Refuge – Jackie French

Posted: October 10, 2013 in Review, young adult
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refugeFaris is a refuge fleeing his war torn country on a boat carrying him to Australia.  The boat is struck by a freak wave and sinks, leaving him struggling to survive.  Then he’s washed ashore to the Australia he’s always dreamed of; with kangaroos and orange trees and blue skies.  On a nearby beach he meets a group of young people who have all come from different places to call Australia home.  The group all come from different time periods but are a family.

As he leaves the island to battle to survive the sinking, he is determined to survive and join his father.  We follow his struggle to adapt to his new life and make friends.  Then he gets a letter from a nun, inviting him to meet her.  What he learns solves the mystery of what happened to the other residents of the island.

I found this book odd at first as I didn’t understand what the island was and didn’t ‘get’ it.  I enjoyed the stories of each person and eventually I realised the island was a safe place each retreated to when deciding whether to survive during their perilous passage to make a new life for themselves.  This is a very interesting look at the migration to Australia over the years and offers an up-close look at modern boatpeople and why they undertake the journey.  You can’t help but think differently when you see individuals rather than a faceless mass.

I liked the ending and finding out what happened to everyone.

Angus & Robertson

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

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