Publication Date: September 19, 2023
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Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7
Caught between two worlds—a poverty-stricken village and a fancy big-city school—a young Sri Lankan girl must decide who she really is and where she really belongs.
1998, Colombo. The Sri Lankan Civil War is raging, but everyday life must go on. At Kavi’s school, her friends talk about the weekly Top 40, the Backstreet Boys, Shahrukh Khan, Leo & Kate… and who died—or didn’t—in the latest bombing. But Kavi is afraid of something even scarier. She fears that if her friends discover her secret—that she is not who she is pretending to be—they’ll stop talking to her.
I want to be friends with these / happy, / fearless, / girls / who look like they / belong.
So I could also be / happy, / fearless, / and maybe even / belong.
Kavi’s scholarship to her elite new school was supposed to be everything she ever wanted, but as she tries to find some semblance of normalcy in a country on fire, nothing is going according to plan. In an effort to fit in with her wealthy, glittering, and self-assured new classmates, Kavi begins telling lies, trading her old life—where she’s a poor girl whose mother has chosen a new husband over her daughter—for a new one, where she’s rich, loved, and wanted. This dazzling novel-in-verse from an astonishing new talent introduces readers to a world rarely seen in middle grade, and stars a deeply moving everygirl each and every one of us can relate to.
That’s when it comes crashing down on me. / I have been spending all my time / since I came here / preparing for the / wrong / test.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
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