Ballad For A Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Ballad For A Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

9781925355291Vikki Wakefield needs no introduction. A master of the YA genre and Australian native, Ballad For A Mad Girl is her fourth book, and it does not disappoint. Just a hint of advice before diving into it, though – you might want to read it with the lights on.

Seventeen year old Grace Foley is well known in her small town of Swanston, Victoria. She’s a prankster, hyperactive, and a little bit mad. She’s not afraid of anything – except losing. So when there’s a challenge on between her own public school and the local private school, Grace rises up to the challenge. She’s to cross an old pipe across a ravine with a deadly drop beneath her. She already holds the time record for it, so there’s no problem with Grace taking the bait.

But for all she’s done it with ease before, Grace experiences something haunting in the middle of the pipe – a ghostly feeling takes over her, and she sees the name of the girl who went missing from their town twenty three years ago, at the age of seventeen – Hannah Holt. She panics. She feels someone there, someone she can’t see, and worst of all – she loses the challenge.

The next day, though, things start to get a bit weird. Without meaning to, she sketches the image of the missing girl. Clocks and the radio show her different things. She feels like she’s possessed. Birds go crazy around her, and her dog, Diesel, won’t come near her anymore. As her delusions get worse, she manages somehow to push away her friends when she needs them most. She feels like she’s compelled to solve the mystery of what happened to Hannah Holt – compelled by something supernatural. And then there’s the death of her own mother to figure out…

7919781d6288836e33f5029d78a49394Ballad For A Mad Girl seems to bring all sorts of different genres into one. It’s a coming of age novel, it’s a horror, it’s speculative, it’s fantastical, and most of all, it’s honest. Even with the elements of fantasy and the supernatural, everything in this book feels so very real – and perhaps that’s why it’s so frightening. The suspense and the tension will crawl under your skin, but you know it’s more than that. Ballad For A Mad Girl isn’t just a book about the supernatural. It’s about change and growing up, and perhaps that’s the scariest part. It’s reality that’s frightening, not the ghost under your bed.

As we follow Grace on her journey to find out what’s real and what’s not, we’re also following her on her own journey of grief and acceptance. Add in a ghost and a murder mystery, and Ballad For A Mad Girl really hits all the right notes. It’s a YA novel, sure, but we recommend it for ages seventeen and up – it really does get quite spooky. That being said, it’s a masterpiece of growing up and moving on, and while we might not have literal ghosts haunting us, Ballad For A Mad Girl shows us how to be strong and deal with our own ghosts of the past.

Grab your copy here, and follow Better Reading Kids on Facebook for more kids and YA book recommendations!

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    Publisher details

    Ballad For A Mad Girl
    Author
    Vikki Wakefield
    Publisher
    Text Publishing
    Genre
    Young Adult Fiction
    Released
    29 May, 2017
    ISBN
    9781925355291

    Synopsis

    Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She's a prankster and a risk-taker, and she's not afraid of anything except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe. That night she experiences something she can't explain.The funny girl isn't laughing anymore. She's haunted by voices and visions - but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what's real or imagined - all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.Everything about her is changing - her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?
    Vikki Wakefield
    About the author

    Vikki Wakefield

    Vikki Wakefield's first Young Adult novel, All I Ever Wanted, won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, as did her second novel, Friday Brown, in 2014. Friday Brown was also an Honour Book, Children's Book Council of Australia, in 2013. Among other awards, it was shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister's Awards, in 2013. Vikki lives in the Adelaide foothills with her family.

    Books by Vikki Wakefield

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