REVIEW: This One is Ours by Kate O'Donnell Made Me Miss Travel
Hello Fellow Readerholics,
I’m here with another review of a brand new #LoveOzYA novel! It’s set in Paris and I spent majority of my time reading this missing travelling to anywhere, like… further than 5km from my house, perhaps? Anyway, I’d love to give a big shoutout to UQP books for sending me an arc of this book!
Sixteen-year-old Sofie is a dreamer, an artist and a romantic. So when she goes on exchange to Paris, she is expecting magnificent adventures of the heart and mind. Yet France isn’t what she imagined. It’s cold and grey, and she finds speaking another language exhausting. Sofie’s more homesick than lovesick.
But then her host sister, Delphine, and fellow artist Olivier show her a different side of Paris, and Sofie starts to question her ideas of art, beauty and meaning. Of everything. There’s truth in what her best friend, Crow, has been saying all along: the world is in crisis and people need to take notice.
But what can one girl do? Will Sofie be able to find the courage to fight for change?
This One is Ours is a call to action for anyone who feels helpless about the state of the world, as well as an ode to all the tiny beautifuls that make it worth saving.
The first thing I noticed about this novel is that for a book set in Paris, it is uniquely Australian. As is much of O’Donnell’s previous work. It referenced things that have been true of my experiences as an Aussie which was great! It made me feel like I was part of a secret club or something, which is always wonderful!
The characters in the book were all super original and majority of them were realistic to a degree that they very well could be real people. I enjoyed getting to know Sofie as the book progressed and I quite enjoyed her as a character. However, reading through her perspective didn’t immerse me in the novel as much as I hoped it would. I think this is in part due to some of her naivety which made me pause at times and also due to the fact that whenever a French word would come up it would take me out of the book a little bit because I am *terrible* at French.
The side characters were all well developed and I particularly enjoyed Sofie’s interactions with her best friend, Crow. Their relationship was super authentic and I think I appreciated their platonic love for each other more because majority of their communication took place abroad. I really wish I could’ve delved more into Crow as a character because she was awesome!
One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the romance. The relationship between Sofie and her love interest felt super forced and there was no real emotional connection there. To me, it felt shallow and it was more founded by a mutual curiosity of each other and attraction as opposed to genuine interest.
It was later revealed that the love interest was a pretty bad person but I didn’t feel as hurt or as blindsided as I should have because I could see it coming from ages away. Overall, that aspect was pretty disappointing.
What I loved most about this novel was the setting and the contrast of the beauty and romanticism of Paris in comparison with the darker things going on in the world at the time. The novel was set in 2019 and a huge theme of it was Climate activism. This was presented by showing the devastation of Australian bushfires and conversations set around issues Paris are facing that relate to the climate. I really enjoyed how the book encourages young people to become involved in activism and as Sofie was learning a lot at the same time, I think that it would be very useful.
Overall, this was a book about finding your voice, expressionism and growth all the while being set in Paris! I’m rating it a 3.9/5.
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