Chaya, a nobleman’s rebellious, outspoken, no-nonsense daughter, just can’t resist the shiny temptations the king’s palace has to offer. But playing Robin Hood for her impoverished community doesn’t come without risks, and when Chaya steals the queen’s jewels from a bedside table—a messy getaway jeopardizes the life of a close friend. After an equally haphazard prison break, Chaya barely escapes on the king’s prized elephant! With leeches and revolution lurking in the jungle, Chaya leads her companions on a thrilling adventure. After leaving her village as a thief, can she return as a hero? Or will Chaya’s sticky fingers be the beginning—or the end—of everything for the intrepid gang?


My Take: A fast-paced plot that tugs for you to keep reading. The first line is only a hint at what’s to come:

Chaya looked at the bronze spear pointing at her neck.

Her Robin Hood ways and an in your face attitude make Chaya a rather unlikable heroine at first. Don’t despair, her fierce, tough minded ways will soon win you over. The Sri Lankan setting is also a plus.

The trek is exciting with plot twists at every turn. You’ll be rooting for Chaya to put the King out of office and return her town to a place the citizens don’t fear. Her friend Neel is along for the ride as is Nour. They both have their own distinct personalities that create conflict with Chaya The jungle is a scary place and the perfect backdrop for this adventurous tale.

A fantastic debut in this thrilling ride.



  1. 48 chapters make this a great read-aloud. Children at home or students in the classroom will be on the edge of their seats.
  2. You learn about jungle plants and wildlife. Made me want to stay in the suburbs.
  3. The cultural diversity and the fact that despite their heroic attempts, Chaya and her friends acted like real kids.
  4. Great character arcs. The flaws of each eventually bring change and understanding.
  5. The Sri Lanka locale is one I’ve never seen used in a middle grade book. Such a place of intrigue!

Visit Peachtree Publishing to order your own copy.


Nizrana Farook was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the beautiful landscapes of her home country find their way into the stories she writes. She has a master’s degree in writing for young people, and lives in Hertfordshire, England with her husband and two daughters.

I received an ARC for my honest review. Please leave a comment below.

**ALWAYS in the MIDDLE has bunches of features and reviews to share this month. Hurry back on Wednesday for my Book Blast stop starring IT’S A NUMBER’S GAME. BASEBALL!**

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. That is a great first line. I like the idea of a girl as a Robin Hood figure. Thanks for sharing this one with us.

  2. donnagalanti says:

    What a fun and intriguing read! I love this whole spin on Robin Hood with a whole different world. 🙂

  3. The title and the elephant drew me to this story. It sounds like it would be a thrilling read for MG readers. I haven’t seen any books about Sri Lanka. That also adds to the intrigue! Thanks for sharing!

  4. K.A. Cummins says:

    What a great first line! It’s attention-grabbing. And I agree, I really like the idea of this reimagined version of robin hood.

  5. The title alone would make me take this book out and read. You make it sound like it is well worth the time. Thanks for your review.

  6. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like such a great book! Chaya sounds like a layered protagonist, and I’m always glad to see new cultures being featured in MG books. The cover is also beautiful! Thanks for the great review!

  7. Ooh, this sounds interesting. Yes, the Sri Lankan setting is a hook, as is the elephant on the front cover!

  8. I loved this one! Wondering–would you classify it as fantasy (because it’s an alternate Sri Lanka) or realistic fiction (because there aren’t actually any fantasy elements)?

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