Friday, April 28, 2023

Book Review - I Kick and I Fly by Ruchira Gupta + Giveaway


I Kick and I Fly by Ruchira Gupta is about a young Indian girl who tries to escape her fate of being sold into the sex trade by her father.  Heera and her family are a part of the Nat culture whose people are nomadic and are unable to find work due to cultural differences  with the local peoples. Heera is a fourteen year old girl who currently lives on the outskirts of the Red Light District in Bihar, India. She knows it is only a matter of time before she is sold to provide for and feed her family. Her fate is virtually sealed, just like every other female member of her family and community.

Heera hates watching her cousin, Mira Di, live this lifestyle. Heera has seen her cousin, once vibrant and happy, now use drugs to numb herself. She also sees how abusive and cruel men treat Mira Di. As she grows older, Heera is afraid that her time to break free is running out. 


Due to Heera’s nomadic roots, she struggles to fit in with others at school. It doesn’t help that her best friend’s (Rosy) brother goes out of his way to torture and bully her. Heera decides to stand up to her bully and she gets expelled after hitting him. She fears that after this recent run in, that her time has become even more limited. Since Heera is no longer able to attend school, her family feels that she should start contributing to the household.


When a local hostel owner and activist, Rini Di, shows up at Heera's home, Heera feels that her luck might have finally changed. Rini Di is able to provide Heera and her family enough money to repay their debts and allow Heera to return back to school. Rini Di feels for Heera and her plight and wants to help the family out.

Heera is given opportunities that she didn’t have access to before and that will change the trajectory of her life. She is able to learn kung fu and readily has access to food. She no longer has to worry about her next meal. While she learns martial arts, she starts to realize that she has more control over her body than she thought. That she is more than just a commodity to be sold or preyed upon and that her body can protect herself and loved ones.


As Heera learns that she can disrupt her own perceived destiny, her beloved friend goes missing. Heera is determined to find out what happened to Rosy and she is willing to stop at nothing to find out the truth. When she finds out that Rosy is in New York, she decides to embark on a daring rescue mission in a country she has never been to.


The novel is based on experiences and stories that survivors shared with the author when they were working as activists. The book was a heart wrenching and eye opening read. I had a general idea of sex trafficking but it was very limited. Reading about Heera’s story helped me empathize with victims and made me realize it’s a lot more common than previously I thought.


The characters were realistic, well developed and relatable. I found myself crying over the treatment and situations that  Heera and others faced. I also found myself rejoicing when Heera and her mother found their voices and were brave enough to stand up against their oppressors.  I enjoyed reading about the Nat culture and the challenges they faced as a nomadic community.  I liked that the author included resources for readers who want to get involved or to learn more. I think this is a good read for anyone who is interested in learning about different human experiences.

**Disclosure - I received a free unedited copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**


About The Book:


Author: Ruchira Gupta

Pub. Date: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 352

Find it: Goodreads

"In I Kick and I Fly, Ruchira Gupta has given young readers an irresistible story, and also one that could save lives. This book is a gift." -- Gloria Steinem

A propulsive social justice adventure by renowned activist and award-winning documentarian Ruchira Gupta, I Kick and I Fly is an inspiring, hopeful story of triumph about a girl in Bihar, India, who escapes being sold into the sex trade when a local hostel owner helps her to understand the value of her body through kung fu.

On the outskirts of the Red Light District in Bihar, India, fourteen-year-old Heera is living on borrowed time until her father sells her into the sex trade to help feed their family and repay his loans. It is, as she's been told, the fate of the women in her community to end up here. But watching her cousin, Mira Di, live this life day in and day out is hard enough. To live it feels like the worst fate imaginable. And after a run-in with a bully leads to her expulsion from school, it feels closer than ever.

But when a local hostel owner shows up at Heera's home with the money to repay her family's debt, Heera begins to learn that fate can change. Destiny can be disrupted. Heroics can be contagious.

It's at the local hostel for at risk girls that Heera is given a transformative opportunity: learning kung fu with the other girls. Through the practice of martial arts, she starts to understand that her body isn't a an object to be commodified and preyed upon, but a vessel through which she can protect herself and those around her. And when Heera discovers the whereabouts of her missing friend, Rosy, through a kung fu pen pal in the US, she makes the decision to embark on a daring rescue mission to New York in an attempt to save her.

A triumphant, shocking account inspired by Ruchira Gupta's experience making the Emmy-award winning documentary, The Selling of Innocents, this is an unforgettable story of overcoming adversity by a life-long activist who has dedicated her life to creating a world where no child is bought or sold.

About Ruchira Gupta:

Ruchira Gupta has pioneered laws, policies, protocols, conventions and Best Practice approaches in the Feminist Abolitionist struggle against sex-trafficking in the UN, globally and India. Her work will be archived at Stanford Library and will be open access for students across the world to study. Her journey began as a journalist, when she made the Emmy-winning documentary, The Selling of Innocents. With the help of the documentary, she testified to the US Senate for the passage of the first Trafficking Victim Protection Act and to the UN for the passage of the UN Protocol to End Trafficking in Persons. She founded the Indian anti-sex trafficking organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, that supports thousands of prostituted and at risk girls in India. You can learn more about her organization here:

She is a visiting professor at New York University, and Distinguished Scholar at University of California, Berkley. She is the editor of a feminist journal for SAGE, Antyajaa: Indian Journal of Women and Social Change and two anthologies- River of Flesh & Other Stories and The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader. She has been presented the French L├ęgion honneur, an Emmy, and the Clinton Global Citizen, UN NGO CSW Woman of Distinction award. She dreams of a world in which no human being is bought or sold.

Links- Instagram | All other social media-


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of I KICK AND I FLY, US Only.

Ends May 6th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post

 Week Two:



Review/IG Post


The Bibliophilic World

Review/IG Post



IG Review


Lifestyle of Me



YA Books Central

Excerpt/IG Post


Cara North

Review/IG Post


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post

 Week Three:


Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Post


Author Z. Knight’s Guild

Review/IG Post



IG Review/LFL Drop Pic


Mythical Books

Excerpt/IG Post


Jazzy Book Reviews

Excerpt/IG Post

 Week Four:


Books and Kats



Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post


A Dream Within A Dream




IG Review



IG Review


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot


 Week Five:


More Books Please blog

Review/IG Post



IG Review


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic



IG Review



Review/IG Post



IG Review


Two Points of Interest


 Week Six:


Books with Brandie Shanae

YouTube Review/IG Post

No comments:

Post a Comment