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by Shyam Selvadurai


School Library Journal:

Gr 9 Up– In Sri Lanka in 1980, 14-year-old Amrith is forced to confront his feelings about his birth family when Niresh, a cousin from Canada, visits. He falls in love with the boy, jealously refusing to share him with his adoptive sisters, in spite of their obvious interest. Amrith is a gentle, innocent boy from an anglicized and privileged world of private school, country club, and numerous servants, so readers will be surprised at the intensity evoked by his first sexual feelings. Mirroring the rage of Othello, the play his school is producing, he almost causes a tragedy before coming to terms with his anger at his family and his own sense of difference. The arc of this sensitive coming-of-age story moves slowly but inexorably to its breaking point, lingering over details of Sri Lankan  life. Thunderous monsoon storms set the mood and detailed descriptions of the landscape, architecture, and food provide the backdrop. The author’s affection for the country of his childhood is evident in this sympathetic and insightful look at first love.–Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD –Kathleen Isaacs (Reviewed November 1, 2005) (School Library Journal, vol 5, issue 11, p147)


  • Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canadian Book  Award
  • Lambda Literary Awards: Young Adult-Children’s
  • Rainbow Lists – Middle/Early Young Adult Fiction: 2008
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2007


10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 9th Grade, Family, LGBTQ, Teen