Tina Athaide

Orange for the Sunsets

From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home.

Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again.

Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall.

But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game.

Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship.

Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

2019 Library Guild Selection

A 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection!



Tina Athaide has tapped deep wells of friendship and family in this story set against the chaotic ferment of Uganda in 1972. Hostage to uncontrollable forces of dictatorship and political turmoil, Asha and Yesofu are heroes for our own century, eloquent voices in the face of racism and nativism.

Uma Krishnaswami, author of Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh and other books for young readers

[T]his novel is timely, addressing the human complexity of literal borders and figurative walls and lives that are irrevocably and heartbreakingly changed in crises.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A heartbreaking and resonant tale.

Horn Book

Athaide, who was born in Uganda and lived there until her family left just before the expulsion, excellently captures how Amin’s plan affected individuals in complex and heart-wrenching ways. A moving story about the power and limits of friendship.

ALA Booklist

Set during one of the most turbulent times in Uganda’s history, Tina Athaide’s debut novel deftly navigates the transcending bonds of friendship against the upheaval, shifting alliances, and brutality of Idi Amin’s reign. Fascinating and beautiful, Orange for the Sunsets is hard to put down and hard to forget.

Kashmira Sheth, author of Boys Without Names

This compassionate novel conveys the multiple injustices and tragedies experienced by both African and Indian Ugandans during this period, and the power of friendship to sustain hope in tumultuous times.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Athaide’s debut competently tackles the tough topics of colonialism and refugee crises… questions that are still relevant in today’s world. A timely addition to middle grade shelves in need of non-Western historical fiction… a strong companion to Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary and A.L. Sonnichsen’s Red Butterfly.

School Library Journal

Orange for the Sunsets remains an illuminating and accessible read that questions truth, power, allegiance, and, above all, friendship in the face of populism and nativism. 

The Quill and Quire