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Reviewed by Katrina Sylva, Whangārei Girls' High School
Opening sentence
When Clem's body goes into the sea it falls fast, without hesitation, and is gone.
Displaced explores one family's experience of immigration to New Zealand through the eyes of their eldest daughter, Eloise.

The Cornish Sansonnet family befall numerous tragedies and misfortunes as part of their migration to the Hawkes Bay; so much so that at some points the layers of misfortune feel oppressive.

The novel takes a female perspective and would be a valuable text to use as a vehicle to explore the 'herstory' of Aotearoa's early settlers. The presentation of Martha, a neuro-divergent character, would also certainly spark discussion. Unfortunately, there is only one Māori character, Hemi, who is developed in any meaningful way. This is perhaps a deliberate attempt to demonstrate how disconnected many women were from the communities in which they settled? There are a few moments when Eloise, the main character, reflects on her treatment of Hemi and regrets her dismissive attitude towards him. The way tangata whenua are described by numerous characters may well accurately represent the racist attitudes of the time, but makes for hard reading.

The settler life depicted in Displaced is harsh and unforgiving, though the characters show resilience and by the novel's ending there is hope.

I can imagine this being a popular read for European teen girls and would recommend its addition to high school library catalogs. However, the tragic nature of the Sansonnets' migration make the narrative too depressing for some, and the representation (or lack of) of tangata whenua is likely to alienate many young New Zealanders.

Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? No

Would this book work as a read aloud? No

Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? Hawkes Bay
Author & Illustrator: Author: Cristina Sanders
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
ISBN: 9781760653347
Format: Paperback
Publication: Apr 2021
Ages: 12+
Themes: Migration, Colonial NZ, Herstory