Publishers Weekly, starred review

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Absorbing and intoxicating … sure to leave a lasting impression”

USA Today

USA Today

“Compelling and witty … gives voice to a new generation of Americans.
A rare and daring portrayal”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A breathtaking experience”

Sunday Times (Times of London), Book of the Week

Sunday Times (Times of London), Book of the Week

“Romantic, absorbing, thoughtful and original, this is a book to lose yourself in.”



“Finally, a book about me: [Heroine] Dimple Lala’s path will resonate with readers of all ages and ethnicities."



Tanuja Desai Hidier broke new ground in 2002 with her literary debut Born Confused — the first ever South Asian American coming-of-age story. Recently hailed by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Paste Magazine as one of the best young adult novels of all time (on lists including such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, the Harry Potter series, and Little Women), Born Confused gave voice to a new multicultural generation. Born Confused was also named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (and is still on its top ten Popular Paperbacks list), a Kirkus Reviews star pick, a Publishers Weekly boxed and starred pick, a Larry King / CNN pick of the week, a Sunday Times (Times of London) book of the week, a Financial Times Magazine (FT London) best summer tales pick, a Refinery29 top 10 pick for ‘the next Harry Potter’ novels to turn into films,  a Bookriot top 7 YA novels to turn to film/a TV series, an NPR Weekend Edition Sunday summer reading series pickand a Sugarscape Top 10 pick

Set largely in the context of New York City’s Bhangra / Asian Underground club scene, Born Confused follows Indian-American heroine Dimple Lala through a summer that turns her world on its head.

Dimple Lala doesn’t know what to think. She’s spent her whole life resisting her parents’ traditions. But now she’s turning seventeen and things are more complicated than ever. She’s still recovering from a year-old break-up and her best friend isn’t around the way she used to be. Then, to make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a “suitable boy.” Of course, it doesn’t go well … until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web of words and music. Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue.

This is a story about finding yourself, finding your friends, finding love, and finding your culture — sometimes where you least expect it.

The heart of Born Confused is about learning how to bring two cultures together without falling apart yourself in the process. (The book takes its title from ABCD, or American Born Confused Desi, a term used to describe these second and third generation South Asians who are supposedly “confused” about where their roots lie—and on one level is a journey towards clarity, turning that C for Confused into a C for Creative).

Born Confused has been translated into Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Italian, German, and various South Asian languages. The book is included in numerous university and high school curriculums worldwide and was exhibited at the Queens Museum of Art as part of the Her Stories: Fifteen Years of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective exhibition. The audiobook is available through Blackstone Audio, and Tanuja has adapted the novel into a screenplay.

When We Were Twins, Desai Hidier’s album of original songs based on Born Confused, was featured in Wired Magazine for being the first-ever “booktrack” Wired deemed it “… reminiscent of Alanis Morissette … [the music] reflects the clash of styles, sounds, and influences inherent to cultural assimilation and urban living”.

Tanuja’s award-winning sequel Bombay Blues and accompanying album Bombay Spleen are out now.

Bombay Blues (and the new edition of Born Confused) and Bombay Spleen launched in the USA in August 2014 with Tanuja’s presentation at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., followed by the official book/album release party at NYC’s (le) Poisson Rouge. The books and album released in India in January 2015 with Tanuja’s appearance on both the book and music stages at the Zee/Jaipur Literature Festival. The official Bombay Blues book/album release party (presented by The Solo Session and connecting music, art, literature) was held at Café Zoe in Mumbai on January 29, 2015, and was a Mumbai Mirror pick of the day.

Buy the Book


Hear Tanuja read an excerpt.

Now available at Bombay Blues Bandra hotspots Kulture Shop & the Bagel Shop!

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

USA Reprint Edition Publication Date: April 29, 2014
(original release October 1, 2002)

ISBN-10: 0545664519
ISBN-13: 978-0545664516

India Release: January 21, 2015

Scholastic: ISBN: 978-93-5103-374-5

Press enquiries / Events bookings:

Scholastic USA: Charisse Meloto, | +1 212-389-3785

Scholastic INDIA: Shantanu Duttagupta, | +91 981-077-9837