Faber has bought two books in Christine Pillainayagam's debut YA series, billed as a "fresh, original and incredibly funny" high school romance and coming-of-age story that "perfectly encapsulates the British secondary school experience".
Publisher Leah Thaxton acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Thérèse Coen at Hardman & Swainson. Ellie Pillai is Brown will be published on 5th May 2022 and the sequel, Ellie Pillai in Love, will follow in spring 2023.
The synopsis reads: "Ellie Pillai, a 15-year-old girl, is trying 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. She’s just 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 in a very real, very modern way."
Thaxton said: "This is a spectacular, funny YA debut about a 15-year-old girl wrestling to work out who she is, who she loves and everything in between. It’s as addictive as a frothy summer read, but packed with big themes deftly handled with intelligence and nuance. Christine Pillainayagam is a name to watch – and a star of the future – this was not a book we were prepared to lose!"
Pillainayagam commented: "Ellie Pillai is Brown is the book I wish I’d had when I was growing up. A book about a brown girl straddling two cultures, but never feeling she quite fits into either – a book that says it's okay to not fit in, to be the girl with the occasionally bad hair and proper thighs, who makes her own rules about who she is and who she wants to be. This book reflects my own teenage obsession with music and features a soundtrack of original songs by Ellie (via me!) coming to a streaming platform near you soon... I can’t wait to share the singing, possibly-not-so-good-at dancing Ellie with the world, alongside my dream team at Faber."