Between Us
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…

Between Us Details

TitleBetween Us
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 1st, 2018
PublisherBlack Inc.
ISBN-139781760640217
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Cultural, Australia, Family

Between Us Review

  • Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Jonathan Do is the biracial son of an Australian mother and Vietnamese immigrant single father, living within the parched landscape of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Jonathan disinterested in his education and preferring intoxication rather than accountability, choosing to isolate himself from his estranged mother living in Sydney. The relationship Jonathan shares with his father is distant and impersonal, preferring the company of Minh, Dzoung's sister. After the collapse of his relationship Jonathan Do is the biracial son of an Australian mother and Vietnamese immigrant single father, living within the parched landscape of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Jonathan disinterested in his education and preferring intoxication rather than accountability, choosing to isolate himself from his estranged mother living in Sydney. The relationship Jonathan shares with his father is distant and impersonal, preferring the company of Minh, Dzoung's sister. After the collapse of his relationship with girlfriend Priya, Jonathan became increasingly depressed, his father now concerned is the cause of Jonathan's destruction.Anahita Shirdel is an Iranian asylum seeker at Wickham Point Detention Centre, previously located on Nauru and Manus Island. Wickham Point is a fortress to asylum seekers from Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, Vietnam and New Zealand, pregnant women and children have been transported to Darwin without their partners, the Australian Human Rights Commission convicting the centre as inhumane, ignored by the Australian government. Anahita's mother is pregnant to partner Abdul who remains on Manus Island, transported to the mainland after being diagnosed with preeclampsia along with Abdul's son, three year old Arash. Anahita is a beautiful young woman, gentle and compassionate. The devastating conditions experienced in Iran have left Anahita traumatised, overwhelmed by nightly terrors. Australia offered an opportunity of freedom and safety, now left behind the cyclone fence and kept in oppressive, inhumane conditions.Dzoung Do is a guard at the regimented detention compound, his narrative often confronting and intolerant. Dzoung is a Vietnamese immigrant, sponsored by his sister Minh to journey to Australia, marrying an Australian citizen and forgoing his traditional Vietnamese heritage. Determined to integrate into western society. Dzoung initially facilitates the friendship between Jonathan and Anahita, as Anahita begins her education at the local secondary college. The guards at the Wickham Point facility are often cruel, some regarding those seeking asylum as subhuman. Dzoung is an infuriating character, judgemental and increasingly without compassion. He allowed his own moral compass to be poisoned by the racist, bigoted employees at the Wickham Point facility.The tentative friendship between Jonathan and Anahita is gentle and compassionate. Jonathan allowed Anahita to set boundaries within their friendship concerning her personal and cultural principles. Although Jonathan continues to experience casual racism, Anahita's peers are considerate and courteous. Friend Zahra's journey to Australia is indicative of the harrowing journey made by asylum seekers. Boarding substandard transport with family members often lost to the treacherous conditions.The plight of asylum seekers is a precarious discussion for Australians. Men, women and children journey to Australia in dangerous conditions only to be denied basic human rights. They are detained behind cyclone fences in remand compounds on Nauru or Manus Island. Those granted refugee status will never be afforded the opportunity of freedom, treated inhumanely and exposes vulnerable asylum seekers to sexual, physical and psychological abuse, withheld in indefinite detention.Clare Atkins is one of Australia's finest young adult literature authors. Between Us is a passionate conversation of Australia's inhumane treatment of those seeking asylum, reminding us of our understanding and our compassion. Compelling and influential reading.
