Author: Clare Atkins
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.Review by Nara
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?
Despite, being called Nona and Me, I feel like this book was very much focused on Rosie and the journey she takes to define her own identity as a white girl split between the town where her best friend and boyfriend live and the Aboriginal community into which she's been "adopted". In fact, Nona didn't really have that large a role to play for most of the story, and featured mostly in flashbacks. I suppose I didn't mind too much that this was the case, although it would have been nice to learn a bit more about Nona.
As teenagers go, Rosie makes quite a lot of foolish decisions that either had me sighing in disappointment or clenching my fists in frustration, but I don't see this as a bad thing. It was simply something that made her a more realistic and relatable character. It was also great to see both her parents at various points in the novel. Too often, "disappearing parent syndrome" features in Young Adult, but I'm happy to say that wasn't the case in Nona and Me.
The way the Aboriginal aspect of things was handled was very culturally sensitive, and I feel like I've learnt a lot more about Aboriginal culture from the book, despite the fact that education didn't seem to be a major aim of the story.
If you're looking for a bit of diversity, or simply a YA book set in Australia for a change, this book is definitely worth checking out.