Reading a book on the day of its release is a joy. If that book happens to be from your favourite author, all the more reason for you to smile like an idiot! Half Girlfriend took me through the journey of Madhav, rendering me into despair at his break-up, humouring me with his lines to trap Riya and what not. At the start of the book, I encountered a nagging feeling of Riya and Madhav being siblings when, in reality, one was trying to woo the other. This feeling refused to desert me halfway through the book. Chetan preaches a parallel plot hinting at rural India's forced and natural reluctance with learning English and another plot emphasizing the moral integrity of never quitting in the face of adversity. These two plots needed to be woven into the story because Madhav leaves Riya, halfway into the book and the story could not be left teetering on a precipice. The latter half is about the rise of Madhav from a hopeless Bihari graduate with a non-existent English oratory knowledge to transforming the standard of a run-down rural school, using his limited oratory knowledge of English. Thus, taking care of his work-life, he leaves for the United States to do the same of his personal life. His sojourn in the States is a drag, till when he encounters Riya on the penultimate day of his return back to India. The climax truly is heart-wrenching.
Based on the level of humour, this book is not Chetan's best. But otherwise, this is a must-read for all teenagers.