Dust, by Christine Bongers

This place was disgusting with dust. It was everywhere. Gravity had totally lost its grip on the problem.
It hung like gauze in the sunlight, rising in waves from the scorched earth, clinging to my lips and teeth, suffocating me with its presence.

Cecilia Maria was given the names of two saints to give her something to live up to – and hates both the names and the implied legacy. Growing up on a drought stricken Queensland farm, and with six brothers to contend with, she thinks her life is pretty tough. There’s no room in it for the despised Kapernicky girls, the new neighbours who her mother wants her to befriend.

But as the hot summer rolls by, and she moves from primary school to secondary, Cecilia begins to discover that there is more to her neighbours than she first thought – and that there are far worse things than having some rough brothers to contend with.

Dust is a warm exploration of some tough subject matter, with twelve year old Cecilia both a main character and a spectator, interpreting events through her first person eyes, as well as through opening and closing chapters showing her adult perspective.

The reader is drawn into the action, feeling with Cecilia the difficulties of finding an identity in a small town and a large family, the need to build friendships, and the difficulties of reaching out to fellow teens in situations you do not understand. The story unfolds over the course of several months, but readers will find themselves swept along, unable to put the story aside.

A fantastic debut novel.


Dust, by Christine Bongers
Woolshed Press, 2009

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