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ELLIE PILLAI IS BROWN is a classic high school romance and coming of age story about a 15-year-old girl just trying to work out who she is, like every other 15-year-old the world over – but being brown in a predominantly white town means Ellie is also hyperaware of her colour and how that feeds into her sense of identity. Christine Pillainayagam tackles these issues in a very real and very modern way.

In a school in the east of England, Ellie is sitting her GCSEs, carefully perfecting the art of invisibility when a set of twins arrive, turning her life, and that of her best friend, upside down… Ellie has to navigate friendship, first love, strict parents, an over-dramatic personality, secrets and many, many misunderstandings, to find out who she really is and what she wants from life. Ellie needs to work out that being different should be celebrated and not hidden behind a wall. All with a splash of music and lots of laughs.

This book was written for all those girls who grew up feeling that they could never be a princess or the heroine of a story, because all the princesses have always been white. Not brown, not chubby, not with a dyed-blonde moustache, a monobrow or an unhealthy obsession with music. Teenagers struggle with this feeling of otherness all over the world. The feeling of not quite fitting in, of never seeing a version of yourself out in the world, that truly represents your story, or at least a version of what your story could be. This is that story, for the forgotten girl. The one that doesn’t believe she deserves it, who doesn’t see how special she is, how amazing, how she is going to grow out of high school, and life is going to happen, regardless of the circumference of her thighs.