Steeped in mystery and adventure, this brisk and beautifully crafted middle-grade debut set in modern-day India explores the complexities of the sibling bond.
When her older brother, Karthik—Kay-Kay, the golden child of the family—heads to camp for two weeks, Lena’s parents begin showering her with all the attention she craves. For a time, she’s the golden child and secretly wishes her brother wouldn’t come home. But when the scheduled train arrives and Karthik isn’t on it, Lena is stricken with guilt and fear for her beloved Kay-Kay. Her brother has vanished without a trace, and the police view him as a runaway. Incredulous, Lena undertakes a search of her own—reading mysterious poems left in his backpack, interrogating his fellows from the train, retracing his route, and encountering shadowy strangers along the way. Convinced Kay-Kay is still alive even when the rest of her family has given up, Lena steadily unearths her brother’s secrets as her determination to bring him home leads to a heart-stopping discovery. Perhaps Kay-Kay isn’t a golden child after all? Set in a vividly evoked modern-day India, this character-driven middle-grade mystery tackles rich themes—from the sibling bond to self-worth—in a taut and suspenseful adventure.
About the Author
Dev Kothari is a poet and writer who earned an MA in children’s writing from Bath Spa University. She grew up in India reading British mysteries and thrillers and now lives in England. Bringing Back Kay-Kayis her debut novel.
This is a feel-good, lyrical debut that I enjoyed immensely. Bringing Back Kay-Kay is the story of a girl who goes looking for her missing brother and finds him—and herself—in so many different ways. It’s a mystery, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a quest through various towns and trains in India, meeting many personalities and discovering that the truth is many-layered and steeped in love. Read it! —Nizrana Farook, author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant