When I was young I read the usual things starting with Enid Blyton, then Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket etc etc. Basically I didnt read any Sri Lankan authors as a child. Heck! I didn't even read Indian authors. So when I picked up Mythil's Secret at the book fair for my neice, I intended to do a quick read and then give it to her, and guess what? I am getting another one for her, this one is mine. OK, so I loved the book and yes its a children's book but it is intelligent, it respects the child and therefore it is a cute read for adults as well. Mythil's Secret is about yakas and a little boy who realises he has the gift of seeing them. Prashani Rambukwella didn't write a sweet idyllic all is well with the world story for children, what she did was to create a world that balances real life (fighting parents and worries about money) with the fantasy world of the yakas. OK, so there are good yakas and bad yakas, there are strong yakas and weak yakas, there is a bahirawaya who is cool to die! There are yakas who impersonate humans and then there is Mythil. The unlikely hero, who is an only child who worries obsessively about his parents fighting and is aware of their money problems. Such a welcome relief from the spoilt brats you generally see around (take a look at my neice's classmates!) One holiday when Mythil is dumped at his Aachie's who lives in a village near a little forest, he realises that he can see into another world. Thus begins the adventure. Soon Mythil is seeing everyone as a yaka. The beauty of this story, though perhaps its only adults who may realise it, is that it could be that Mythil because of his family problems is retreating into a fantasy world. Even his parents think so and thus enters a child psychologist to counsel Mythil. But Mythil is suspicious of her, she could be a yaka, her friends could be yakas, who can he trust. The nice thing about this book is that it is a book that any child can relate to. Ok, so I am not the horrible aunt you think I am, I did give my neice her book and asked her what she thought. Her verbal skills are not that advanced as her aunt's obviously because she said it was "Cool!" For me 'cool' is good. It means that she didnt wrinkle her nose and go: "What a lame book, how goday." Then she tells me that some of her other friends from other schools (not her posh school mind you) are doing Mythil's secret as a school text. Hurrah! If only we had such interesting school texts I might have paid attention. Right now, I cannot remember a single school text that I did. Just goes to show. Anyway, Mythil's Secret in my books is a winner - and of course how could I forget, it did win the Gratiaen early this year. So even other people thought so.