will gain a deeper understanding of abuse and addiction through
this powerful and gripping novel.
— BookPage Teen Top Pick
This book gutted me. Sonia Patel knocked it out of the f*cking park. Buy this book.
— Rachelle Strolle, Anderson’s Bookshop
This book is an open wound. Sonia Patel does not sugar coat or try to weave a fairy tale from heartbreak, sorrow, and patriarchy. You know, the kinds of things intended to bend and break girls who rap and chop all their hair off. Girls like Rani. But Rani writes words. Words that go boom. And in Rani Patel In Full Effect, so does Patel.
— Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
As I read this book I thought of all the young girls, including myself at her age, looking for love in all the wrong places, whose experiences with their fathers shape their future interactions with men. Rani shows us the power every girl has inside themselves to break the cycle of abuse and reminds us that self love is what frees us up to become the amazing beings we are.
— Kristie Gadson, Cleaver Literary Magazine

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story

A gritty and hard-hitting portrait of love between a rich transgender boy and a poor girl groomed for sex work. Messy lives depicted in a beautifully simple prose that reminded me of my beloved Mahfouz.
— Fred Aceves, author of THE CLOSEST I'VE COME
Powerful, raw and completely unfiltered mature YA that deals with incredibly complex topics…I thank Patel for having the bravery to write this story and go where the majority of YA authors don’t (won’t?) go.
— Kate Olson, The Loud Library Lady
This is a book that will save lives... this story should be for everyone. Because perhaps in a moment where everyone else has forgotten - or others have knowingly done harm - in the moment of their greatest need, perhaps you’ll be the one who can place this book into those hands that need it the most.
— Ms. A. Rose's Reviews (Between Margins)
Once again, Sonia Patel does not hold back from confronting the dirt and scars defining so many young people’s lives today. Her years of experience as a child and adolescent psychiatrist shine through the pages of this book as she deftly handles themes of isolation, desperation, and redemption.
— Jupiter Brown, Building Diverse Bookshelves
Jaya and Rasa are compelling characters in their own right, but when they finally meet, it’s as electrifying as Romeo and Juliet’s first dance. Patel has struck a balance of sensuality and youthful tenderness in their courtship, clearly conveying the difference between healthy and abusive sexual encounters. With an open-ended but hopeful final scene, Jaya and Rasa will appeal to teen readers hungry for more diverse—but still romantic—realistic fiction.
— BookPage
...Patel has written a book so intense and messy that it may just reflect real life in a way that neither fairy-tale endings nor outright tragedies can do.
— Kirkus Review
Sonia Patel’s newest book is an unforgettable and brave love story...Her powerful novel takes readers to lush Hawaii and introduces us to Jaya, a trans teen boy who falls for Rasa, the daughter of a prostitute. There’s no shortage of obstacles — from meddling parents to complicated family histories — standing in the way of their love, which is why you’ll be rooting for these two from page one.
— Brit+Co
Patel’s captivating prose and memorable characters immerse readers in a tense situation.
— Booklist Review
This book is just fabulous because of its depth, its characters, and its ability to transition between the bubbling feelings of new love and the sadness of situations beyond our capability or control. Neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ detract from the other, instead showing the interaction they have within our lives. Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story is exactly that, a love story, but full of so much more and left with an ending that hands the reins over to us, the reader. It is a compelling read and one that I am still thinking about days later. That’s the type of book this is – one that will get under your skin.
— Utopia State of Mind Book Reviews
...Patel (Rani Patel in Full Effect) writes with fierce simplicity throughout, allowing the gritty beauty of her story to shine.
— Publishers Weekly
The setting, romance, and captivating characters will draw in teens looking for a story they haven’t read before.
— School Library Journal
I appreciate so much getting to know these two wounded characters from pre-adolescence...Nothing is sugar-coated, the reality is bleak and honest, but Patel gives us just a bright enough glimmer of hope to keep reading, to keep going.
— Brandi Bailey, Book Riot

Bloody Seoul

With each book, Sonia Patel expands the boundaries of YA fiction. This is a mesmerizing, singular coming-of-age story, drawn indelibly in beauty and brutality; love and violence.
— Jeff Zentner, author of Morris Award winner The Serpent King
In bold, simple prose, Sonia Patel tackles the universal themes of bullying, family, loyalty and compassion. An unforgettable story filled with tension, drama, and humor.
— Fred Aceves, author of The Closest I’ve Come
Patel’s writing shines. Her words flow across the page like a poem - descriptive yet succinct, observant of an entire world in so few phrases. Her writing style reflects Rocky’s character...in the face of hardship all we can do - all we must do - is keep moving forward. BLOODY SEOUL teaches us this lesson through colorful and subtly powerful storytelling, gripping readers from beginning to end. A one-of-a-kind read.
— Kristie Gadson, Cleaver Literary Magazine
The spare writing style makes this a quick, engrossing read. Some of the action—especially that geared toward Ha-na—depicts the brutal nature of bullying and its effects as Rocky struggles with the cruel compulsions of his daily life. A powerful story about family, redemption, and finding out who you really are.
— Booklist Review
Readers who follow Rocky’s inner dialogue and forays through memory will be rewarded with an evocative read.
— School Library Journal
...Patel’s choppy, terse sentences reflect Rocky’s precarious emotional state and compulsive behavior, which are explored alongside themes of redemption, self-discovery, and generational trauma.
— Publishers Weekly
As his eyes open to his father’s alcoholism and dark moods, Rocky unearths memories of his loving mother, who disappeared 10 years earlier. He discovers ugly truths about his parents’ relationship and his mother’s disappearance and starts digging deeper.
— Kirkus Reviews