PLOT: 3/5

Stretching over a length of 239 pages, The Disappointing 5 is a coming of age tale of two young adult groups who study in St. Xavier’s High School.

The book opens with the portraits of five characters with their names written below the images. This immediately strikes a sense of familiarity with the reader along with serving two more purposes. It helps to make the plot relatable and character-centric and also helps in visualizing the characters in their groove through the different scenes.

The plot opens with the reader being introduced to Akash Malhotra who is a final year student at St. Xavier’s High School. He is not a morning person and struggles to get up on time for school which seems to him as a hell hole. Next, the reader is introduced to Dhruv Kapoor, his best friend. Dhruv is said to be a typical jock at 6 feet 1 inch, the best sportsman in school, and a heartthrob.

Added to this dysfunctional pair is Sunaya Mahapatra who is said to be the mother hen of the trio. She is always prim and proper and the apple of every teacher’s eye. They are the three best friends who form a group. They are neither the top scorers nor the failures in school.

In contrast, there is Bindya Shah. She is said to be the sexiest, richest, and most popular girl in school. Lastly comes Robin Alberto, the tall dark handsome best friend of Bindya. These comprise the disappointing 5 in the eyes of others in some or the other way. However, they each have their own skills and talents. While others’ opinions and views about them do make them feel low at times,the beauty of these characters is that they don’t allow their individuality to be squashed.

These characters are built through dialogues and most of these are rounded characters who develop slowly as the plot intensifies. The adults mostly comprise of their teachers, and parents serve as foil characters from time to time. The depth of the characters unfolds with time and different shades of their personalities come out with the flow of the plot which moves in a chronological manner. There are too many dialogue exchanges and this gives a sort of play like feel to the novel.

The language is easy to follow and flows with a moderate pace of the plot which picks on momentum after the first few pages. Nonetheless, the pace is a bit jumpy due to the episodic nature of the plot. The language is descriptive but not over-elaborate. The dialogue pattern feels like reading a script of a movie or telefilm. Needless to state, The Disappointing 5 can be easily adapted into one.

Much like any work of fiction that can be commercialized, it contains words that may be inappropriate for younger audiences. There are swear words on the back cover of the book, making the book rather rough, harsh, and rude. There is a lot of dark humor on the whole though, in certain instances, the raunchy jokes can get a tad bit silly. But it adds to the relatability factor of the plot for teens.

Nonetheless, the climax is enriched with the interspersed humor that is worth a giggle or two. The humor represents the quirky thought process of the teenagers whose whole world is within the boundaries of the school campus, while all along they are under the impression that being out of school will mean a lot of freedom. They confuse adulthood with a sense of carefree attitude without recognizing the responsibilities that come along with being an adult.

The novel does not leave it at that. It is bound to make the teens realize their misconceptions about growing up and the darkness of the big bad world out there where danger lurks in every corner. This is what sets the novel apart from the first impressions of it that give Karan Johar’s Student of the Year feels.

It is the angle of realism through the introduction of the child trafficking angle in New Dwarka that makes the characters more down to earth and serves as an eye-opening experience.

On the whole, the book is to be experienced for its thrilling effects as characters keep getting in and out of trouble. There are slight grammatical and frequent printing/ spelling errors that need to be edited. The book will be suitable for lovers of Young Adult adventure thrillers.

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