Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
Amrith comes to terms with his sexuality in this sweeping coming-of-age story set against the stormy backdrop of monsoon season in 1980s Sri Lanka. For fans of Call Me By Your Name.
Shyam Selvadurai’s brilliant novels, Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, have garnered him international acclaim. In his first young adult novel, now with a new cover, he explores first love with clarity, humor and compassion.
The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life “before,” when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith’s holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school’s production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky’s tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith’s ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.
About the author
Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. He has studied creative writing and theatre and has a B.F.A. from York University. His first novel, "Funny Boy", became a national bestseller, won the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award as well as the Lamda Literary Award, and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. His next novel, "Cinnamon Gardens", was shortlisted for the Trillium Award, and has been published in the United States, United Kingdom, India and across Europe. Selvadurai lives in Toronto.
- Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children (English)
"As lush and languid as its Sri Lanka setting...What captures readers is the way the story rolls in waves, mimicking how Amrith looks at himself, then looks away. The luxuriant language with details of architecture and verdant gardens doesn't call attention to itself, but refreshes like a breeze. Selvadurai, who wrote so gracefully for adults...now does the same for teens."
—Booklist, Starred Review