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Bollywood Invasion - Ricardo Alexanders

The opening pages of Bollywood Invasion present what first appears to be an ordinary story of John Palmieri, a Brooklyn boy who is leading an average life until he's hit by a bus and awakens in another body as Raj Scindia, a prince living in India in 1958. He's suddenly wealthy, privileged, and living quite a different life from modern-day Brooklyn. Only his intense love for The Beatles has survived his transformation as he adapts to an entirely new culture and timeline; and it's that love which will lead to further changes because it's one he can't leave behind, in his old life. 

 

Driven by the possibilities of love and making a positive impact on his world, he finds the lyrics of the Beatles continue to direct his life, even though in this incarnation, they never existed. And when his choices bring everything he loves crashing into disaster ten years later, these songs and the values they instill in his new identity may be the only thing to link the former John's persona with Raj's struggle to survive. 

 

It would be all too easy to say that Bollywood Invasion is a timeslip novel that centers around a boy's struggle to regain his position and former world; but in actuality it's a saga of a struggle for identity that assumes a special level of complexity when two personas clash and their owner becomes lost between them. 

 

Is he living a lie, or dreaming? Which world is real; and which is his choice? As Raj becomes the incarnation of John Lennon in another place and time, bringing the messages of his future self into the past where they are received and interpreted with much enthusiasm and gusto, he also faces many conundrums, such as two women who love him and the dilemma of one of them being promised to another.

His reincarnation of the music of the 'Beetos' in this timestream leads to many changes as Ricardo Alexanders provides a satisfying focus on love, fame, complicated situations, and the values of Indian girls and the men who pursue them. 

 

The result is a complex and vivid story that leads Raj/John around the world and across time, probing the unexpected consequences of coming full circle with a story that challenges not only the protagonist's true identity, but the circumstances surrounding John Lennon's life, death, and own incongruities (“You wrote songs imagining no possessions but have millions of dollars and properties everywhere.”). 

 

Readers looking for timeslip sagas that go beyond the usual focus on finding a way back to finding the path to one's identity will relish the very different perspectives that make Bollywood Invasion an engrossing saga that excels in unexpected turns of plot.