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  • Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out Happy Indulgence Books for more reviews! A thoughtful read covering two types of immigrants - one as an asylum seeker who lives in a detention centre, and another as Vietnamese immigrant who has moved to Australia. Even within these communities, will we find prejudices against the two groups, and it really opens your eyes to the basic human rights that refugees are refused when they live in detention centres. With Ana's pregnant mother estranged from her partner, to their heavily monit Check out Happy Indulgence Books for more reviews! A thoughtful read covering two types of immigrants - one as an asylum seeker who lives in a detention centre, and another as Vietnamese immigrant who has moved to Australia. Even within these communities, will we find prejudices against the two groups, and it really opens your eyes to the basic human rights that refugees are refused when they live in detention centres. With Ana's pregnant mother estranged from her partner, to their heavily monitored conditions and coping with PTSD, there's many eye-opening moments here to think about. The three point of views offered an interesting contrast, with Ana as the Iralian asylum seeker who starts at Darwin High School, catching the attention of young trouble-maker Jonathan, an Australian-Vietnamese boy who has no direction in life. There's also Kenny or Dzoung who is a guard at the detention centre which colours his thoughts about the asylum seekers - which he pushes onto his son Jonathan. It's probably not a surprise that I didn't really like the romance that bloomed, I really didn't see the chemistry or the appeal at all, but I think it was neccesary for the plot to evolve the way it did. Between Us leaves you with a haunting impression without closure, which is pretty much what a lot of the refugees would feel when held on Manus Island or Nauru. It's a thoughtful story that offers an empathetic view on immigrants, refugees and the racism and abuse that can occur, and such an important one at that. Unfortunately, it's one I didn't find all that more engaging, seeming to focus more on making a political statement than creating an engaging plot. I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger warnings: refugee story, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, physical violence towards teenage girls and pregnant women, death of a parent (in the past), racial slurs, self-harm, mental health.I've been wanting to read this book ever since I heard about it over a year ago. I mean, the story of an Iranian teenage girl living in an Australian detention centre and the Vietnamese-Australian son of one of her guards who befriends her at school? Uh, WOW. The story is split between Ana, Jono, and Jono's Trigger warnings: refugee story, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, physical violence towards teenage girls and pregnant women, death of a parent (in the past), racial slurs, self-harm, mental health.I've been wanting to read this book ever since I heard about it over a year ago. I mean, the story of an Iranian teenage girl living in an Australian detention centre and the Vietnamese-Australian son of one of her guards who befriends her at school? Uh, WOW. The story is split between Ana, Jono, and Jono's father. Ordinarily, I'd be totally against having a parent's perspective in a YA book, but here it worked perfectly as Kenny fills the gap between their two worlds. I don't think I've ever come across a book before that confronts Australia's bullshit attitude towards refugees and asylum seekers as effectively as this one does. The ending was a little abrupt for my liking, but on the whole, this was wonderful from start to finish.
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  • Diem
    January 1, 1970
    Reading the last few pages of Between Us has left me feeling helpless and powerless. I want everyone to read this book now.
  • Tadashi Hamada
    January 1, 1970
    What I loved was how all three of the main characters in this book are People of Colour. It would’ve been just as easy for Atkins to write Jono and Kenny as white, but since Atkins herself is a biracial Vietnamese-Australian, I think it’s safe to assume that Jono’s cultural background and heritage were a nod to her own.What I didn’t love so much—(view spoiler)[There is no closure, there is no closure, there is no closure. URGHHHH. I’m so disappointed. I really loved Ana and Jono as a couple, and What I loved was how all three of the main characters in this book are People of Colour. It would’ve been just as easy for Atkins to write Jono and Kenny as white, but since Atkins herself is a biracial Vietnamese-Australian, I think it’s safe to assume that Jono’s cultural background and heritage were a nod to her own.What I didn’t love so much—(view spoiler)[There is no closure, there is no closure, there is no closure. URGHHHH. I’m so disappointed. I really loved Ana and Jono as a couple, and I understand that circumstances that were out of their control are of course stronger than their attraction to each other, but the lack of a real closure between the two of them in the end made me so sad. (hide spoiler)]Immigration and racism have been tackled in Australian YA books before, but this is one of the only ones I know that specifically tackle the issue of detention centres in Australia and the poor treatment of the people in them. This book comes out in less than a month, so as a heads up, some books that I found similar to this and this reminded me of are When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah (known as The Lines We Cross in the U.S.), The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Things I Didn’t Say by Kylie Fornasier, and How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon.Thank you, Black Inc Publishing, for sending me an ARC! Look out for this in stores on Feb 1.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Sydney book launch details:Thursday 15 February at 6.30pmBecher House, Asylum Seeker Centre43 Bedford St NewtownRSVP: https://www.betterreadevents.com/prod...
