Kissing, the Meaning of Life and Tina Malhotra

"I am an alien. (But my parents are Indian.)" Tina Malhotra
"I am an alien. (But my parents are Indian.)" Tina Malhotra

You’re a partier, a surfer, a jock, a hippy, a nerd, a cheerleader, in band… you get the idea.

It’s high school – a time of angst, amplified if you’re Indian (or part of any tight-knit community and family).

But now you’re a grown up, and these childish things are left far behind.

Or are they?

If you’re brave enough, you can revisit high school (from a safe distance ) with filmmaker and author Keshni Kashyap’s new book, Tina’s Mouth.

Tina’s Mouth is an utterly charming story about a thoughtful and intelligent 15 year old girl (Tina Malhotra), negotiating an existentially trying spring semester at her Southern California prep school. She’s desperately trying to find the meaning of life amidst her quirky family, betrayal by her best friend and an intense crush, all the while on a quest…for her first kiss. She finds solace in writing letters to Jean Paul Satre where she poses all her questions and eventually finds her way to the answer.

Beautifuly illustrated by Mari Araki, Tina’s world comes alive through Araki’s pictures, which give Kashyap’s story a film-like richness. On each page, we see Tina navigate her life and we root for her – because we were her or we knew her.

Based on Kashyap’s own personal experience growing up in Southern California, Tina’s Mouth is an authentic tale that brings a lighthearted but intelligent take on high school angst and one girl’s journey through it.

Kind of like Glee, but without all the singing.

More on Tina’s Mouth at

Author Keshni Kashyap
Illustrator Mari Araki

Get the book here:


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