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?
Review by Tanaya Lowden
Ballad for a Mad Girl is a beautifully creepy book. It’s a little dark, a little mysterious, and a lot of what-the-hell-is-going-on.
It follows Grace, the funny girl known for her hilarious pranks. When Grace is drawn into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip, causing Grace to lose herself in the madness.
I’m about halfway into this eerie novel, and am enjoying it immensely. In particular, I’m loving Vikki Wakefield’s writing. Any book that can make me feel unsettled while reading it is a winner in my eyes. I’m very intrigued to find out how this mystery will unfold!
Ballad for a Mad Girl is perfect for fans of Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
About the Author
Vikki Wakefield's first YA novel, All I Ever Wanted, won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Literary Award for YA Fiction, as did her second novel, Friday Brown , in 2014. Friday Brown was also an Honour Book at the Children's Book Council of Australia, in 2013, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister's Awards. Vikki's third novel, Inbetween Days, was Highly Commended in the 2016 Barbara Jefferis Award, was a 2016 CBCA Honour Book and was shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister's Awards.
Vikki lives in the Adelaide foothills with her family.
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Comments about Ballad for a Mad Girl:
Ballad For A Mad Girl is the fourth novel by Australian author, Vikki Wakefield. Seventeen-year-old Grace Foley's dad has grounded her (again) for a stupid prank (and yeah, she probably deserved it). But tonight, there's a pipe challenge on: all her friends will be there; her daredevil reputation and her record are at stake; she's got to show those Sacred Heart kids who's the champion, so of course she's going to sneak out. But at the quarry, when she's on the pipe running across the gully, something strange happens. She freezes, and later doesn't even remember how she got off the pipe.
Twenty-three years ago, seventeen-year-old Hannah Holt went missing, and the gully is where locals believe that William Dean put her body. The gully is where, a year later, he jumped to his death, many say from guilt. Maybe there are ghosts there, and maybe they're haunting Grace, because now, everything in her life has gotten weird: Diesel the dog is acting spooked around her; she's seeing strange things in corners; she drew something in art class she just can't explain; the TV and the clock radio are acting up; and something's not right with the friends she's had since third class (although maybe that's not so recent).
What a great tale Wakefield gives the reader. An original plot with a twist or two and a good dose of the paranormal to keep it interesting. Wakefield's characters are quirky but credible, their dialogue is authentic, and she perfectly captures the feel of a small town. As Grace and her friends deal with growing up while trying to remain loyal to each other, they encounter all the usual adolescent afflictions including raging hormones and peer pressure, but also grief. Domestic violence also features. This is a brilliant coming-of-age tale that will certainly have wider appeal than the Young Adult genre in which it sits. Recommended.
'Fans of intelligent, unflinching, spine-crawling thrillers...will love Ballad for a Mad Girl.' Books + Publishing 'I'm obsessed with Vikki Wakefield's words. Seriously-I'd be happy reading her grocery list.' Alpha Reader 'Vikki Wakefield...proves again that she's the mistress of YA twisted relationships and disturbed characters, all memorable, all sketched with compassion, wit and insight, the adults as well as teens.' Ruth Starke, Australian Book Review, Books of the Year 2015 'Vikki Wakefield writes stories that will break your heart.' Readings '[Wakefield's] characters are believable flawed and memorable and there are some good life lessons for young players.' Otago Daily Times 'Wakefield's writing is unflinchingly honest...readers who let themselves sink into Wakefield's descriptions of small-town life, its constraints, and frustrations will enjoy following Jack as she searches for meaning, finding love and purpose in the unlikeliest people.' Publisher's Weekly on Friday Brown 'Everything you already love about Vikki Wakefield-plus a spine-tingling supernatural mystery. Ballad for a Mad Girl is brilliantly creepy and thrilling.' -- Fiona Wood 'There's a dark side to being the funny one in the group. This is a piercing, creepy tale about a wild girl who could lose herself to a ghost. Vikki Wakefield's writing never fails to give me chills.' -- Emily Gale 'Ballad for a Mad Girl is brilliant, edgy and unsettling. Grace is a tough and sympathetic anti-heroine. I felt her grief and, even when I cursed her curiosity, was compelled to follow her to the story's satisfying, cinematic end.' -- Simmone Howell 'Vikki Wakefield is one of Australia's best YA writers. I couldn't put down Ballad for a Mad Girl.' -- Cath Crowley 'Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today. Ballad for a Mad Girl is an Aussie YA Gothic tale that smartly uses the supernatural to explore the depths of grief and growing up, and the pain to be found in both. This is a caring and keening novel, creepy but tender and wholly marvellous.' -- Danielle Binks 'Ballad for a Mad Girl is an intense, unsettling read...Every page is charged with emotion.' Loony Literate 'Ballad for a Mad Girl is about the living, the dead, the long journey of grief, and what happens when the lines between them blur. A spooky, gripping rollercoaster ride!' -- Nadia L King 'In Ballad for a Mad Girl, Vikki Wakefield does it again, this time raising the bar with a riveting, beautifully told ghost story that draws you in until the very last page.' Kids' Book Review 'Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today. Ballad for a Mad Girl is an Aussie YA Gothic tale that smartly uses the supernatural to explore the depths of grief and growing up, and the pain to be found in both. This is a caring and keening novel, creepy but tender and wholly marvellous.' ALPHA Reader 'Talented author Vikki Wakefield produced another gripping novel for YA readers...A clever mystery and insightful working out of newly adult relationships among characters as real and nuanced as ourselves.' Adelaide Advertiser 'A beautifully creepy book.' Booktopia
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 29th May 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.24