  • Karys McEwen
    January 1, 1970
    EVERYONE should read this.
  • Vivien
    January 1, 1970
    I read this all in one day! The start of the story quickly places the reader in the middle of events, and it's really fast and easy to get into. I liked reading from Ana's POV the best, she was sensitive, caring and her story was really upsetting. Her experience in Iran, from the free underground to the violence, was quite eye opening. And, her life in Wickham Point, and also comparing it with Nauru and Christmas Island... I felt like Jono, learning it all for the first time.Jono was a little de I read this all in one day! The start of the story quickly places the reader in the middle of events, and it's really fast and easy to get into. I liked reading from Ana's POV the best, she was sensitive, caring and her story was really upsetting. Her experience in Iran, from the free underground to the violence, was quite eye opening. And, her life in Wickham Point, and also comparing it with Nauru and Christmas Island... I felt like Jono, learning it all for the first time.Jono was a little dense about the detention centre, but this also probably made it accessible for younger readers to understand the asylum seekers' stories. His Vietnamese background was really interesting, especially since it was drawn from the author's own experiences. Jono was a little stupid at times, and was really rude to his father, but at his core he was a good kid. Kenny seemed a little distant, and his voice a little too immature, sounded like a younger adult rather than a father. But you can tell that he tries. The mixture of prose and verse, during harder or more difficult times, was a really interesting choice. It drew the line of symmetry between Jono at the start of the novel, compared with Ana at the end of the novel. Realistically, their relationship wouldn't have worked out, but Jono not being able to apologise, and Ana having to carry that betrayal with her. The ending was sad. I hope that some day in the future, Jono visits his mum and Laura in Sydney. And they can talk. And they Jono and Ana can bump into each other, now on different footing. And just talk.
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  • Zara ♥︎
    January 1, 1970
    CW: Death, blood.I really enjoyed this book! I thought that every character was really well thought out, and the story was interesting and full of emotion all through the book.I really loved how much I learnt from Between Us. I've never really known much about the refugee situation here in Australia, so I'm really glad I read this book. There was a heap of information in here, but it never felt like it was just information, if that makes sense. It really fit into and helped the story progress, i CW: Death, blood.I really enjoyed this book! I thought that every character was really well thought out, and the story was interesting and full of emotion all through the book.I really loved how much I learnt from Between Us. I've never really known much about the refugee situation here in Australia, so I'm really glad I read this book. There was a heap of information in here, but it never felt like it was just information, if that makes sense. It really fit into and helped the story progress, in my opinion.I also really liked the characters, especially how much thought was put into them, their personalities and their backstories. I liked how developed they felt, and how much thought was put into each of them. I loved Ana, and I always wished the best for her. She was such a likeable character that you could really feel for. I had mixed feelings for Jono and Kenny through the book, but I did end up liking them by the end of the book (I just don't like what Kenny did to Ana). The storyline was great too, and I liked that it wasn't too focused on Ana & Jono's relationship, and more on Ana's story and life. The ending, while sad, I liked, because it felt realistic that they didn't end up together. I like to think there'd be a chance for Ana and Jono to reunite, if he ever decided to see his mum again.This was a short read that I really enjoyed. I learnt a lot from Between Us, and I'm glad I got to read another good Australian YA. :)
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  • Rob De
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading second novels by young Australian authors as they are so often better than their first book. CBCA shortlisted Nona and Me was a delight to read and I think Between Us is much more accomplished! Set in Darwin around the plight of asylum seekers it is a story demanding to be heard. The voices of our two main characters are genuine and urgent. Jono, the son of a Vietnamese single father who works as a guard at the detention centre, is a bit lost and recovering from depression. Ana, a I love reading second novels by young Australian authors as they are so often better than their first book. CBCA shortlisted Nona and Me was a delight to read and I think Between Us is much more accomplished! Set in Darwin around the