The challenges and joys faced by a group of teens during their senior year of high school serve as the framework for Shreyasta N Samal’s novel, Daddy’s Little Warrior.
Zephyr is the narrator of this story, relating her friends’ experiences. Sophie wants to be a spy. When she is caught taking things from a teacher’s car, she faces disciplinary action; meanwhile, she has discovered that the teacher is selling drugs and cajoles her friends into helping her share evidence with the school board. Another friend, Isabel, is coping with her mother’s struggles with cancer. Friend Zoe’s adventure revolves around getting to know a certain boy.
As the story unfolds, the friends support each other, work through minor misunderstandings, tackle the drudgery of homework and develop new relationships. Zephyr also mentions two young men, Sasha and Ajax, whom she calls “the eccentrics, the crazy ones, the talk of the town…” Supporting characters, they play occasional practical jokes, enjoy video games and help Sophie.
Samal refers to the group as “modern day warriors.” In her introduction, she identifies the qualities needed to be a warrior, including courage, resilience, focus, perseverance and “connecting with your true self.” (Contrary to the title, there is no single “Daddy’s little warrior” here.)
While the idea of warriors is a potentially powerful one, the concept isn’t well developed here. As the kids party, attend school, and suddenly become adults with established roles, the warrior references disappear. Throughout, the narrative rambles, rather than offering a strong central conflict and powering toward a compelling climax. Also, the time element is confusing, and there is little character development. Without distinguishing qualities, the characters tend to blur together in a reader’s mind.
Finally, the work is overshadowed by numerous grammar errors, weak transitions, stilted and repetitive dialogue and missing words.
As a result of the aforementioned flaws, the story requires revision in order to reach an enthusiastic audience.