Bringing Back Kay-Kay

Publisher: Walker Books

When Lena’s older brother Kay-Kay doesn’t return from summer camp, Lena knows she must find him.

The police think he’s run away, and the other boys don’t know why he disappeared from the train. Lena’s parents are overcome with grief, and trust the police will find him. But Lena believes one school friend knows more than he’s letting on. And she knows her brother wouldn’t run away.

So she sets out to investigate – and discovers that Kay-Kay has been keeping secrets. Her quest will take her across India in a train, and into the past. Can Lena find her beloved brother? 

This mystery story, set in contemporary India, is both gripping and emotional. Lena has always felt like the lesser child compared to her ‘perfect’ brother, and complicated sibling and parent-child relationships are explored in a compelling way here. Meanwhile, Kay-Kay feels the weight of his parents’ expectations – another theme – and pours out his feelings in poetry. The value of having a voice is key to this plot, as is the value of the arts.

It is an accomplished debut novel – finely balanced between action and emotion. This would provide lots of talking points as a class reader for upper primary.  

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