Title: Finding Nikki
Author: Rasika Mahabal
Publisher: Leadstart publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Publication: 2022
Book Summary: Finding Nikki by Rasika Mahabal
Growing is hard, whether you’re 18 or 80. For the 20-year-old Niketa (aka Nikki) Sane, it’s a tad bit more challenging. Severely bullied in college and constantly pressured to excel in studies, she is left anxious to try even the simplest of things in life. She takes to writing in secret and often daydreams about finding love.
Things start to look much better when she meets Aarav, an artist who encourages her to follow her passions. Slowly, with the help and support of her family, Nikki embarks on her journey to recovery, but just as things start falling into place, the ghosts of her past come back to haunt her in the form of her former bullies. But this time, she is determined to stand up and fight back her bullies.
With drama swirling in her life again, will she be able to conquer her fears and give it back to her tormentors? Will her romantic daydreams ever become real? Above all, amidst all this chaos, will Nikki find herself?
Book Review: Finding Nikki by Rasika Mahabal
A skilled author has this ability to put you into the mind of someone you might never get to know because they are a bit prickly or distant and difficult to get to know, but the author lets you see the world through their eyes. You may not like this character at first, but after spending some time in their shoes, you end up liking them quite a bit. It is a wonderful gift to have and takes a special talent to do so. Finding Nikki by Rasika Mahabal is one of those books where you get to know the characters a lot better after spending time with them.
Being severely bullied in college and constantly pushed to excel in school has left Nikki nervous about trying even the most basic of tasks. Due to her crippling self-esteem, she lives a fairly secluded life. As a way to express herself, she takes to writing secretly and often fantasises about finding love. When she meets Aarav, an artist who inspires her to pursue her passion, everything starts looking up for her. As Nikki embarks on her path to recovery, her family and friends guide her. With Aarav’s kindness and help from her family and friends, Nikki’s inner emotions and feelings slowly start to emerge. As things change for Nikki, she is forced to confront the past and confront the real reason for her recent desire for more. Confronting her past will enable her to change the trajectory of her life. Her journey is one of hope for a better future, a future fought for and won by facing her demons and disassociating herself with the perpetrator of mental torment.
Finding Nikki is a novel about finding yourself, about facing your fears, however big or small. Nikki takes chances; and she tries new things. She steps out of her comfort zone and tries new things, with new people. She forces herself to learn to feel all emotions, rather than stifle the majority of them, as she has done her entire life. All this is because she realises she wants more from her life. She was truly an inspiration, and watching her slowly blossom and heal was a pure joy. Nikki and Aarav were both wonderful characters with a lot of depth.
Rasika Mahabal constructed a jewel with this debut effort. Her writing style is beautiful and most appealing. Even though the backdrop of the narrative is tragic, author Rasika ensures that the reader is not dragged down into a pit of blackness. She infuses the story with warmth and the perfect amount of humor.
Niketa, aka Nikki, is a beautifully written character study of a very troubled 20-year-old girl. The story is not plot-driven; neither is it a mystery thriller, nor have pulse-pounding actions. But it is one that is exquisitely written, with phenomenal characterization. Rasika Mahabal has created a truly unforgettable character in that of Nikki, and also of Aarav, the kind, sweet guy who helps Nikki find her way. The journey with quirky Nikki through the past and present is bizarre at times, thought-provoking at others. But, I found it to be engaging no matter what. And, while it is mainly about Nikki, there are a few other interesting characters met along the way as well.
Finding Nikki is a brilliant, witty, uplifting, and hopeful story that explores the deep, unspoken sadness caused by past trauma and how a little kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. This story is many things. It is both heart-wrenching and full of heart and inspiring. Most of all, it is one of those few books one reads that is truly unforgettable. I highly recommend Finding Nikki to anybody that likes a character-driven story. This book was just filled with remarkable characters that were so extremely well developed.