Between Us

Clare Atkins

Black Inc.

February 2018

$19.99 AU

278p pb

ISBN: 978-1743820216

from Black Inc....

Is it possible for two very different teenagers to fall in love despite high barbed-wire fences and a political wilderness between them?

Anahita is passionate, curious and determined. She is also an Iranian asylum seeker who is only allowed out of detention to attend school. On weekdays, during school hours, she can be a ‘regular Australian girl’.

Jono needs the distraction of an infatuation. In the past year his mum has walked out, he’s been dumped and his sister has moved away. Lost and depressed, Jono feels as if he’s been left behind with his Vietnamese single father, Kenny.

Kenny is struggling to work out the rules in his new job; he recently started work as a guard at the Wickham Point Detention Centre. He tells Anahita to look out for Jono at school, but quickly comes to regret this, spiraling into suspicion and mistrust. Who is this girl, really? What is her story? Is she a genuine refugee or a queue jumper? As Jono and Anahita grow closer, Kenny starts snooping behind the scenes …

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Anahita grew up in Iran and came to Australia via refugee boat. Kenny was sponsored out by his family and Jonathan was born here. Claire Atkins’ novel Between Us explores the perspectives of three people in Darwin. A refugee, an officer and his son. As Anahita and Jonathan fall in love, the rules about refugees get in their way. As the story goes on, the author reveals more of the characters’ back stories as to why they came to this place. 

I would recommend this novel to readers 12+ because the themes and issues portrayed may be difficult for younger readers to comprehend. This is different from other books I have read because there aren’t really any chapters, it switches perspectives instead. The language is fairly simple and explains the different lifestyles very well. Definitely worth reading.

Ella, age 15, Canberra

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