I came across this book thanks to the #LoveOzYA Goodreads group, and I really enjoyed it.
Roxy lives with her dad in a small town miles from anywhere. She survives high school by ignoring the mean girls and earns a bit of cash performing gigs with her dad. Singing is part of her. She gets the opportunity to study music in the city and she takes it with some reluctance. It exposes her to a world she didn’t know existed and experienced she could not have anticipated. But how will her family deal with her changing life?
This is a great story of a young woman finding herself and finding her way beyond her comfort zone. Roxy is very comfortable at home. She has her routine down with her dad, her friends and her aunt, cousin and the rest of her family. Leaving for somewhere totally foreign is a huge step for Roxy, which is somewhat cushioned by a local friend going along as well, and then being supported by Aboriginal counsellors who are able to offer them assistance in getting set up in the city and help them adjust to their new surroundings.
Fed up with being broke, Roxy barges into a couple of venues to play and demonstrate her skills, and ends up landing herself a regular paying gig. During this, she meets Ana, who is a journalist at the local university. The romance between Roxy and Ana is very sweet and allows Roxy to fill in the blanks for this part of her which has not made sense to her up until now.
When Ana accompanies Roxy on a visit home, most of her family is complete accepting of their relationship. Her aunt and her best friend are both very hostile initially (which leads to a fabulous showdown between Roxy and her aunt.)
Roxy also gets the opportunity to perform in a national music show. Her initial goal is to get some brown music on TV , but it also helps her gain support for a protest when funding to the Aboriginal Music Unit is threatened.
I really enjoyed the relationships in this book, but I also appreciated the way Thomas demonstrates the importance and impact that support structures have for Aboriginal people of all ages. The people attending the music unit are of different ages and backgrounds and none of them would be there if not for the support of the counsellors. Having the courage to get out of your comfort zone, especially when it’s so far from a family you are very attached to is incredibly difficult. That’s not even taking into account folks who are a part of a minority culture and the wider culture is not a safe space. Having the appropriate support structures in place makes a world of difference to people like Roxy.
A great read – 4 stars.