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Between Us

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  98 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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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  450 ratings  ·  98 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
This is a book which packs a punch. Ana is an Iranian asylum seeker who with her mother and brother have been moved from Nauru to Darwin waiting for her mother to give birth. While in the Detention Centre she is able to attend the local high school where she meets and forms a friendship with the brooding Jono.
The book is narrated in short chapters of a page or two by either Ana, Jono or Jono's dad who has recently started work at the Detention Centre. The book sadly tells of the frustrations and
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
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.
Mrs Waring
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book works it’s way into your heart and then sinks in it’s claws and doesn’t let go. The central story of Jono (the son of a Vietnamese migrant) and Ana (an Iranian refugee awaiting news of her fate in a Darwin detention center) is raw, authentic and full of vulnerability. It’s also pleasantly unconventional. The backstory of the two families is filled with tension, trauma and triggers. Ultimately the story reveals this bittersweet kind of hope but again, not in the the way you might expect ...more
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)
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
CC the Great is Not Okay
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
Karys McEwen
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this.
Emily Wrayburn
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review originally published on A Keyboard and an Open Mind March 18, 2019

Oof. What a book to start off my challenge of reading the YA and MG books on the Children's Book Council of Australia's 2019 Notables List.

This is the story of Iranian asylum seeker, Ana, who is only let out of detention to attend school. There she meets and becomes close to Jono, the son of one of the officers at her detention centre. Meanwhile Jono's father, Kenny, becomes increasinly paranoid about the relationship betwe

Kylie Purdie
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the third book from The Children's Book Council of Australia 2019 short list for YA.

Between Us examines a very topical subject in Australia at the moment - the offshore detention of asylum seekers who have arrived by boat. It's a subject that can be quite polarising and has a lot of misinformation around it.

Ana, her mother and her little brother have been moved off Nauru Island to the Wickham Detention Centre to await the birth of her mother's baby. Ana is allowed to go to school, howeve
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
This was a page turner for me - I really needed to see how everything would pan out for the three narrators. Anahita's story is the the most pressing as she is an Iranian refugee stuck in a detention centre in Darwin with her pregnant mother and three? year old brother. She is allowed out (under strict conditions) to go to the local school. The family is desperate to be allowed to stay in Australia but each day they are waiting for the news they will be deported to Nauru. Jono's story is also ab ...more
Judy Wollin
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ana lives in a refugee camp outside Darwin. She catches a bus to the local high-school. On her way out a guard suggests she say hi to Jonathan. Jonathan writes poetry. He lives at home with Mum ad Dad. Ana attends the intensive English section of the school and attends some mainstream classes. Jonathan is in Year 10.
Ana is brave, strong and curious. She seeks out Jonathan.
Jonathan notices the new girl with dark eyes and a scarf.
Life in the refugee camp is harsh – jail-like. Some guards are conf
Ghostly  Writer
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
Pip Jennings
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fiona Wood is correct - everyone should read this book. Absolutely heart wrenching.
Raw, gritty, broke my heart
Luke Donehue
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was warned going Into this that it would be heavy and tackle tough themes.. I think that why I loved it, it wasn’t bashful in its approach and I loved how they display people’s mental state in the form of language.
Jan Miller
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Young adult fiction but also a fantastic read for every age. It explores the “illegal immigrant “ situation from so many angles but unfortunately doesn’t leave us with any positive feelings about the future of these people or Australia’s treatment of them.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this one quickly - over the space of 2-3 days - because it was so absorbing. It's the kind of book that had me thinking about it when we were apart and longing to get back to it again. It's a very real, emotional, passionate story about the life of a refugee girl in a Darwin detention centre. Iranian born Anahita slowly shares details of her life in Iran and the reason why her family fled. While in detention she's allowed to attend the local high school. It's there she meets Jono, a Vietn ...more
Natasha (jouljet)
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: refugees, poc
Ohhh, this is so very real, and that's why it's a stand out. It covers the brutality of Australia's detention of refugees, and the secrecy around the policy....and the effects it has on families, teens, and children.

Clare Atkins has done serious research to put this together - I went to the book launch in Sydney and heard about some of it - but as a former visitor to Wickham Point in Darwin, her descriptors took me right back there.

Powerful teen story of love, connection, and the impact of the
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good book to read after reading No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.

The book is well researched and provides an insight into what life might be like for a teenager living in a detention centre in Darwin. The fictional teenage character, Ana, is an asylum seeker from Iran. She is living in the detention centre with her pregnant mother and toddler brother while they wait for news about their refugee status. They have been told that they will never be allowed to settle perma
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually can’t speak highly enough about this year’s winner of the CBCA award for older readers and the fearless way Atkins tackles issues of race, Australian identity, and slow erosion of the core notions of fairness and equal opportunity that underpin Australian society.
The story follows Kenny, a Vietnamese immigrant trying to make ends meet by working as a guard at a immigration detention centre in Darwin, his son Jono who is struggling with depression as well as the general anxieties that
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
With the on-going climate of global refugee climate and the appalling nature of refugee and asylum seeker laws in Australia at the moment, this book is important.

The story follows an Iranian refugee who is living in a detention center with her pregnant mother and little brother. She attends a nearby local school in Darwin, where she gets a taste of everyday life for an Australian - only to return back to detention each day.

The light that this book sheds on life inside a detention center is a c
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc, ya, aus
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
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REVIEW 1 4 May 21, 2018 09:47PM  

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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 teaching d

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“And there's a good chance the only one day I'll get is here and now.” 1 likes
“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.”
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