Thirst | Varsha Bajaj


Thirst by Varsha Bajaj

Out now from Nancy Paulsen Books; 192 pages

About the author: “Varsha Bajaj is the author of the middle-grade novels, Count Me In and Abby
Spencer Goes to Bollywood, which was shortlisted for the Cybils Award and included on the
Spirit of Texas Reading Program. She also wrote the picture books The Home Builders and This
is Our Baby, Born Today (a Bank Street Best Book). She grew up in Mumbai, India, and when
she came to the United States to obtain her master’s degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books. She lives in Houston, Texas.” (Bio taken
from the back flap of Thirst).

Find Varsha Bajaj on the following platforms:

“Although water surrounds my island city, most people I know are always struggling to get enough.”

Thirst follows a 12-year-old girl named Minni. She lives in a poor area of Mumbai with her
parents and her brother, Sanjay. Their access to fresh water is limited. The lines for the tap water
are ridiculously long and fights break out on a regular basis. To make matters worse, members of
the mafia are stealing gallons of the valuable resource. One fateful night, Minni and Sanjay run
into a member of the water mafia in person and it changes the course of both of their lives.
Throughout the rest of the novel, Minni begins to wonder why the rich have access to so much
water when the people in her neighborhood barely have enough to survive.

While Bajaj’s novel is endearing and captivating, it is hindered by its low page count. Minni is a
powerful main character who is always asking questions. Her love for her family and friends
shines through on every page, and there’s a strong sense of community present throughout
Thirst. Minni is forced to step up and work when her mother falls ill from contaminated water,
and her neighbors, teachers, and friends step up to help make her life a little easier.
The aid Minni receives is heartwarming to read about. Between school, work, and computer
classes, she has too much on her plate to deal with alone. However, this is exactly why Thirst
would benefit from an extra 50 pages. Specifically, I wanted to read more about Minni’s passion
for learning to code and create apps. It’s something that Minni is passionate about, yet it is
overshadowed by the other parts of the plot. The ending also feels slightly rushed, and I
would’ve loved to see more lead up to the resolution. However, Thirst is still a beautifully
written story that is absolutely worth a read. I just enjoyed the storyline so much, I wish it was
expanded upon further.

PRR Writer & Editor, Emma Watts