This One is Ours (Kate O’Donnell, UQP)
In her second novel, Kate O’Donnell, author of Untidy Towns, delivers an insightful and earnest coming-of-age story brimming with humanity. This One is Ours takes readers on a romantic overseas adventure as 16-year-old Sofie, an aspiring fine arts student, goes on exchange to Paris. Through Sofie, O’Donnell perfectly captures the feeling of being an Australian exchange student in another country (with the potential to invoke in the reader some serious wanderlust): the melancholy of being away from home, but also how being surrounded by interesting people can challenge your thinking, and how being immersed in something new can elicit inspiration and desire for change. While the plot might seem meandering at times, the overall essence of the novel is captivatingly warm and heartfelt, with some sections reading almost like poetry. This One is Ours sits alongside other beautifully crafted Australian coming-of-age stories for teens such as Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, I Am Out with Lanterns by Emily Gale and How to Grow a Family Tree by Eliza Henry Jones. It is a hopeful exploration of art, culture and identity that will inspire readers to take action and fight for change in our current mess of a world.
Freelance reviewer Mischa Parkee is a bookseller, primary school teacher and YA enthusiast.