New Guinea Moon by Kate Constable
It seems like a long time since I have read a warm fuzzy YA novel. All publishers seem to print now are dark dystopian fantasies, but at least they are a change from all the supernatural romance from a few years before. This book was shoved in my hand last year with the comment ‘you have to read it’. Last weekend I gathered all these together and New Guinea Moon landed on top of the list.
Julie is 16, and like many girls this age, she is permanently fighting with her Mum. In sheer frustration Mum arranges for her to spend her Christmas holiday with her father, who left when she was just 3. Tony (it is impossible to call him Dad) is a pilot flying light planes to the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Over the summer Julie falls in love, not only with the boss’s son, but the whole lifestyle and the magnificent scenery. After tragedy strikes she is forced to leave, promising herself to return as soon as she has some skills to offer this new nation.
Set just before independence in Papua New Guinea, this book takes a serious look at colonialism and the racist attitudes of the expats living in the colony. Some are able to treat the indigenous population with respect and care but most seem afraid of the natives and cover this fear with aggression. Julie manages to get herself into some difficult situations, but she keeps calm and makes a serious effort to understand what is happening, and why.
This is a wonderful entertaining read that leaves the reader with something to think about. Love it!