Review Blog

Nov 13 2017

Ballad for a mad girl by Vikki Wakefield

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Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925355291
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Death, Mystery, Thriller, Country towns, Friendship, Reality, Perception, Ghosts. Grace Foley has a reputation for being a little bit mad. She is a risk taker and plays pranks on her friends. When she accepts the challenge to walk the pipe which stretches across a deep ravine, she experiences a moment of dread when she hears a voice, and she freezes, needing to be rescued by one of the local boys. She is dragged into the mystery of Hannah Holt who disappeared twenty years before and of the boy who was accused of murdering her. Struggling with working out what is real and what could be in her imagination, Grace becomes immersed in following clues while trying to hold onto her sanity.
This is a stunning and totally engrossing thriller that has all the elements that any reader could want. There is action: the first chapter of the book pulls the reader in as Grace's journey across the dangerous pipe is described; the possibility of a ghost appears as Grace hears voices; the mystery of Hannah's disappearance must be explained and there is the empathy that the reader feels for Grace and for the young man who was accused of Hannah's murder. The stunning conclusion will also remain with the reader making
Vicki Wakefield is a master of the YA genre and she has outdone herself in Ballad for a mad girl. It would make an excellent class novel or literature circle book. Teacher's notes are available at the publisher's website.
I can see this book winning awards, not just for its fabulous story line but for its vivid, memorable and clever writing.
Pat Pledger

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