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My Life As A Chameleon

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472156150

Price: £8.99

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‘A vivid and tender portrait’ Suzi Feay, Financial Times

‘Beautiful and immersive. I was completely absorbed’ Andreina Cordani

‘Exceptional . . . A story of empowerment, bravery and courage’ J P Rose


Tender, melancholic, and effortless, Diana Anyakwo writes with a deceptively simple yet steady voice which immediately draws readers into Lily’s rose-colored world . . . A gorgeous tale that leaves you wanting to hug the protagonist and assure her of a lifetime of tender moments’ Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström, international bestselling author of IN EVERY MIRROR SHE’S BLACK

Lily is a sixteen-year-old living in Manchester. It is nearly five years since her father’s death, and she is soon to return to her birthplace in Nigeria to reunite with her mother and siblings for the anniversary. As cold rain thunders on the streets of Moss Side she looks back over her young life and wonders . . . how did she get here?

As a young girl in Lagos, Lily is the baby of her large family. The daughter of a Nigerian father and Irish mother, she lives in a dual reality: one where moments of bright colour and tenderness exist alongside a sense of danger just beneath the surface of her apparently idyllic life. This is a tension that nobody dares speak out loud and it teaches Lily an early lesson: always blend in, always play the right part.

But the truth cannot stay hidden forever. Things in Lagos itself, and within her family, soon reach breaking point. As her city and her family implode into chaos around her, and at school her skin colour marks her out from the crowd, Lily struggles to know how to blend in. And when her mother sends her away to school in England, Lily’s sense of identity is challenged in even more painful ways.

My Life as a Chameleon is a powerful story of resilience and belonging, about family secrets and how they can destroy even the deepest bonds. It is a story about finding your place in the world and realising you deserve to be there.

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Reviews

A vivid and tender portrait
Suzi Feay, Financial Times, 'Best Books of the Summer'
Tender, melancholic, and effortless, Diana Anyakwo writes with a deceptively simple yet steady voice which immediately draws readers into Lily's rose-colored world. We navigate alongside her through the shattering of those innocent lenses as she discovers with each experience the complexities of life in this beautiful coming-of-age story. A gorgeous tale that leaves you wanting to hug the protagonist and assure her of a lifetime of tender moments
Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström, international bestselling author of IN EVERY MIRROR SHE'S BLACK
My Life as a Chameleon is a powerful story of resilience and belonging, about family secrets and how they can destroy even the deepest bonds. It is a story about finding your place in the world and realising you deserve to be there
Tamika Mitchell, The British Blacklist
What a lovely view of life Diana Anyakwo created through Lily's innocence as she tries fathoming out the adult world and how she fits into it . . . I'm bereft that it's over
Eva Verde, author of Lives Like Mine
It's written so thoughtfully, and we cheer on Lily as she works out who she is. The descriptions of the heat and bustle of Lagos and 1980s dreary Manchester are excellent; they stay with you as you think about her life
Alison Palmer, Director of Book Clubs in Schools
My Life As A Chameleon is a beautifully written book, an exceptional debut which captures the reader from the beginning and doesn't let go until the very end. It's a journey of both hope and despair, a story of empowerment, of self discovery, bravery and courage in the face of family trauma and emotional turmoil. Diana Anyakwo writes so exquisitely and the narrative voice is so accomplished, it's hard to believe that this emotionally charged book is a debut. Diana is certainly an exciting and welcome new voice in the YA world
J P Rose, author of The Haunting of Tyrese Walker
Brutally authentic, tenderly honest, Diana Anyakwo lays bare the struggle of belonging and unbelonging. My Life As a Chameleon is YA at its finest
Nikki May, author of WAHALA
Diana Anyakwo's beautiful writing captures those granular everyday details of growing up, of navigating friendships, learning to feel comfortable in your skin and finding your own voice. My Life As A Chameleon is immersive - I was completely absorbed from the moment I opened the book
Andreina Cordani
This is a powerful, introspective and engaging book that will pull on your heart strings. It's for anyone who's felt lonely, misunderstood or out of place
Afua Hagan, The British Blacklist
Lily's resilience and spirit shines through in this complicated depiction of family relationships. A quietly powerful debut from Irish-Nigerian author Diana Anyakwo that would appeal to fans of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, here's hoping for more from this talented new voice
Children's Books Ireland
In My Life as a Chameleon, Lily grows up in the sweetly painful world of 1980s Nigeria. Diana Anyakwo handles both the tender and the heart-wrenching with virtuosity. In her hands, Lily becomes a powerful young woman
Ayesha Harruna Attah