‘Are you a boy or a girl?’
Sami should be used to this question, but it still turns her insides to ice. And there will be a lot more for her to face when Ma and she move back to Chandnisarai, a place where she was once viciously bullied.
But the town wrong-foots her from the get-go. Her new school doesn’t insist on skirts and, after some initial curiosity, her classmates are indifferent to her severe buzzcut. Sami finds refuge in the cricket club by day and discovers a whole new world of streaming television by night. She even makes friends: the level-headed Laila, the fun-loving Murad, the mysterious Vidhi, and—online—the nameless Gaybe.
As Sami starts to be lulled into a sense of ease, however, old secrets and forgotten memories resurface. She must make a choice, but in doing so, will she lose the friendships that are her lifelines?
An irresistible coming-of-age story of a gay teen in modern India.
(Red Panda, 2021)