Published by Mary Egan Publishing
Written by Karen Mills
Genre: Young adult non-fiction
Story of a thirteen year old girl set in New
Zealand during the sixties.
Set in the 1960’s Tasting Stars is the story of how a 13 year old girl living in the most difficult of circumstances finds her voice and in doing so changes lives in ways she never would have believed were possible.
Rose Ann Dixon’s family life in Otara seems unremarkable. Her home, which she shares with her father, mother, and five younger sisters and brothers, along with the family cat – called Hoodat – looks no different from those around it. But, her close friend and neighbours know otherwise.
Each day, Rose faces problems that no one should ever have to deal with but deep love for her siblings sees her carry out quiet deeds of heroism in the face of increasing anger and violence meted out by her father.
A gift from her thoughtful teacher on her thirteenth birthday, is a turning point in Rose’s life. After hearing Martin Luther King’s inspiring words, she realises that every child can have dreams and what’s more they have a right to expect them to come true.
Discovering a family secret gives her newfound strength to confront her distant and ineffective mother about a past event that left lifelong scars which she now sees very differently.
In order to save her siblings, Rose realises she must first abandon them, and begins a journey from Otara to Wellington and finally India. Sustained by the love and wisdom of a recently deceased Aunt and the unending kindness of her best friend Aya’s family she learns things about herself and others that enable her to take the actions needed to save her family.
Karen Mills writes a gripping story about family violence with profound understanding – and delightful humorous touches.