Ballad for a Mad Girl reviewed by Vivian

Grace is your typical ‘wild’ teenager! At seventeen, living in a small town and completing year 12, she is not afraid of anything. She is known for playing pranks and taking risks. Grace is challenged by a rival school to walk the pipe over a death-defying, deep chasm – a dare she has done many times before. In order to keep her record Grace, doesn’t bat an eyelid, and accepts the challenge. But things don’t go according to plan and Grace is left with a haunting feeling.

She starts hallucinating and hearing voices. She becomes obsessed with the death of Hannah Holt, a local who disappeared over 20 years earlier, believed to have been murdered by William Dean. Are these paranormal experiences all because she is still grieving her own mother’s death two years earlier? Nobody seems to understand what Grace is going through and not only does she find it hard to explain but who is going to believe her anyway? Her behaviour is causing the relationships around her to fracture. Grace questions her own sanity and feelings ‘what if madness is really grief trapped inside?’. Grace needs answers before the madness takes over.

Vikki Wakefield has produced an intense young adult novel incorporating teenage angst with the paranormal. The fact that the protagonist doesn’t have a love interest is a breath of fresh air for this genre. This is another wonderful story from a great local Australian writer.


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