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Ellie Pillai is Brown

Written by Christine Pillainayagam

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Ellie Pillai is Brown Review

Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Funny Romance / Relationship Stories School Stories Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

This funny, heartfelt, true-to-life, coming-of-age page-turner fizzes with emotional energy and the power of music

May 2022 Debut of the Month

Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience.

Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind.

At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small.

Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

Ellie Pillai is Brown Synopsis

The perfect coming-of-age romance by the most spectacularly funny and original debut voice.

My name is Ellie. Ellie Pillai. And I suppose I am a little bit weird, but then, aren't we all, just a little bit?

Most days, Ellie Pillai is somewhere between invisible, and not very cool - and usually she's okay with that. But suddenly, Ellie feels different. Maybe it's the new boy at school who makes her brain explode into rainbows every time she sees him (and also happens to be going out with her best friend), or maybe it's her new drama teacher, the one who seems to have noticed she exists. Suddenly, her misfit style, her skin colour, her songwriting and all that getting lost in the music in her head seem to be okay too. Because maybe standing out isn't a bad thing after all.

Ellie Pillai is Brown Press Reviews

 'I adored this.' - Simon James Green, author of Alex in Wonderland

'I loved the fresh and original voice.' - Bookseller, Highlights of the Season

'A hilarious and heart-warming story.' - Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars

'Warm, funny and hopeful.' - A M Dassu, author of Boy, Everywhere

'A fresh, funny, feel-good story.' - Rashmi Sirdeshpande

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780571366910
Publication date: 05/05/2022
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571366910
Publication date: 5th May 2022
Author: Christine Pillainayagam
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 464 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Funny, Romance / Relationship Stories, School Stories, Personal Social Health Economic
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month
Collections: National Thank a Teacher Day is on 26th May!,

About Christine Pillainayagam

Christine Pillainayagam is a writer and retail strategist, who lives in North London with her young family and a collection of records, CD's and minidiscs (remember those?). A mild obsession with The Beatles and the desire to write a story that reflected her own experiences growing up as a first-generation immigrant, led her to put that love of music and words into a book. Ellie Pillai Is Brown is her debut novel. A singer and songwriter, she also writes a blog on her website. Photo copyright Charlotte Knee Photography

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