Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
Jasmine (Jazz) is leaving a lot behind to go to India for the summer with her parents. She’s got a lucrative business taking photos of tourists, and a best friend and business partner that she’s secretly been in love with for a while now. But her parents, ever altruistic, have a grant to work at the orphanage in Pune where her mother grew up. Immersed in the steamy weather of monsoon season, Jazz faces Indian private school, an evolving long-distance relationship, charity and caste systems.
Jazz is an immensely likable protagonist, even when she’s feeling sorry for herself, and the tangible detail of moonsoon season in India combined with a complex, engaging cast of characters makes this one book I’d recommend to anyone who wants something with more depth than Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, but none of the grinding despair of most of the latest crop of teen realism.