Where We Begin
Christie Nieman
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
ISBN: 9781743535660
Awards Year: 2021
Category: The Book of the Year: Older Readers
The publisher says...

Seventeen-year-old Anna is running into the night. Fleeing her boyfriend, her mother, and everything she has known. She is travelling into the country, to the land and the grandparents she has never met, looking for answers to questions that have never been asked. For every family has secrets. But some secrets - once laid bare - can never be forgiven. A dark, deeply compelling, coming-of-age YA novel from the author of As Stars Fall. 

The CBCA judges say...

Nieman captures her audience from the very first paragraph, using exquisite prose and style to introduce Anna, a well-written protagonist who is flawed yet relatable. She is a smart, driven and complicated teenager who is striving to meet her goal of becoming a doctor, while trying to escape the difficult relationship she has with her alcoholic mother. The plot builds suspense as the author introduces a setting that holds the keys to the family’s past and foreshadows an unsettling feeling. Nieman takes the novel to another level when several twists such as an unexpected pregnancy, turn this story into a psychological thriller that creates a high degree of tension to drive the narrative forward. The recurring themes are very relevant to today’s informed audience and indicate the depth of work Nieman has produced. This includes racism, family violence, trauma, first nations, teenage pregnancy and alcoholism.

Shortlist Books 2021