I found Sonia Patel‘s Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story (PGC Books, Cinco Puntos Press) beautiful, but also absolutely heartbreaking.

Each chapter offers a look at Jaya Mehta, a 17 year old who detests wealth, secrets and privilege although he has them all and Rasa Santos, a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity. Jaya is keeping a large secret from his traditional Gujarati Indian parents – he is transgender. Rasa, is the sold provider for her three younger siblings even before her mother left them. Rasa’s only inheritance is her mother’s beauty and trade – prostitution.

Neither have known real love, yet despite that both are absolutely amazing characters. Jaya is kind, generous and loyal. Rasa is the same. She has constantly put the needs of her siblings before herself and does everything she can to ensure they are safe and together.

The situations both teens find themselves as they struggle to survive are, sadly, common and my heart breaks for both.

Rasa’s situation, in particular, is disgusting, particularly as the first man who pays her for sex absolutely knew she was only 12. People revolt me.

Despite the heartbreaking nature of the story, it is a love story between Jaya and Rasa, Rasa and her siblings and Jaya and his friend, the one person who always stands behind him.

Much like the author, I also have enthusiasm and love for Jaya and Rasa and hope they found their happily ever after.

A copy of this book was provided by PGC Books for an honest review.                                    The opinions are my own.