The boy sat in the branches of the fifth tree on the left, his scuffed boots dangling. Leah turned her eyes up. His face was heavily freckled, his eyes large, brown and almond-shaped. His hair stuck out at wild angles. ‘Hello,’ she said.
When Adam appeared in the orhcard, Leah discovered a friend. A secret friend. And a friend was something she desperately needed.
Leah Cartwright is living out her days in a nursing home when she is approached by sixteen year old Carly, wanting to interview her for her local histroy project. Leah agrees to talk, but only on her own terms. She’s not going to answer questions – she’s going to tell her own story. As that story emerges, Carly forgets the interview and is drawn into the tale of a young Leah, growing up on an isolated farm with her puritan mother, her only escape the magic of books and her secret friend Adam.
Being Here is a beuatiful tale of the magic of story and imagination. The first person viewpoint of the elderly Leah is an unusual one for a young adult story but works brilliantly here, with Leah telling her story to Carly and also getting to know Carly and her story.
At some times shocking, at others sad, and at still others joyful, this is a gripping, beautifully woven tale.
Being Here, by Barry Jonsberg
Allen & Unwin, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.