Living on Hope Street, written by Demet Divaroren, is aimed at young adults, 14+, and I think this age range could get a lot out of it. Hope Street is in a struggling suburb, where each household is doing it tough, come from disadvantaged communities and have different needs and views to each other.
Domestic Violence is at the forefront of the book, looking at a family where the father is abusive to his partner and children. The impact of the domestic violence is very well portrayed through the children and their different responses – Kane with his anger and need to be tough and Sam with his delayed development and fear.
Domestic Violence is the main thread, however there is a refugee family, a Muslim woman and some young men which also highlights the racism faced by many, difference in culture and lifestyle and difficulty in settling in Australia.
An elderly family feature, which looks at loss and racism, as well as family misunderstanding and separation. Each of these issues is managed in a confronting, but age appropriate way and highlights the need for acceptance and working together.
The ending is very graphic and disturbing, but also portrays the need for community response and support to families.
I liked the book and felt it would be good in a classroom setting where it could be discussed, different opinions shared, and myths around gender, sex, domestic violence and difference addressed.