Kid’s Book Review: Ellie Pillai is Brown

Kid’s Book Review: Ellie Pillai is Brown

About the Book and Author

In May readers will get the chance to meet Ellie Pillai. This debut novel by Christine Pillainayagam is described as ‘a classic high school romance 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’. It is published by Faber & Faber.

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, 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
Christine Pillainayagam

Christine Pillainayagam is a writer and retail strategist, who lives 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 first novel.

Book Review

It’s one of those books that you just want to finish because you know you will love the ending

My first impression of this book was that it was very long. It may be long, but every page is worth reading and nothing is unnecessary. The way it is written makes it easy reading but it’s one of those books that you just want to finish because you know you will love the ending.

One thing I really liked about Christine Pillainayagam’s book was the characters. They are instantly likeable, and they were all interesting in their own ways. Each character had their own personality and qualities that made them memorable which meant that even as I write this review a week after reading the book, I still remember the characters in it.

This story follows Ellie as she tries to find her way through her first love and her GCSE year. It’s a coming of age story that shows a girl struggle through the normal aspects of any 15 year olds life and is a great story that fills you with enjoyment as you read it .

I would recommend this book to twelve/thirteen year olds because of some of the events in the book being for older readers.

Another thing I liked was how the characters in the book weren’t too different from the people in my normal life which made the book more enjoyable and realistic. I could imagine the situations more because I felt like the characters represented certain people I know.

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Isabelle
  • Age: 13 years
  • Likes: football, art and writing
  • Dislikes: mushroom and Star Wars
  • Favourite Book: Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke
  • Favourite Song: Blank Space by Taylor Swift
  • Favourite Film: Legally Blonde