‘Nona & Me’ by Clare Atkins.
Publisher: Black Inc
Published: September 24th 2014.
Page Count: 288 pages.
Genre: YA Contemporary.
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 inseparable, 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?
Firstly, a huge thank you to Black Inc Australia for sending us a gorgeous copy of ‘Nona & Me’ to review.
Nona and Me is based on the lives of Nona and Rosie who grew up together as Yapas (sisters) in Yirrkala, a remote community located in the Northern Territory of Australia. A series of events pull the girls apart, until now. Nona after leaving the town returns to attend Rosie’s school. In a time when racial barriers are raised Rosie believes that she has finally found her niche, whom just happen to appear as the popular girls at the school, and the guy she’s been crushing on finally starts to notice her. The last thing she accounts for is to be reminded of her past including her ties with her aboriginal family and Yolnu people.
This book takes place in chapters bouncing back and forth between the past and present. We see how close Rosie and Nona’s relationship was and how far apart they have become. Being portrayed from Rosie’s perspective readers recognize common teen struggles such as embarrassment over family connections, struggling to follow parenting rules, peer pressure and trying to become someone you’re not. Meaning Rosie constantly ignores Nona at school.
We found that Rosie was extremely easy to relate to. She’s a normal teenager that struggles to find her own identity. She is so overcome with fear and peer pressure to fit in and not feel like outcast. Her insecurities are often very overwhelming which makes her really difficult to like, particularly when she tries to ignore Nona and her aboriginal family when they have lovingly and willingly opened their arms to her. We loved how Clare Atkins showed Rosie evolving and learning throughout the novel to appreciate her mother, family, her community and to recognize what kinds of people she is truly associating with in her friendship group.
Even though we don’t often see much of Nona in the present chapters there is no doubt that she plays a crucial importance in the storyline. There is a certain beauty of reading the chapters from the past. They are delicate and striking retellings of the strong childhood friendship between the two girls. The author has done a beautiful and magnificent job of finding a balance between intricacy and tension, so that when you read from the past to the present you will remain anxious waiting for the moment of when Nona has to leave Rosie.
Nona and Rosie are the centre of this stunning story. As we turned each page we were devoured with the love and heartbreak of their intriguing relationship. We just adored these main characters and gave into our never-ending emotions after this gorgeous read! We loved that we learned about aboriginal communities and cultures throughout this plot!
We absolutely recommend this beautifully told story which is fascinating and rich in insight to YA Contemporary readers.
Book Rating: 4/5 Stars.
Have you read ‘Nona & Me’? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!!