Book Reviews: Adolescent Literature

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai

When Amrith’s parents die under suspicious circumstances, he goes to live with his mother’s childhood friend. There, he grows up as part of a privileged family in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. When his Canadian cousin comes to visit, Amrith’s world changes dramatically which forces Amrith to come to terms with his past and his own true identity.

This book has been beautifully written, and Shyam Selvadurai has provided just enough detail for the reader to temporarily exist alongside Amrith in his faraway world without being lost in convoluted descriptions. And if you listen closely enough you can hear Selvadurai’s lilting voice with each turn of the page.

Although written for young adults, this novel reads more like a work of adult fiction. This is not to say it is unsuitable for younger readers, rather they would need to be able to appreciate the slower pace of this novel which favours vivid and beautiful descriptions over fast-paced action.

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