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Ballad for a Mad Girl

Ballad for a Mad Girl

Vikki Wakefield

  • awardWinner, Sisters in Crime's 18th Davitt Awards: Young Adult Novel, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, 2018
  • awardLonglisted, Gold Inky Award—Australian Titles, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature: Young Adult, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: The Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, Sisters in Crime's 18th Davitt Awards: Debut, 2018
  • 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?


    ABC Radio Adelaide, Afternoons



    Vikki Wakefield
    About the Author

    Vikki Wakefield writes fiction for adults and young adults. Her novels have been shortlisted for numerous awards. After You Were Gone, a psychological thriller, was her first novel for adults and was published in 2022 to much acclaim. To the River is her second psychological thriller for adults. Vikki lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

    Read Moreright
    Text publication date:
    29 May 2017
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    Mental Health, Peer Pressure, Coming of Age, Friendship, Family, Ghost story
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    Praise for Vikki Wakefield
    andBallad for a Mad Girl

    ‘Fans of intelligent, unflinching, spine-crawling thrillers…will love Ballad for a Mad Girl.’ 

    ‘I’m obsessed with Vikki Wakefield’s words. Seriously—I’d be happy reading her grocery list.’

    ‘Vikki Wakefield writes stories that will break your heart.’

    ‘[Wakefield’s] characters are believable flawed and memorable and there are some good life lessons for young players.’

    ‘Everything you already love about Vikki Wakefield—plus a spine-tingling supernatural mystery. Ballad for a Mad Girl is brilliantly creepy and thrilling.’

    ‘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.’

    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.’

    ‘Vikki Wakefield is one of Australia’s best YA writers. I couldn’t put down Ballad for a Mad Girl.’

    ‘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.’

    Ballad for a Mad Girl is an intense, unsettling read…Every page is charged with emotion.’

    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!’

    ‘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.’ 

    ‘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.’ 

    ‘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.’ 

    ‘A beautifully creepy book.’

    ‘With complex and genuine characters, a captivating narrative and the authenticity of a small-town setting, Ballad for a Mad Girl is the epitome of great Aussie YA.’ 

    ‘Beautifully written, chilling and atmospheric, Ballad for a Mad Girl is a story with heart, horror, and hope.’ 

    ‘Ballad for a Mad Girl is a real page turner…Beautifully written. The gothic, literary tone adds to the creepy atmosphere.’ 

    Ballad for a Mad Girl has all the features to appeal to its intended audience, with its tight plot, its claustrophobic country town atmosphere and a group of longtime friends growing up and sometimes growing apart. Many are sure to enjoy the tension and edginess of Vikki Wakefield’s novel.’ 

    ‘A tightly drawn story of compulsion…I could picture the landscapes so carefully created by Wakefield. The striking cover will impel young adults to choose to read it and they will be stunned by the extraordinary thriller within.’

    ‘This is another great young adult novel by Vikki Wakefield that looks at the real world of a teenager, and what might be happening on the other side.’

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