Release date: November 2, 2021

"It's impossible not to be hypnotized." - New York Times

"The richness of this story will take hold of you and never let go.” - Roxane Gay

"Incandescent." - Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review


Traveling from the ashrams of India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and examines the need for belief in a fractured world.

In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child's blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. 
 
Kalki is confronted with three trials in his tenth year—tests of his power that will prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. Over the next decade, as the story of his family unravels, his relationship to everyone—his dominating father, his beloved cousin, his cancer-stricken aunt, and the young woman he imagines he will marry—threatens to fall apart. At once a personal tale of youthful searching, and a magisterial, continent spanning tour-de-force, Blue-Skinned Gods is unwaveringly honest and heartbreaking, a powerful novel told through the eyes of a wonderfully winning and idiosyncratic protagonist.


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Reviews

"It is impossible not to be hypnotized...Sindu masterfully renders how our environments bake into our skin." - New York Times [Read full review]

"The imagery is vivid—'my body a colony of ants puttering in all directions'—and the slow-burn narrative by the end becomes incandescent. Sindu’s stunning effort more than delivers on her initial promise." - Publisher's Weekly [Read full review]

"Blue Skinned Gods is a rich, beautifully told and moving examination of the allure of superstition and legend, the pains of growing up and the pitfalls of lying to others and lying to yourself." - The Guardian/Observer [Read full review - SPOILERS]

"Remarkably moving in its explorations of faith, doubt, and what it might mean to be a charlatan." - Kirkus [Read full review]

"Blue-Skinned Gods is a thought-provoking book about faith and belief, the lengths that we go to, and the reasons we use to justify our actions that control someone who does not know any better." - The Nerd Daily [Read full review]

"The novel’s abrupt turns gain frequency with each book, down to the last page and the final twist. Sindu’s applied cultural knowledge and careful character-building makes each surprise believable without being predictable. Every oddity has an explanation, and societal issues left unaddressed in childhood come back around for an older, wiser Kalki to consider." - Associated Press [Read full review]

"Sindu is at her inventive best." - Star Tribune [Read full review]

"An exciting journey that lovingly explores the nature of chosen families." - Book Page [Read full review]

"Blue-Skinned Gods is a great read for those who look for great character development, enjoy familial conflict, and won’t mind wrestling with some of humanity’s grittier issues." - American Library Association [Read full review]

Praise for Blue-Skinned Gods

“SJ Sindu has written another brilliant novel in Blue-Skinned Gods. This time, she tells the story of a boy with blue skin who is trying to be the god everyone tells him he is . . . Here is a novel about the bonds between brothers, a deceptive tyrant and son, a mother who doesn’t know how to save herself or her child, a boy and how he yearns for his young loves, and so much more. The richness of this story will take hold of you and never let go.”
—Roxane Gay

“Sj Sindu has given us a true gift in Kalki Sami and his journey. A coming-of-age story wielding philosophical, historical, and emotional moments full of passion, vividly described, Blue-Skinned Gods is one of the most original and beautiful novels I’ve read in a long time.”
—Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking and The Removed

Blue-Skinned Gods is a marvel of a novel. S.J. Sindu has created a cast of characters so compelling it was difficult to set the book down. I was enraptured by the careful twining of these lives: a manipulative father, a mother who loves her son to the point of agony, the joy and despair of tender first love, the pressure of knowing your destiny and the devastation of losing everything at once. It is a true joy to encounter a book so beautifully written. The prose is lush and stunning, the narrative wildly gripping. Sindu is a phenomenal writer and Blue-Skinned Gods is a treasure.”
—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

“This marvelous novel offers up the most extraordinary circumstance in which to live a life. It delivers everything I didn’t know I desperately wanted: snake bites, ink baths, god-energy, gurus, post-punk music, viral videos, redemption, and an unforgettable character asking all the big questions. What am I and what am I capable of? In the asking comes revelations on the nature of love, power in friendship, weight of dogma, and the visceral seeping together of diverse cultures. These pages left me with the best case of culture shock, and in awe over Sindu’s storytelling talent.”
—Devin Murphy, national bestselling author of The Boat Runner and Tiny Americans

Blue-Skinned Gods is a memorable and vivid coming-of-age story that feels timely in its pursuit of exploring the meaning of truth and how we know what to believe about ourselves and others. Kalki’s journey from an isolated ashram in India to the kaleidoscope of New York City's clubs and streets is captivating. This is a wonderful book about family, friendship, and miracles.”
—Elise Hooper, author of Fast Girls, Learning to See, and The Other Alcott

“With Blue-Skinned Gods, SJ Sindu has written an epic in every sense of the word: the amazing life and times of Kalki Sami, the boy born with blue skin and the power to heal, reads like an instant classic. Sindu has proven herself, yet again, to be a master storyteller—Blue-Skinned Gods is thrilling, remarkable, and totally irresistible. You won’t be able to put it down.”
Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer and Sweet & Low

“Blue-Skinned Gods is a gorgeously atmospheric journey of faith and doubt—and ultimately, of finding one's sense of self after a lifetime of performing for others. With exquisite prose, SJ Sindu, one of our finest storytellers, explores the entanglements of Eastern spirituality and globalism, family and trauma, gender and sexuality, in a compulsively readable and emotionally charged tale.”
—Patrick Cottrell, Whiting Award winner and author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

“Blue-Skinned Gods is beautifully rendered, a profound story about faith - in others, and in oneself - and manipulation. Here, a boy may or may not be the reincarnation of a God, and his quest to understand himself, and his responsibility to those around him, is utterly compelling. It is a story about miracles, both of the world we inhabit and the ordinary, flawed, spectacular people we inhabit it with, as we find that the greatest miracles might come from the friendships that help us become who we really are.”
Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman