As this novel in verse opens, 15 year old Maya is flying with her father from her home in Canada to her parents' home in India to scatter her mother's ashes. Maya's mother was Hindi and her father is Sikh: their love was forbidden. And so they settled in Canada, a place where Maya never felt she belonged. The night that Maya and her father arrive in India, Indira Gandhi is assassinated in her garden. The country erupts in violence. Maya's father goes in search of help. In his absence, Maya, fearing her her life and his, cuts of her hair, dons American clothes and heads out in search of her father. It is a journey that will not only separate her from her family but also place her life at risk as Sikhs become targets. <460>
The story, like the shifting sands of the desert, keeps readers on their toes. It takes off in different directions as the journal pages shift from Maya's story to that of Sandeep, a part of the family that takes in Maya after she has become lost in India. Prejudice, religion, intolerance, superstition, and romance combine in this tale of forbidden love.