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Where the Rhythm Takes You (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sarah Dass is a young adult fiction author from Tobago that is best known for her debut work of fiction “Where the Rhythm Takes You.”
While she was born in Trinidad, her family moved to Tobago when she was two years old and she has been living there ever since. Dass has said that she has been telling stories ever since she was a child.

However, she never attempted to pen a story until she was about eight years old. This was the time when she had read all the “Nancy Drew” novels and began to pen her own.

Sarah Dass would later on go to University College London, from where she got her bachelor’s degree. She now works a day job as an office administrator during the day and spends her evenings and weekends writing her novels.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found taking walks with Stella her dachshund, or by the fireside reading her novels.

The inspiration for writing a novel based on “Persuasion” by Jane Austen came to Sarah Dass when she was conversing with her agent.
“Persuasion” has always been a novel that she loved and it did not hurt that she always loved second-chance romance tropes. As such, getting the chance at retelling such a story now based in Tobago was not something she could pass up.

It was important for Sarah to set the novel in Tobago since she was an avid reader but just could not find any novel she liked to read set there.
Tobago is a very small island that often feels very isolated from the world and sometimes she felt that maybe no one knew they existed.
In some ways, Sarah was writing the novel to hark back to her younger days, when she felt isolated and underrepresented in literature and media.
She found her inspiration in Jane Austen and from the many amazing black, indigenous, and other people of color young adult fiction she used to read.

Sarah Dass grew up in a seaside resort in Tobago and hence she draws a lot of inspiration from her experience living there.
Writing her debut novel, all she thought about was what type of book she would have wanted to read when she was growing up as a child.
In that regard, she wrote “Where the Rhythm Takes You” to help teenagers like her who can connect with the experiences of the characters in the work.
While “Persuasion” was clearly a huge influence in the writing of the novel, she has also been inspired by the works of other authors from the Caribbean.
She read Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land” when it came out and still reads it every few years. She likes how good the author is at creating intricate characters that one cannot help but be invested in.

She also likes Kereen Getten’s “When Life Gives You Mangoes,” and Ingrid Persaud’s “Love After Love.” She loves the latter it perfectly captures the dialect of Trinidad, which means it has the same motivations as her own work.

Sarah Dass’s novel “Where the Rhythm Takes You” is a beautiful story set on the beautiful island of Tobago. It is at the twin island where Reyna a seventeen-year-old girl is working with her father as they manage the Plumweria family resort.

She was still very young when her mother died and the man she believed was her soul mate takes some drastic action. He decides that he no longer wants to be a painter and the seventeen-year-old is left reeling.

She is going through a huge crisis as her very first boyfriend Aiden is leaving the Caribbean behind and going abroad to study music and embark on a new career. Things get worse when she learns that Aiden will be spending a few weeks at her family’s resort, which she is sure will be pretty uncomfortable.
Reyna and Aiden might have to either confront each other or avoid each other for the several weeks of his stay at the resort.

It is a brilliant work of fiction and Sarah Dass does a phenomenal job of taking readers back to the angst of teenage years. She writes convincingly about love, Tobago, and dealing with the ravages of teenage life and becoming a young adult.

Writing about the themes of mother-daughter relationships, love grief, and growing up, it is a brilliant take on life in Tobago, and most importantly shows that losing a soul mate is not the end of the world.

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