plight of asylum seekers it is a story demanding to be heard. The voices of our two main characters are genuine and urgent. Jono, the son of a Vietnamese single father who works as a guard at the detention centre, is a bit lost and recovering from depression. Ana, an Iranian refugee has just arrived from Nauru because of her mother's impending birth of her third child. They meet at school and form a relationship but where can this lead? Jono's Dad is sure Ana is just using his son for whatever she can get. But is this the case?The powerful story of the hardships faced by asylum seekers in Australia, that was eye opening and thought provoking, and will be a wonderful educational tool/introduction to a real Australian issue for our secondary students. A must read for all in Year 9 and older.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    I received my copy of Between Us by Clare Atkins from a Goodreads' giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were so believable and I could identify with them. Atkins has an excellent skill in character portrayal, with a minimum of words she is able to place the reader right in the middle of the plot, feeling along with the main characters. The reader is slowly exposed to the traumas and inhumane conditions of detention. Rather than lecturing us we become aware of the issues faced I received my copy of Between Us by Clare Atkins from a Goodreads' giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were so believable and I could identify with them. Atkins has an excellent skill in character portrayal, with a minimum of words she is able to place the reader right in the middle of the plot, feeling along with the main characters. The reader is slowly exposed to the traumas and inhumane conditions of detention. Rather than lecturing us we become aware of the issues faced by refugees as the plot unfolds.A wonderful, well written, heartbreaking story of our current times.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I started crying about half way through, and didn’t stop until the end. This is an absolutely beautiful book that perfectly describes the lives of asylum seekers, and the way that indefinite incarceration can impact not only the detainees, but also the insidious way that it can influence the guards of detention centres. A heartbreaking story of young love and mental health breakdowns. Highly recommended.
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  • Libby Armstrong
    January 1, 1970
    All of us are only a natural or civil disaster away from being a refugee. Atkins new book does not deal in false hope. It’s focused on bringing the stories of detainees and their orbit to young readers’ awareness and I particularly liked Atkins use of verse versus narrative to express the really rough parts of her characters experience.
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  • Tash
    January 1, 1970
    Oh wow. What a heart shattering book. So, so important. I don't have enough words. Please read this book. cw: racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, misogyny, graphic descriptions of violence, self harm and suicide, death, drugs and alcohol
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    A book for the ages. A poignant look at the real struggles that surround society, and the need to stop turning a blind eye.
  • Aisha
    January 1, 1970
    I liked it.....
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Powerfully moving, compassionate and real.4 and a half stars.
  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written story of an emotional journey about trying to fit in to a world that will never understand you. It humanises an issue that most of us try so hard to ignore.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone. I loved the style of writing and how it changes with how the characters are feeling. I loved the ending. 5 stars.
  • Shirley Freeman
    January 1, 1970
    In case your young adult thought the US was the only country with a refugee crisis of conscience and action, this story from Australia will correct that notion. Jono is an Australian citizen whose father was a 'legal' immigrant as a young adult. Anahita is an Iranian refugee currently stuck in the limbo of a detention facility. Atkins lovingly portrays the complicated relationships between relatively recent immigrants and new refugees in crisis, between parents and teens, and between countries a In case your young adult thought the US was the only country with a refugee crisis of conscience and action, this story from Australia will correct that notion. Jono is an Australian citizen whose father was a 'legal' immigrant as a young adult. Anahita is an Iranian refugee currently stuck in the limbo of a detention facility. Atkins lovingly portrays the complicated relationships between relatively recent immigrants and new refugees in crisis, between parents and teens, and between countries and refugees. No happily ever after yet.
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