Muna’s always had the feeling that perhaps she was born into the wrong family, or at least the wrong half of her family. She’s a quiet math geek who hides under the hood of her sweatshirt. Her American mom is a non-stop talker who works for a fair-trade tea company in rural Maine. And her father? All Muna knows is he’s South Indian, from Tamil Nadu, where Muna lived until she was a month old. Her mom refuses to tell her anything more about their past.
But then Muna turns sixteen and starts having orange-tinted nightmares set in India. There’s always a man (her father?), a lakeside temple, and children dressed in lotus crowns. In every dream something is terribly wrong—people are about to die, the town will be flooded—and only Muna can save them. Muna decides her father needs her—the haunting dreams are calling her to India—but as a lover of numbers and probability, she knows all too well that the odds of finding her dad are slim to none.
After writing 28 letters pleading for a scholarship, Muna wins acceptance for her senior year to an international boarding school in Kurinji, the magical Indian mountaintop town where she suspects her father grew up. Here Muna finds friends and acceptance, discovers the man she believes to be her father, applies her math skills as a fair-trade tea activist, and experiences first love. But in Kurinji Muna’s orange-tinted dreams also come alive with disturbing connections to the town’s origin story: a story wrapped up in the whims of the Hindu sun god, a flower that blooms only every twelfth year, and the mysterious children from her nightmares.