It is especially nice to be asked to review a book.
I still have to pinch myself (even though I’ve been getting review-copies for a year) that people want to know what I think. They want me to promote their books. WELL HUZZAH AND CAKE ALL ROUND!
And there is a giveaway at the end of this post! Because it is a fabulous day!
Thank you Black Inc. Books for the review-copy! Nona And Me by Clare Atkins hit shelves in October, 2014.
Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.
They are also best friends. It doesn’t matter that Rosie is white and Nona is Aboriginal: their family connections tie them together for life.
Born just five days apart in a remote corner of the Northern Territory, the girls are inseperable, until Nona moves away at the age of nine. By the time she returns, they’re in Year 10 and things have changed. Rosie has lost interest in the community, preferring to hang out in the nearby mining town, where she goes to school with the glamorous Selena, and Selena’s gorgeous older brother Nick.
When a political announcement highlights divisions between the Aboriginal community and the mining town, Rosie is put in a difficult position: will she be forced to choose between her first love and her oldest friend?
This is a seriously bittersweet and heartfelt story!
It’s about family and friends and wraps around a heart-tugging message about racism. The character development is good. If you actually want to know about Australia and the indigenous people and how STINKIN’ HOT it is in the Northern Territory? Read this book.
So it’s about racism, basically, which is one heck of a touchy subject.
In the back of my head I always think “Racism? Pfft. That was so in the olden days.” BUT IT’S NOT. Racism is still an issue today and it probably will be forever. Nona And Me really dug into the heart of the matter.
Our bonnie lass narrator, Rosie, isn’t racist per se…but her boyfriend is and she’s struggling with balancing the beliefs she’s grown up with verses what she wants to think for herself. It’s a story about growing up and using your brain for yourself.
We really got to explore Rosie’s thought process.
She’s 15 and…well…15 year olds are not notorious for their incredible intelligence. They seem to think they Know Everything. (I was, of course, never like that when I was 15. No no. I was perfectly agreeable.) So Rosie just makes incredibly DUMB DECISIONS. Lots of them. Drinking, lying to her mum about where she is, going out with people she shouldn’t, abandoning her childhood friend, Nona, because Nona is indigenous and Rosie is trying to be “cool”…
Do you really think this is going to work out for you, Miss Shallow Rosie?
My only (slight) frown, was that Rosie seemed like a Typical YA Girl Who Needs To Learn A Lesson About What True Friendship Is an STAHP Falling To Peer-Pressure.
I mean, her boyfriend made some cracker racist remarks and Rosie stands there and defends him? I THINK THIS RELATIONSHIP IS A TRAINWRECK. I won’t tell you if I’m right or not. But the warning bells rang so loud they gave me a concussion.
It’s set in Arnhem Land and talks a lot about politics.
I’ve been all over the Northern Territory (hello Alice Springs and Uluru and Darwin and Kakadu) BUT I have not been to Arhem Land. The description was superb though, and exactly how I remember a lot of N.T. feeling like.
Buuut…I was there to see Nona and Rosie! And did I get them?
Um. Well, the book is divided into chapters of back-flashing to Rosie’s past with Nona as her BFF. But Nona is basically not in the “present” part of the story. I was a little disappointed at how slow it seemed at times, but it was still good.
I appreciate how realistic the storyline was. But I really wanted a Happily Ever After…which, well, NO SPOILERS, but it was mixed. It’s a touching story and well written. Ultimately it’s a coming-of-age story where a 15 year old grows a glorious brain and starts making better life decisions.
But really? Living in the NT without an air-conditioner? I’m melting just thinking about it.
Cait is busy plotting a book to write and simultaneously procrastinating starting said book. It is an art actually. She would LIKE to write it for NaNo, but October is a nice empty looking month. DECISIONS. Currently she’s eating roasted apples and drawing zentangle patterns in her notebook. Reading? Well…she can’t decide between Touch of Power and Zac & Mia. MORE DECISIONS.