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Holiday House

I Am Kavi

I Am Kavi

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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 than war. 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. But how long can you pretend to be someone else?

This dazzling novel-in-verse comes from an astonishing new talent who lived through the civil war herself. Perfect for fans of Jamine Warga, Supriya Kelkar, and Rajani LaRocca, I Am Kavi centers a powerful South Asian voice, and stars an unforgettable heroine each and every one of us can relate to.

"KAVI'S COURAGE AND VOICE ARE NOT TO BE MISSED."--Reem Faruqi, award-winning author of Call Me Adnan, Unsettled, and Golden Girl

"I LOVED IT!"--Nizrana Farook, award-winning author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

"POWERFULLY WRITTEN."--Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author of Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner Torch

"LUSH AND EVOCATIVE... A STUNNING DEBUT."--Kate Albus, award-winning author of A Place to Hang the Moon

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
An Indies Introduce Selection

Author: Thushanthi Ponweera
Publisher: Holiday House
Published: 09/19/2023
Pages: 272
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.70lbs
Size: 8.10h x 5.70w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9780823453658
Audience: Ages 9-12

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 07/24/2023
Kirkus Reviews 08/01/2023
Horn Book Magazine 09/01/2023 pg. 79
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 09/01/2023 - Book Of Special Distinction
Booklist 09/15/2023 pg. 48

About the Author
Thushanthi Ponweera is an author and poet from Sri Lanka. Before daring to follow her dream of being published, she was a marketing specialist and entreprenuer. Her writing reflects the frustration she feels at the inequality and injustice she sees around her, and also the deep love she feels for her island home. She currently lives in Colombo with her husband and two children.

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