‘The Reluctant Debutante’ by Vibha Batra is a peek into the world of glamourous social events, but with a twist. Its USP is that it transports the reader to the days of yore when noblewomen were introduced to polite society as debutantes while being set against a completely modern backdrop.
The story is about identical twins who share similar looks but whose personalities are starkly different. The so-called troublemaker twin of the two impersonates her a rather saintly counterpart in a “social event”(read: beauty contest) held in France, at the goody-goody sister’s behest.
What ensues is an enjoyable account of this rather ungainly sister navigating the competition while trying to rein in her true nature. The other contestants and her “Cavalier” of the opposite sex are described well and add colour to the story. The “Cavalier” came across as a kind of modern-day Darcy for Young Adults!
By making her protagonist almost anti-beauty pageants, Vibha appeals to that section of the audience who think these contests are frivolous. It is a charming little story encompassing 165 pages, which has you rooting for the protagonist and marvelling at the way there are no loose ends. Everything is tied up with a neat little bow at the end, and there are a couple of twists and turns in the story to make it an interesting read.
Vibha’s style of writing is fun, engaging and witty. Anyone with a sense of humour will enjoy this book, and brand-conscious readers will be delighted with the number of fashion references in the book. The story reminded me of the Lindsey Lohan-starrer, The Parent Trap, only because it is about twins. It is suitable for late teens/young adults, but 42-year old me with a young heart enjoyed it just as much. The book also reminded me of ‘The Princess Diaries’ although the plots are not similar at all. Fans of Meg Cabot will love this book.
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