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Between Us

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  49 reviews
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
Paperback, 275 pages
Published February 1st 2018 by Black Inc.
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4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  187 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
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
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
Clare Snow
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every Australian
Recommended to Clare by: CBCA(WA) Book group
I walk to the gate,
my heart
in my hands.
Can't anyone see it,
in my palms?
Can't they see
the blood
trailing me
on the ground?

Apart from currently haemorrhaging all over the place, I have never read such a true to life ending in a book.

And I finished 2 days before Book group. Wow! I'll have more to say after book group. I'm going whether my teeth are killing me or not (off to the dentist tomorrow and I know it'll be horrific)
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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)
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
In some ways this is like an Aussie "The Hate U Give", tackling an issue that is so relevant and sensitive in our modern society through young adult fiction. Atkins' message is abundantly clear throughout, but I appreciated the multi-layered approach she took, looking at Anahita's refugee experience alongside that of a "legal" immigrant from a different generation. However, at the same time I felt as though this was slightly problematic as it left very little opportunity to criticise the racism ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the ending of the book because it is the truth. I honestly love the meaning behind this book because it talks about topics that matter now, and it helped me understand (to some extent) what was happening in detention centres.
At first I was apprehensive about reading this book because I didn’t enjoy her other books, but this was so much better and recommend you to read it!
Karys McEwen
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this.
An excellent YA read and so topical in the current 2019 Australian political climate. Set prior to 2018, "Between Us" highlights the woeful conditions experienced by asylum seekers who have been brought to Darwin temporarily from Manus Island and Nauru because of inadequate medical facilities at those detention centres. It is a fictional account of two families. A Vietnamese single parent Kenny Do, who was sponsored to come to Australia after the Vietnamese War by his refugee aunt. Kenny married ...more
Ghostly  Writer
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aus, poc, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zara ♥︎
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Rob De
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well, I'm adding Clare Atkins to my favourite authors list because this book was FANTASTIC. I had previously read 'Nona & Me' and then I started reading the start of this book and realised it was by the same author. Complete coincidence I had picked both books up on the same library trip :)
I sincerely hopes she writes more books as these two left me hanging for more. I was constantly getting told off at home for reading too much instead of studying or doing chores but I just couldn't put th
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tear jerking novel that depicts a refugees everyday in detention centres in Australia and the islands surrounding.
The book highlights the stereotypes refugees face by those living in Australian society and the impacts with which it can have on them.
Atkins writes beautifully, the switch in writing styles allows for the reader to feel the emotive response with which the characters are also feeling.
A highly recommended novel for Young Adults to gain a wider understanding of the impacts of detenti
Eclectic Book Life
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At times sad, hopeful, scary and honest Clare shows us a story not just of two young teenagers from different worlds buy of who we are as a people. Australia like all country's has a troubled history when it comes to treating this land and those who were here first with respect. What makes it more sad is that we have learnt no lessons from it or at least those in power have not. This book shines a light on the refugee crisis and the humanity we strip from ourselves by treating those seeking help ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yet another beautifully crafted story by Claire Atkins. After reading Nona & Me in 2015 I waited for Atkins to write another novel and I was surely not disappointed. Between Us creates a story from the present situations of refugees coming to Australia. The use of three different perspectives; a refugee, a guard and an Australian student allows the emotions of each opinion to be highlighted. This story outlines the terror many refugees experience and the need to change Australian law to help ...more
My Nhâm
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s quite hurt to read through this story. An Iranian refugee girl is under controlled and restricted. She meets Jono and they start to fall in love. But it doesn’t last long, Jono’s father realizes his son cares too much about this girl. And one day, he forces her to move back to Nauru in Iran. She is sent away in night and no one can contact with her. She begins to have a new life in Australia, but that life doesn’t include Jono anymore.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Katherine Simms
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book instilled further a sense of shame in my country and its treatment of refugees. While all the characters were well written, and their stories compelling, I thought it was rushed. I would have loved more back story for everyone, especially sone of the other characters. Having said that, I realise it is a book for teens so probably suits thst audience. I think every Australian should read this book.
Libby Armstrong
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rosemary Gyenge
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a powerful, thought provoking novel. A really interesting and almost innocent take on the experiences of refugees who are living in detention centres.
Enough detail to start a meaningful conversation but not too heavy so it would be appropriate for 12+.
I also loved how it didn't feel like I was being pushed to view things a certain way.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An insight into teenage life for a refugee, a son of a immigrant and his father just trying to make a living working at a detention centre in Darwin. This was a moving a very real book (I love the mention of my home town near the end). Reading this will open many eyes to the real struggle these people face
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This reminded me so much of Rainbow Rowell's 'Eleanor and Park', which is of course a wonderful thing. Lots of angsty teen feelings. It also provides brutal insight into life in a detention centre. A very Australian story of immigrants past and present.
Sandra Shannon
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cannot recommend this book too highly. Well written and told in different styles. The story of refugees held in detention in Darwin. A story of a forbidden friendship, hopelessness, family, cruelty and so much more.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read in relation to refugees, detention and looking at various viewpoints and understanding. Although fiction, one knows that the experiences are based on the realities for refugees and asylum seekers.
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Atkins is an author, scriptwriter, script editor and produce. Born and raised in Sydney, she has also lived in Bathurst (for university), on a small Spanish island called La Gomera, and in Arnhem Land. She currently lives in Darwin.

She has also written for many successful Australian television dramas, including All Saints, Home & Away, Headland, Winners & Losers and Wonderland.

She has a te
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“In Farsi we ask: Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? It is the same: how are you? But when I answer, when I am little, my father never let me say good or okay. Because he says he is asking about the feeling, you know... like, how is your heart?"
"My heart is happy," I say, "Happy you called.”
“And there's a good chance the only one day I'll get is here and now.” 0 likes
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