Shine Mountain by Julie Hunt
Allen & Unwin, 2018, ISBN 9781760291501
(Ages: 12+) Recommended. With the death of her pop Ellie's world transforms; desperate to maintain some semblance of normalcy, she clings to the things her Pop left behind: the goat (Nanny Gitto), Pop's hat, and of course the broken button-box which was stolen from his grave by their lawyer. Desperate to fix her Pop's instrument, Ellie goes to a travelling tinker who does what he can to repair the button-box. Imperfect yet working, Ellie quickly discovers the button-box's magic. Little does Ellie know, clinging to the past has a way of stirring up old secrets, secrets she would never have believed if they hadn't come from her Oma's own mouth. Spurred on by the knowledge she was adopted, Ellie sets off to destroy the cursed button-box and uncover her true family. But is it her true family or her true self she is really searching for?
Haunting and captivating, Shine Mountain shows that what matters when it comes to family isn't blood, but the people who raised you. While Ellie journeys to destroy the sinister magic within the button-box she discovers more about herself than she would have at Spit Farm. She is a Way-girl, susceptible to the magic within the button-box and fortune-telling. Yet her path remains unclear in the struggle to keep the sinister instrument within her possession. Ellie grows up quickly, travelling across desert and through mountain to reach the mystical Gleam Land, which, like the rest of the land, has been affected by the drought.
I would recommend for young people who enjoy fantasy and fairy-tales aged twelve and up. The novel is engaging and easy to read, dealing with issues such as belonging, survival, and drought.