I think it's really easy, especially after 9/11, to lump a person into a group. Because of their race, their clothing, or their accent, we immediately might shove a person into a stereotype.
That is exactly what Neesha Meminger is able to shatter in her novel.
You might expect to hear Sam make some obvious allusions to her Sikh heritage (which I had to look up because I had NO CLUE what that meant). But no. If you didn't already know Sam was Indian, you would never be able to tell. Because of her mother's decision to leave the faith, Sam has grown up without ever meeting her grandparent's or any extended family. She has no clue about her family history, and has grown up in the shadow of her close friend's extensive family.
Instead of being afraid of repercussion after 9/11, Sam wants to get to know her Asian family and heritage. Unfortunately, her estranged mother and angry students at her school aren't so thrilled with the idea. After Sam's uncle is attacked because of his apparel, Sam is forced to stare prejudice in the face. Luckily, she comes out the winner.
I love reading about different cultures and religions, and was surprised to notice in our local paper the day that I was reading this book both an article and an ad related to the Sikh community in our area. That's one thing I love about America: being able to see and even be a part of such a wide variety of cultures and lifestyles. Kudos to Meminger for bringing her own heritage to light in such an eye-opening novel.